The Myth of the Myth of the Black Father
Facebook friends have directed my attention to a study being hailed on the left as breaking the right-wing racist narrative about black fatherhood. Here is the link to the study, sans commentary.
The study doesn’t really debunk the central thesis of conservative social critics both white and black: that the absence of the black father is a serious social problem. While it does demonstrate that black fathers are equal to or slightly greater in attentiveness towards their children than whites or Latinos, no mainstream commentator to my knowledge has suggested that black men are inherently worse at parenting. If that is what we on the right truly believed, we wouldn’t be urging more black families to stay together and more fathers to take an active role in their children’s lives.
Black fathers who don’t live with their children may be slightly or even significantly more attentive than white fathers, but we are talking about a very small range of values here, at least in the troubling category of fathers who don’t live with their children. Let’s take an example highlighted in the left-wing press about the study. If we look at fathers with children ages 5 -18 who don’t live with their children, we see that the lowest values in several areas of parenting (e.g. daily meals, daily activities, helping with homework) are 1.9%, 2.0% and 3.2% respectively (all Latino), while the highest values are 4.2 (white), 5.1 and 9.7 (black). And as the same press must note, there is a much higher percentage of black children living without their fathers than white or Hispanic children. For blacks, 91% of the 55% without fathers in the home are going without daily homework help from dad, compared to 95% out of the 21% of white kids without a father in the home.
The answer to this, of course, is to begin ripping on the nuclear family – to begin “debunking that myth” as well. Except that it is well-known that children who are born to and raised by two parents will enjoy far greater advantages in life on average. Everyone has their success stories that they know of, children raised by single parents who turned out great and even ascended to the highest positions in our society. Great, wonderful! But arguments shouldn’t be based upon outliers. According to a 2012 Census study:
Seventy percent of the children who lived with two married parents were in households that were at least 200 percent above the poverty level. But nearly 1 in 2 children who lived with their mother only, two unmarried parents, or no parents at all were living below the poverty level. Children living in these other family arrangements were also more likely than those living with two married parents to receive public assistance and food stamps, and to lack health insurance coverage.
Read the rest here. No matter how the left tries to kick and scream, traditional opposite-sex marriages are statistically best for children and will be for the foreseeable future. This is not about whether a black man can read to his son as well as a white man. It is about the fact that 55% of black children are born disadvantaged not because of the color of their skin, but rather because of the choices their parents made.