Robin Smith / March 26, 2018

NYT Links Poverty to Racism

The Times boils down an extensive study to only the points that fit its narrative about race in America.

Headlines — be careful how you allow them to frame a piece of news.

Last week, The New York Times published an analysis topped by the headline declaration, “Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys.”

Based on this headline and the first few sentences of the piece, the March 19 article written by four contributors successfully posits that black males — even those raised in wealthy homes — are more likely to be poor as adults, largely because of racism.

But if you were to read the actual study, “Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective,” suddenly you see that, to serve its race narrative, the Times selectively plucked a few details from a very complex research document that made numerous observations.

Before we break this down, let’s make sure we all use the actual definition of racism. Merriam-Webster defines the term as “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” So, using this term but twisting the definition, the Times tells readers that the societal construct created by the oppression of a white majority is the cause of black men being most likely, among the demographics studied, to become poor as adults.

If the Times’ reporters had chosen to print all the findings of the 106-page study — a retrospective analysis covering 26 years conducted by Stanford University, Harvard and the U.S. Census Bureau — rather than isolate a few items in order to mislead, a bit more trust could exist in the dying profession of journalism.

Let’s compare a few statements by the Gray Lady’s quartet to the actual data from the study.

Both the NYT article and the research study record that the income mobility, or the ability of an individual to improve her economic status, is not very different between white females and black females. Simply, as adults, females of all races and ethnicity demonstrate the ability to increase their incomes and improve their economic status.

But, as hypothesized by the Times, black men become poor because of racism when looking back from 2015 to 1989: “Even when children grow up next to each other with parents who earn similar incomes, black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America. And the gaps only worsen in the kind of neighborhoods that promise low poverty and good schools.”

In several references within the actual research, the role or lack of a father figure is documented. For example, it states, “Less than 5% of black children currently grow up in areas with a poverty rate below 10% and more than half of black fathers present.”

How does that compare to whites? The actual study reports, “In contrast, 63% of white children live in areas with poverty rates below 10% and more than half of white fathers present.”

The study observes, “One mechanical explanation for black-white gaps in household income is that blacks marry at much lower rates than whites, leading to lower levels of household income simply because they tend to have one rather than two earners in their families.” It continues later in the introduction to note of the comparison between white and black males, “Among low-poverty neighborhoods (those with poverty rates below 10%), there are two factors that are strongly associated with better outcomes for black men and smaller black-white gaps: low levels of racial bias among whites and high rates of father presence among blacks.”

The academic research with maps, charts, appendices and a hefty bibliography makes this statement: “We conclude that neighborhoods with low poverty rates, high rates of father presence among blacks, and low levels of racial bias among whites have better outcomes for black boys and smaller racial gaps. But very few black children currently grow up in such environments.”

Does racism still exist? Sadly, yes. But does racism cause the low rate of marriage in the black community? Does racism create entire neighborhoods with few father figures? Just as racism has no causal impact on the number of marriages in the minority community, marriage is not a function of race.

Racism didn’t make marriage unnecessary. “Great Society” welfare did. In 2017, 77% of black children were born to mothers without a husband. Contrast that to 30% of births of white children to moms outside of marriage. And, no, it’s not just black children on welfare. But, regardless of race, a working father isn’t necessary when there’s SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) or WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants & Children), just to name a few of the 80-plus income-redistribution programs.

As Dr. Thomas Sowell, the economist and senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institute, has written for decades, “A vastly expanded welfare state in the 1960s destroyed the black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and generations of racial oppression.” In his 2016 analysis, “‘Favors’ to Blacks,” the black conservative wrote, “In 1960, before this expansion of the welfare state, 22 percent of black children were raised with only one parent. By 1985, 67 percent of black children were raised with either one parent or no parent.” Again, it’s far higher today.

Yes, racism contributed to the perverted role of government that ensnares individuals and destroys families with the lure of services that create a permanent underclass and generations of dependency. But it was Democrat racism like that of Lyndon B. Johnson, who said of his “Great Society” programs, “I’ll have those n—ers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”

There are many factors that contribute to the state of poverty, one of which is the composition of the family unit. Until Americans restore the value of marriage and an intact family, don’t expect much progress on poverty, sexual abuse, “gun violence” or a whole host of other societal ills — regardless of your race and gender.

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