Black Dads' Lives Matter Most

The Obvious Remedy Not Advocated by BLM Movement

The events unfolding over the past few weeks in the U.S. have renewed awareness to the issues of inequity suffered by the African American population in distant past, recent past, and up to present. Social media posts, national and local protests, and conversations in coffee shops have focused on issues ranging from the perceived excessive use of force by law enforcement, unequal access to housing, education, healthcare, and unemployment.

The most “woke” Americans, in showing their solidarity with these issues, have dutifully posted pictures of themselves in local or big city protests, holding Black Lives Matters (BLM) signs, and in the spirit of pure philanthropy and self-sacrifice, went so far as to post a black square to their Instagram. Woke churches have welcomed BLM into their congregations, encouraging congregants to reflect on their own role in systematic racism and to support BLM with hashtags and contributions.

Pragmatic thinkers – those who do not care to mindlessly heed the musings of the cultural mob – might dare to ask themselves many questions at this point. For one, how do these gestures facilitate the acquisition of the American dream for African Americans? Is the BLM organization really looking to advance the lives of African Americans or to foment a political movement? Most fundamentally, what are the causes of the continued inequities suffered by African Americans, and what can be done to ameliorate them?

Shelby Steele, senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, has provided much food for thought on the most fundamental question. Decrying the historical political/ social engineering by the white political establishment (in order to prove they are not racist), Steele remarked that all the social programs in the world do not replace the presence of a father in the home. Beating back against the cultural mob-wisdom of Al Sharpton & Co demanding more political solutions, Steele states he will take such solutions more seriously when he hears from Sharpton and others, the argument:

 “We need within the Black community to work on the institution of marriage, [as] our families have fallen to pieces; 75% of all black children are born out of wedlock, without a father. I don’t care how many social programs you have, you’re not going to overcome that.”

Steele’s solution seems too easy; could the lack of fathers in the home really be the underlying cause of poverty and inability to access the American dream within the African American community?

Economist Thomas Sowell has written prolifically on the importance of the nuclear family in black communities. Condemning the role of the welfare state in undermining the family, Sowell remarks, “The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals' expansion of the welfare state.” He adds that in 1940, 87% of African Americans lived in poverty but recovered remarkable socio-economic ground in twenty short years to only 47% (without any government intervention, rather a modest illegitimacy rate of only about 11%).[1] Sowell laments that after Johnson’s “war on poverty” socio-economic gains have been modest at best, but the disintegration of the nuclear family has been robust with a current illegitimacy rate of 77.3%. Could the solution be fathers?

Walter Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University, furthers Steele’s and Sowell’s assertion of the importance of fathers with the following statistics:

  • Slightly over 70% of black children are raised in female-headed households
  • 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
  • 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father figure
  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
  • 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
  • 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions have no father
  • Fatherless boys and girls are twice as likely to drop out of high school and twice as likely to end up in jail

Williams further indicts the intellectuals and political hustlers who blame the plight of so many blacks on poverty, racial discrimination and the "legacy of slavery,” charging them as complicit in the continued socioeconomic and moral decay. With a clarion call to embracing morality, one wonders what the professor might say of the BLM organization?

If the thinking American – that rarified individual daring to challenge the wisdom from the mob – were to take a critical view of the Black Lives Matter website, under What We Believe, they would learn something of their mission:

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

Did you happen to read anything about fathers in that statement on family? Apparently, fathers are not necessary; their roles are in fact marginalized. Instead of being replaced by LBJ's administrative state, BLM says they can be replaced by the “village” they provide.

This undermining of the nuclear family and fathers should have Americans everywhere concerned, especially Christians. Truly Christian leaders need to be cognizant that a stand with the BLM organization is a stand against God’s prescription for societal stability and family security. As Steele and others have argued, in the life of a child, no organizational village, no government intervention program (no matter how well funded or executed), can substitute for having a father in the home every night tucking them in bed, no matter where they may live. In the lives of African American children, black dads’ lives matter the most. I wonder if that would be a catchy hashtag? #blackdadslivesmattermost. Just created it on Twitter!

[1] Sowell, Thomas. Discrimination and Disparities. Basic Books. 2019.

graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Fresno, with a BS in molecular biology and a minor in cognitive psychology. As an undergraduate, she conducted research in immunology, microbiology, behavioral and cognitive psychology, scanning tunneling microscopy and genetics - having published research in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, and projects in scanning tunneling microscopy. Having recently completed an M.Ed. from University of Cincinnati and a Certificate in Apologetics with the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University, Emily is currently an instructional designer/content developer for Moody Bible Institute and teaches organic chemistry and physics. As a former Darwinian evolutionist, Emily now regards the intelligent design arguments more credible than those proffered by Darwinists for explaining the origin of life.

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