Conservative media’s current favorite brand of crock Bill O’Reilly (better luck next time, Sean Hannity) is continuing on with his uninformed and highly disingenuous rant about the plight of the Black community — purportedly spurred by all the single ladies (“all the single ladies”) raising children.
SEE ALSO: Expert: Black Unemployment Rate For Adults, Youth Still High
After President Barack Obama’s remarks about Trayvon Martin, O’Reilly became “enraged,” because the speech, according to him, didn’t address the “real” problems facing Blacks.
O’Reilly, in all his pedantic glory, explained:
The reason is the collapse of the traditional African-American family unit; 50 years ago when Blacks had it much worse than they had it now, 25 percent of Black babies were born out of wedlock. Today, the number is close to 75 percent.
That is catastrophic.
But the civil rights industry and the White power fracture basically ignore the problem. They also ignore the entertainment industry putting out vile products aimed at young people, some of whom incorporate the gangster culture in to their own lives.
What does an unarmed Black child who had two parents in his life before he was fatally shot by an armed vigilante with a hard-on for racial profiling have to do with single Black parents supposedly ruining the race?
Your guess is as good as mine.
The same can be said of the “traditional African-American family,” which I imagine refers to the “nuclear family” — a still relatively recent concept of a family unit that incidentally was already a flimsy concept with Black people — you know, with that whole slavery thing and all.
As the Daily Beast’s Amanda Marcotte writes:
The fact of the matter is that single motherhood is associated with poverty and other kinds of problems, and not because wedding ceremonies imbue a family with some kind of magical protection. It’s because of a host of complex reasons that can’t be boiled down into a moral scolding session about the value of marriage. Indeed, one reason that a lot of women are technically single but actually cohabitating on the day they give birth is due to economic pressures beyond their control.
Marriage would not magically solve these problems. President George W. Bush tried this with his marry your way out of the welfare program and it failed. Quite miserably.
Mother Jones took a look at the federal Healthy Marriage initiative and found:
Take the Building Healthy Families program, which targeted unmarried but romantically involved couples who were either new parents or expecting a baby. The program, tested in Baltimore and seven other cities, offered participants many weeks of marriage education classes that focused on improving their relationships with the hopes that this would also help their children.
Three years later, researchers reported that the program had produced precisely zero impact on the quality of the couples’ relationships, rates of domestic violence, or the involvement of Fathers with their children. In fact, couples in the eight pilot programs around the country actually broke up more frequently than those in a control group who didn’t get the relationship program. The program also prompted a drop in the involvement of Fathers and the percentage who provided financial support.
In a few bright spots, married couples who participated in a government-funded relationship class reported being somewhat happier and having slightly warmer relationships with their partners. But the cost of this slight bump in happiness in the Supporting Healthy Marriage program was a whopping $7,000 to $11,500 per couple. Imagine how much happier the couples would have been if they’d just been handed with cash.
But, but, but, Bill O’Reilly knows best.
And for the millionth time now, that baby out of wedlock stat about Black people has been grossly distorted for partisan arguments and agendas.
In “Understanding Out-of-Wedlock Births in Black America,” Ta-Nehisi Coates noted:
One obvious reason that you have a higher percentage of children born out of wedlock in the Black community is that the number of unmarried women (mothers or not) has grown a lot, while number of married women has grown only a little. You can see that in the chart above, which I culled from these census numbers. The numbers are by the thousand. But while the number of unmarried Black women has substantially grown, the actual birthrate (measured by births per 1000) for Black women is at the lowest point that it’s ever documented.*
So while a larger number of Black women are choosing not to marry, many of those women are also choosing not to bring kids into the world. But there is something else.
Meanwhile, Bill says, “White people don’t force Black people to have babies out of wedlock. That’s a personal decision. A decision that has devastated millions of children and led to disaster, both socially and economically.”
In actuality, White people like him use their privilege and power to continue the advancement of policies that only benefit the ultra-rich and hurt all those in the working class or floundering in poverty — White and Black alike.
And yet, this week Bill O’Reilly wants Jay Z to go out and do PSAs telling women not to have sex. What good will that do? Appease Bill O’Reilly’s faux concern about Black people and the family unit. Oh, who am I kidding? That man would quickly move on to some other thing he finds irritating about Black people and continue the misinformation program.
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick
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