“The undeniable truth is that neither slavery nor Jim Crow nor the harshest racism has decimated the black family the way the welfare state has,” said George Mason Professor Walter Williams in a column he wrote for The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
There is little evidence to support the idea that slavery, racial discrimination, and poverty caused the problems of today’s black Americans, the economics professor wrote.
The number one problem is the weak family structure:
In 1960, just 22 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families.
Fifty years later, more than 70 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families.
According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year, 11 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers. Today about 75 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers. That can’t be a legacy of slavery, it can’t be some delayed reaction.
As Professor Williams said, the bottom line is that the black family was stronger the first 100 years after slavery than during what will be the second 100 years.
All blacks were poor originally but now 30 percent are poor. Two-parent black families are rarely poor.
Only 8 percent of black married-couple families live in poverty. Among black families in which both the husband and wife work full time, the poverty rate is under 5 percent. Poverty in black families headed by single women is 37 percent.
It’s the welfare state that decimated the black family, he concludes.