Young Black Men and Authority
From the wild Irish slums of the 19th century eastern seaboard, to the riot-torn suburbs of Los Angeles, there is one unmistakable lesson in American history: A community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any rational expectations about the future — that community asks for and gets chaos.
Now that I’ve sent all the “progressive” (barbarian) bloggers to their keyboards, I’ll tell the rest of you that the words in the first paragraph aren’t mine. They were spoken by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a prominent Democrat, in 1965.
I thought about this when I heard that an African American celebrity had said that he felt degraded by having to say, “Yes, officer” and “No, officer” to a policeman. And I wondered why anyone would feel diminished in status for showing the proper respect to someone in authority. After all, my white father taught my white self to address law enforcement officers in exactly that way.
We know that blacks commit a disproportionate number of crimes, and that the sub-segment “Young Black Male” commits most of those. Is it so difficult to understand why? Senator Moynihan had the “chaos” sorted out: “a large number of young men” are growing up “in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority.”
A man secure in his own masculinity and status doesn’t “go off” at the tiniest perceived slight to his pride. Someone who has no doubt about his worth as a person and his value to the community only laughs when he is “dissed.” What we have in the inner cities of America is a great number of young men not only “never acquiring any rational expectations about the future” – because they have few jobs and, as they may perceive it, no path to a fulfilling life – but emotionally handicapped by the lack of a “stable relationship to male authority.” Not only are they frustrated with life in general, they don’t know how to cope when a representative of the community demands their respect and compliance.
If we really believed that “black lives matter,” we would:
1) Immediately end all “welfare” programs that reward fatherlessness and push fathers out of families.
2) Give education vouchers in order to force public schools to compete for students. The idea is to give these kids the knowledge they need to get ahead.
3) Promote and encourage private groups that help youngsters acquire skills, confidence and a healthy respect for authority (Big Brothers/Big Sisters, for example).
4) Repeal minimum wage and child labor laws to allow young people to learn good work habits and self-sufficiency early.
5) End Obamacare and all other unconstitutional laws and regulations that throttle businesses, preventing them from creating jobs.
Those are a few of the things we would do tomorrow if we really believed that “black lives matter.” But the people chanting the slogans really don’t believe that. They see African Americans as a constituency to be exploited, not as individuals who can stand on their own two feet. The Grievance Industry is real, and it’s booming.
Young black men haven’t always been a menace to all of us. Before the government “help” programs of the 1960s, the unemployment rate for teenage African American males was lower than that of their white counterparts. But that was when black families stayed together, you see. None of this dysfunction is a “legacy of slavery;” it’s a legacy of the “Great Society” programs fostered by the bigoted President who boasted, “I’ll have those n*ggers voting Democrat for 200 years.”
Other ethnic groups have had similar failures in the past. Moynihan, an Irishman, mentioned the “wild Irish slums” of yesteryear. Today we would say that the hooligans were being “racially profiled” and “targeted.” But back then we knew that a stereotype always contains a grain of truth. The Irish really were drunk and unruly. But instead of going on TV and demanding to be treated differently, they cleaned up their act. They took responsibility for their own lives. They listened to spiritual leaders like Father Theobald Mathew promoting temperance, instead of “Reverends” like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton assuring them that all of their difficulties are the fault of Someone Else. That’s never the way out. People in the larger society cannot be scolded out of their instinct for self-preservation.
I’ll end with two quotes by a contemporary young black male, Jason L. Riley:
“If we want to change negative perceptions of young black men, we must change the behavior that is driving those perceptions.”
“The most critical factor affecting the prospect of young males encountering the criminal justice system is the presence of a father in the home.”
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