Weekend Read: Is Marriage A White Privilege ? Part II thumbnail

Weekend Read: Is Marriage A White Privilege ? Part II

By Neland Nobel

In part I, we discussed that a traditional family of mother and father produces the best results overall for children. And since children are our future, better results for them translate into a better future for the country.

It also means less income disparity and a better life for minority children.

To be clear, we recognize that not all families function well and that not all marriages work.  But the statistical work done by Professor Kearney accounts for that. Large swaths of families are part of the database. There was no cherry-picking of ‘happy families. That said, the data clearly shows that the traditional family, with all of its frailties, provides better outcomes than ‘new families’ that attempt to substitute the state for the father or the state for the entire family.  It is clear that ‘new families’ have even more problems than traditional families.

The bottom line is, ‘new families’ just don’t work as well and they enlarge the power and interference of the government, which is as bad for the polity as it is for children.

Marriage should not be an institution just for upper-class white people and Asians. All minority groups would be helped by strong marriages. The lack of family structure likely is far more influential in producing ‘disparate outcomes’ than whatever marginal racism is still left in America.

The rise of single-parent households is particularly acute in black families with over 70% of children born out of wedlock. But it is rising now in Hispanic families, and lower economic-class white families as well.

This has been known since the 1960s when Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote his critical work on the black family.  Even with all that time that has passed, authorities don’t seem to know what has caused it or what to do about it.

Kearney does not delve much into the why but rather chronicles the breakdown of the family and its effect on children. She appears to bend over backward not to be judgmental and regards single motherhood and its travails as “heroic”, a word we often see used in this context.  But what word do we use when people put themselves into such a position that requires heroism just to survive and thrive?  How many people are capable of such heroism?

The reason we say that is because whether it is the availability of welfare checks or the force of the popular culture (or both) degrading marriage and its importance, Asian families have shown almost no deterioration in marriage rates and their kids are blowing the doors off at school. How come?

Chinese Americans were very discriminated against at one time, and so were the Japanese, who were interned in camps by President Roosevelt. The Vietnamese were refugees who landed here with nothing. How come they can get married, stay married, and climb to the top of the income heap? How come very dark-skinned Asians from India and elsewhere succeed in marriage and now are the highest income earners in America? How come “white supremacy” does not keep them down?

The good professor is an economist so she only gently treads on this subject. We are not so implicit.

Gee, do you think it might have something to do with culture? Are there habits and attitudes that are more helpful to success than others? If so, in a world where “all cultures are equal (except white culture which is racist)”, it is hard to explain why different cultural traits among people of the same race create different results.

Is one permitted to be judgemental about culture for just a moment? For example, do the lyrics of rap music extoll the virtues of hard work, respect for women and children, and fidelity in marriage? If internalized by the listener, will the cultural messages of rap music lead to better social outcomes? What is your answer?

What about attitudes toward work, sobriety, duty, courage, grit, and determination? Are not the internalization of these virtues canceled out by the constant messaging that all the problems of black people have been caused by white men? Blaming others for one’s shortcomings is natural enough without our entire media and political establishment piling on.

So, we are treading on shaky ground. Today, one dare not suggest that poverty may be related to cultural attitudes. But then, how do we explain that some people get out of poverty and have stable marriages even when they were raised in poverty and a broken family? How do we explain Clarence Thomas or Louis Armstrong? Why are some people harmed by a bad environment while others emerge bruised but successful?

Maybe instead of studying poverty, we should study success. After all, poverty has been the default position throughout history. Success is rare, especially when it emerges from bad circumstances.

Why do blacks from the Caribbean do so much better than native-born American blacks? If the bigoted whites are holding blacks down, why the special dispensation from white bigots for Caribbean blacks?

This goes to our central point. The subject is a lot more complicated than just blaming white people.

Blaming white men for everything keeps us from having a more meaningful discussion about culture, doesn’t it?

You see today, we are no longer judgmental about other people and the way they choose to live. All family arrangements are just a matter of taste and are equally “good” even though we know the outcome for children can be devastating.

A strong family unit is still vastly superior to massive Federal programs.

As an institution, families are not perfect, but then again neither are government programs.

Families are imperfect because people are imperfect. In that sense, all families are dysfunctional to some degree. But the data shows that just a reasonably stable marriage with two parents creates better outcomes and other arrangements do not do as well. We don’t need to let the perfect get in the way of the good.

Why then are families denigrated in the popular culture? We have gone from Father Knows Best to Father Hasn’t a Clue. In numerous movies and situation comedies, Dad is portrayed as a large child and a moronic one to boot. Yet we know fathers are very important to raising both sons and daughters and sharing burdens with a wife.

Why is it the fault of white men that black families are in such disarray?  Absent the malign influence of government subsidy, exactly what is the process by which white men cause black people not to marry? Why have economic and social changes, and supposed “white supremacy” not affected Asian families or blacks from the Caribbean?

Finally, we find it both amusing and tragic that those who constantly tell us to be non-judgmental are severely judgmental. They, in fact, project virulent hate toward white men.

All this hatred may assist in dividing the nation for evil purposes, but how exactly does it help the black community?

Let’s see if we have this right. The supposed anti-racists are now the most racist, and the most non-judgmental are now the most judgmental.  How is any of this helpful to the very people you want to assist?

We believe Melissa Kearney’s well documented analysis is helpful. For those who don’t have time to read this important book, we present this short video to explore these critical themes about the two-parent family.


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