America’s abandonment of traditional values has hurt the black community

Economist Walter Williams
Economist Walter Williams

My two favorite economists are Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams, who are coincidentally both black. Both have been around long enough to see how the Great Society welfare programs and the Sexual Revolution have affected blacks.

Here is Walter Williams commenting on the black community in The Daily Signal.

He writes:

How might one explain the greater civility of Philadelphia and other big-city, predominantly black neighborhoods and schools during earlier periods compared with today? Would anyone argue that during the ’40s and ’50s, there was less racial discrimination and poverty? Was academic performance higher because there were greater opportunities? Was civility in school greater in earlier periods because black students had more black role models in the form of black principals, teachers, and guidance counselors? That’s nonsense, at least in northern schools. In my case, I had no more than three black teachers throughout primary and secondary school.

Starting in the 1960s, the values that made for civility came under attack. Corporal punishment was banned. This was the time when the education establishment and liberals launched their agenda that undermined lessons children learned from their parents and the church.

Sex education classes undermined family/church strictures against premarital sex. Lessons of abstinence were ridiculed, considered passé, and replaced with lessons about condoms, birth control pills, and abortion. Further undermining of parental authority came with legal and extralegal measures to assist teenage abortions, often with neither parental knowledge nor parental consent.

Customs, traditions, moral values, and rules of etiquette are behavioral norms, transmitted mostly by example, word of mouth, and religious teachings. As such, they represent a body of wisdom distilled through the ages by experience and trial and error.

The nation’s liberals—along with the education establishment, pseudo-intellectuals, and the courts—have waged war on traditions, customs and moral values. Many people have been counseled to believe that there are no moral absolutes. Instead, what’s moral or immoral is a matter of personal convenience, personal opinion, what feels good, or what is or is not criminal.

We no longer condemn or shame self-destructive and rude behavior, such as out-of-wedlock pregnancies, dependency, cheating, and lying. We have replaced what worked with what sounds good.

The abandonment of traditional values has negatively affected the nation as a whole, but blacks have borne the greater burden. This is seen by the decline in the percentage of black two-parent families. Today, a little over 30 percent of black children live in an intact family, where as early as the late 1800s, over 70 percent did. Black illegitimacy in 1938 was 11 percent, and that for whites was 3 percent. Today, it’s respectively 73 percent and 30 percent.

It is the height of dishonesty, as far as blacks are concerned, to blame our problems on slavery, how white people behave, and racial discrimination. If those lies are not exposed, we will continue to look for external solutions when true solutions are internal. Those of us who are old enough to know better need to expose these lies.

I know why Democrat leaders lie to the black community about the relative importance of “racism” compared to bad decisions about whether to finish high school, whether to have sex before marriage, whether to break the law, and whether to work rather than collect welfare. The truth is that a person cannot be poor in the United States if they make good decisions. Normally, when people (of any color) make bad decisions, they learn not to do it on their own, or they find themselves advisors to help them learn. But the Democrats are there to tell those who make mistakes that their mistakes are caused by other people. This harms the people making the mistakes instead of helping them.

2 thoughts on “America’s abandonment of traditional values has hurt the black community”

  1. yeah before the 60’s there were more black business but as we intergrated blacks abandoned their own and shopped more at white locations, made money and moved to white neighborhoods. Lots of things play a factor but to say slavery and racism is not factors is a lie.


  2. Thomas Sowell is one of my favorites too and now I will have to add Mr. Williams to that list. It is such a strange thing that so many blacks line up unquestionably behind the Democratic party. From the very start it’s been the Democrats who were against civil rights and many of them were open members of the KKK.

    Somehwere down the line minorities became convinced that goverment programs equate with compassion and it’s been downhill since.


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