Black History Month

February is celebrated as Black History Month and it was accentuated by last night’s Oscars ceremony in which the lack of black nominees was widely noted.

What has not been widely noted is that in the 1950’s, when racial segregation and  discrimination were widespread, the percentage of black children born into single parent families was only 5-10%, which, by some accounts, was lower than that of the overall population. Today it has been calculated as high as 73%, with Hispanic children at 50% and the overall population at 40%.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously noted in the late 1960’s that the Great Society programs of LBJ were partly to blame by making it easier for single parents to survive economically.  In the 1970’s came no-fault  divorce, which added to the divorce rate. Another 1970’s trend was the War on Drugs, which was particularly hard on black men and made them increasingly suspicious of the justice system in general.

This has been evident during the massive protests in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City in late 2014. I believe that these trends have come together over the last half-century to make many black men flee from parental involvement since they are suspicious of the system in general and have heard from friends and family that they would have a slim chance of being allowed to be truly active parents by our present-day family court system.


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