A recent article by George F. Will, reporting for The Washington Post, revealed what many of us already know – despite the attainment of certain trappings of socio-economic success, and the political and cultural victory many of us felt with the election of Barack Hussein Obama as the nation’s 44th President, the Black Family is in disrepair and needs some serious fixing.
According to Will, in addition to 70% of all black babies being born to unwed mothers, the prospects for the stability of Black familes is rather grim:
By the early 2000s, more than a third of all young black non-college men were under the supervision of the corrections system. More than 60 percent of black high school dropouts born since the mid-1960s go to prison….In 2003-2004, for every 100 bachelor’s degrees conferred on black men, 200 were conferred on black women….Only 35 percent of black children live with two parents, which partly explains why, while only 24 percent of white eighth-graders watch four or more hours of television on an average day, 59 percent of their black peers do.
While we lean on policymakers to reverse trends of under-education, unemployment and poverty, the question remains as to the roll they can play – if any – in fostering a return to “good ol’ family values.”
At least tangentially, it would seem that policymakers can help improve the conditions that impact the success and viability of Black families. Whether through the creation of innovative education programs that target the needs of the underserved, or by implementing job training programs and after school initiatives that can provide children with alternatives to life on the streets, policymakers can impact cultural conditions that ultimately impact the relationships we form with each other, prospective mates, employers and our children. At the same time, government cannot and should not be held fully accountable for rendering better outcomes for those people who, year by year, seem to fall deeper through the cracks.
So what is the solution? Collaborative effort between communities and policymakers to develop practical means of speaking to the needs of people? Government mandated programs? Individual input and accountability above and beyond any service government can offer?
The answers remain unclear, but it’s certainly high time that something happens to help turn the tide. Our communities and this country cannot afford to lose another generation to poverty, prison and lack of education.