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Why Race Matters


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Front Page Magazine:

On Memorial Day weekend, there were riots in Charlotte, Rochester, Nashville, Miami, Myrtle Beach and Boston. Last Friday, fighting broke out at Brighton Beach in New York City, where five people were shot and a young girl was killed. Flash mobs have been attacking people in Chicago on the streets and on public buses. The common thread? All of the mobs were black youths — and there’s been a concerted effort by the media to ignore that reality.

Toward what end? Sparing America from a having a real conversation about race? Here’s what the see-no-evil crowd doesn’t want to talk about: there’s a thug element in the black American community which has been glorified for years. The seed was planted during the Johnson administration, which spawned the Great Society and the massive expansion of the welfare state.

Despite all protestations to the contrary, that expansion destroyed the basic underpinning of any civilized society, namely the nuclear family. Nowhere has that destruction been more prevalent than in the black American community, which now boasts an out-of-wedlock birthrate of 72 percent.

It’s not as if no one saw it coming. Daniel Patrick Moynihan predicted that America would pay profound consequences for “defining deviancy down,” specifically citing the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program as the prime culprit. Before the advent of the Great Society, AFDC had been reserved for widows, as a means of funding once-married women who had lost the primary male supporter of the family. In the 1960s, president Johnson and Congress changed the qualifications: any household where there was no male family head present became eligible for taxpayer subsidies.

Moynihan knew exactly where this was leading as far back as 1966: ”From the wild Irish slums of the 19th-century Eastern seaboard, to the riot-torn suburbs of Los Angeles,” he wrote, ”there is one unmistakable lesson in American history: a community that allows large numbers of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future–that community asks for and gets chaos. Crime, violence, unrest, disorder…are not only to be expected, they are very near to inevitable. And they are richly deserved.”snip
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