We’ve been told, quite frequently and repeatedly that the problems in the black community that we’ve seen in Ferguson and Baltimore recently are not the fault of biased, paramilitary, paranoid and violent policing (even if the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that black people are three times more likely to be subject to law enforcement uses of force). They are not the fault of racist red-lining that created these impoverished neighborhoods in the first place. They are not the fault of bigoted lending and hiring practices that create roadblocks for those attempting to escape those neighborhoods. And the fact that black students are disciplined, suspended and expelled far more easily and quickly for the same or lesser offenses, isn’t the problem.
None of that is the problem. Nope. All of that is just too bad. Life is tough all over. Lots of people have got lots of problems. No, instead we’ve heard that the welfare benefits in Baltimore are “too lucrative,” because when you give people nothing they somehow get more, somewhere. That businesses won’t invest in these neighborhoods until something is done about those darn teachers unions. That it’s because of “too many gay marriages.” That ISIS is using Baltimore to recruit blacks. And, of course, when all else fails, blame Obama.
But what we’ve heard the most, is that the real problem is the Breakdown in the Black Family™. That too many black fathers have abandoned their children, allowing them to be raised by the streets like feral cats. They don’t learn morals, and they don’t learn values—so naturally police have to shoot them down like rabid, foaming dogs. Even when they’re unarmed. Even when they have their backs turned and are simply running away. It’s all just their own fault really.
If only black fathers would spend as much time and energy on their kids as white fathers do. If only…
Well, someone—the Centers for Disease Control—actually went to trouble of checking just how involved in their lives all fathers are, whether or not they are married to the mother of their children or live with them. What they found was that, in reality, black fathers are actually more attentive to their children than other fathers generally are.