Mixed Feelings On Father’s Day

Dutch Martin, Townhall.com, June 18, 2006

As the product of a single-parent home, I have always had mixed feelings when Father’s Day comes around every June. How could I comment on the importance of fathers if my own formative years were shaped by my own father’s absence? Although much has been written about the negative effects of fatherlessness on black children I would like to share my feelings on how important fathers are and how misguided welfare policies have undermined the black family—including my own.

Historically, black families were intact and strong. Even during an era when racism was worse, blacks still worked hard, kept their families together and sought to educate themselves and their children. In other words, we not only survived in the face of the obstacles in our way, we excelled.

What happened?

LBJ’s 1964 “War on Poverty” program happened. Economic and social progress in the black community was utterly ruined with the expansion of the welfare state. A bureaucracy was formed that basically subsidized irresponsibility and social dysfunction, paying unmarried black women to have children out-of-wedlock while giving weak-willed black men an excuse to be lazy, irresponsible losers siring as many illegitimate kids with as many women as they pleased. (Any why not? The government would take care of their progeny.) Having had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, the black family began a rapid moral disintegration under a program that went from an emergency rescue to a way of life. No wonder so many blacks just sat on their hands and did nothing after the civil rights movement.

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