Monday, November 13, 2006

Issues & Views: The Moynihan Report Issues & Views: The Moynihan Report

The subject of neocons and Daniel Patrick Moynihan came up. As an entering freshman in college in 1968, we all were required to read his: The Negro Family: The Case For National Action. Elizebeth Wright took aim in 1965 in her: Issues & Views: The Moynihan Report at how this country had failed to heed Mr. Moynihan's clarion call that the biggest threat to the African-American portion of our society came from dissintigration of family structure. Instead, the War on Poverty enacted around then did just the opposite: it rewarded raising kids in fatherless families. She points this out from the Moynihan Report:
Margaret Mead has pointed out that while ‘In every known human society, everywhere in the world, the young male learns that when he grows up one of the things which he must do in order to be a full member of society is to provide food for some female and her young.’ This pattern is not immutable, however, it can be broken, even though it has always eventually reasserted itself.

‘Within the family, each new generation of young males learn the appropriate nurturing behavior and superimpose upon their biologically given maleness this learned parental role. When the family breaks down . . . this delicate line of transmission is broken. Men may flounder badly in these periods, during which the primary unit may again become mother and child, the biologically given, and the special conditions under which man has held his social traditions in trust are violated and distorted.’. .

A cycle is at work; too many children too early make it most difficult for the parents to finish school. . . . An Urban League study in New York reported that 44% of girl dropouts left school because of pregnancy. Low education levels in turn produce low income levels, which deprive children of many opportunities, and so the cycle repeats itself. . . .

At this point, the present tangle of pathology is capable of perpetuating itself. . . . The cycle can be broken only if these distortions are set right.

In a word, a national effort towards the problems of Negro Americans must be directed towards the question of family structure. The object should be to strengthen the Negro family so as to enable it to raise and support its members as do other families. After that, how this group of Americans chooses to run its affairs, take advantage of opportunities or fail to do so, is none of the nation’s business.
So, after a trillion dollars had been spent on a futile attempt to wage a War on Poverty, the inner-city Black communities found themselves with young girls dropping out of school to have subsidized fatherless kids out of wedlock. And the boys joined juvenile gangs that sold drugs and terrorized their community. All this a result of ignoring that the one thing that has proven able to civilize young males over the millenia is a combination of marriage and fatherhood.

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