The Outstater

December 20, 2021

HERE’S A QUESTION for our racial-redemption era: Why would Indiana media, however diminished, ignore the single most accurate predictor of crime and mortality in black youth? That is, the absence of a father in the home, something described in detail almost 60 years ago in Sen. Daniel Moynihan’s famous report to Congress.

Before you yell, “racism,” know that this isn’t a black thing. Charles Murray and others have observed the same dysfunction in white families without fathers.

But the author and social commentator Heather Mac Donald argues that the media holds a double standard, that white parents are held accountable while black parents are not. She can cite case after case.

Nonetheless, the focus should be on the record number of killings of young black men at rates unimaginable to an earlier generation. Last year, the U.S. homicide toll topped 20,000 victims, more than half of them black although blacks are less than 13 percent of the population. Their killers were overwhelmingly other blacks.

Again, if that concerns you, and your concern isn’t merely to play into a narrative serving some other agenda, how do you ignore the evidence regarding the absence of fathers in the black home, the breakdown of the nuclear family?

With that question in mind, dive into an article in this weekend’s Indianapolis Star, “Black Residents, New Black Panther Party Seek Solution to Violence, Food Deserts.”

There is a hint deep into the story that some of those gathered at the Hovey Street Church of Christ in Indianapolis are troubled by the dissolution of the family. The reporter, though, doesn’t follow up. She is more interested in the participants’ views on the killing last year of a black youth by a white claiming self-defense during the summer riots — that and a search for what would seemingly be the self-evident reasons grocery stores are scarce in high-crime areas.

Nor did the Star article reflect any great interest in sure-fire tactical solutions such as statistically pinpointing high-crime blocks and, generally, jailing more perpetrators (its editorials argue against that).

In summary, the Hovey Street group may have held strong opinions on the importance of a father in the home but they didn’t make it into the story. Maybe the Star thinks its readership couldn’t bear to hear such unwoke blaspheme.

A counterpoint, however, was set by the chairman of the New Black Panther Party of Indiana. “Our community is out of control,” he told the Star in arguing that the black community needs to first of all help itself. “This government, this city, is not doing anything to help us.”

If he had added that little of the $22 trillion this nation has spent fighting poverty actually benefited the typical black family he would have made an even stronger argument. For since the “war” on poverty was declared in 1964, one on which government has spent three times the cost of all our actual wars, the black family’s situation has only gotten worse. 

We are at a point where Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal pleads, “Stop helping us, you’ve done enough already.” Riley is referring sardonically to government spending that has discouraged what once was a tradition of strong black American families.

If after its downsizing the Star still has a library, that book should be in it. And the economists Thomas Sowell and the late Walter Williams have earlier books on the subject. It is time to read them. — tcl


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