IT TOOK TOO LONG TO GET A HERMAN CAIN
By Dennis T. Avery
I see a far different vision: I see a strong black family with a hard-working chauffeur father who also worked a night job, and an equally strong mother, the pair of whom collaborated in pulling their son up toward his fullest potential in a free society. What grieves me most deeply is that it’s taking so long for the promise of the black family in America to be fulfilled.
I blame the welfare system that began many decades ago for shattering the strong black families that existed at the end of the Depression. The free black families had built strong communities based on pride in even the low-level work they were allowed to do, and the collective strength of their closely-knit society.
In the 1960s, rather than encourage blacks to become newly-eligible union plumbers or members of the United Auto Workers, we put them on welfare. We wanted to “help” the poor blacks without letting them get the “good” jobs, so we started writing checks. Then the numbers on the checks started to reach intimidating totals, as more and more of the families succumbed to the lure of the free money and the degradation that accompanies it.
Then we decided that any black family that had a father couldn’t get the welfare. The “man in the house” rule was adopted — and the loud voice of the free money persuaded large numbers of black mothers to reject the stable two-parent family model. This has — correctly — been the lament of Bill Cosby for decades, and it has caused his alienation from his own community.
In 1996, under Clinton and Newt Gingrich, the Welfare Reform Act made a dramatic start in weaning the people from welfare and giving them a chance to rise from poverty. Before the reform, only 10 percent of the recipients were working. That number had risen to 32 percent by 2009. But we still have a long way to go to break the chain of dependency.
Kids are being raised by single women and grandmothers who lack the parenting power of a father/mother pair. They certainly lack the physical strength to cope with big and aggressive teen boys who lack any respect for law or morals. This is the secret that the black activist “leaders’ dare not voice to their own people. Instead they blame the number of black kids in prison on “racial bias,” rather than demonstrated behavior.
Too often kids who make good grades and have dreams of a productive future are ridiculed for “acting white.” And this has been repeatedly thrown at Herman Cain, as he climbs the power ladder. I heard a black commentator on Fox News loudly denouncing him as an “Oreo.”
How much sooner would a Herman Cain have come onto our biggest stage, if the black families had not been shattered by the welfare checks? How many promising black kids would have emerged how many years sooner, if they had been striving to rise? How much more approving support would the black community have offered to the kids who were succeeding in American society?
Thank God for Herman Cain.
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Dennis T. Avery is an environmental economist for the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., as well as Director of the
Institute's Center for Global Food Issues (CGFI) and Editor of Global Food Quarterly, the newsletter of the CGFI.
Formerly, he was a senior policy analyst for the United States Department of State, where he won the National Intelligence
Medal of Achievement. He is co-author, with atmospheric physicist Fred Singer, of the book,Unstoppable Global
Warming: Every 1500 Years (Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006). Avery's book, Saving
the Planet With Pesticides and Plastic: The Environmental Triumph of High-Yield Farming (Washington, D.C.: Hudson
Institute, 1995 and 2000), continues to be popular as a readable overview of realistic agriculture for the future and for today.
Readers may write Avery at Post Office Box 202, Churchville, Virginia, 24421. Email: email@example.com
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