I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.
1. Lack of opportunity and safety. There has been a loss of industrial jobs and a failure to control crime in northern cities by liberal mayors for most of the last 40 years. The policies of Coleman Young, John Lindsey, Abe Beame, Ed Koch, David Dinkins, Dennis Kucinich, Marion Barry and others hurt blacks now and forever.
2. Breakdown of the family. Until recently, welfare was a constitutional right (Goldberg v. Kelly) that makes government dependency more attractive than husbands. Illegitimacy increased from 23.6% in 1963 to nearly 70% of all black children today. This persistent problem was predicted by the Moynihan and Glazier more than 30 years ago and by FDR’s Secretary of Labor Francis Perkins who insisted that aid not go to unwed mothers. Policy makers and politicians did not listen until 1996. Some still don’t see how welfare reduces the value of black men.
3. Black anti-intellectualism. Accusations of “acting white” in the classroom, as detailed by John McWhorter, undermine education as a vehicle for advancement. Instead, black leaders expend enormous resources to advance affirmative action at a small number of elite universities, unmindful of the pernicious effects it has had on talented young blacks.
4. Failure of urban K-12 schools. Teachers unions and the education establishment have been more interested in pay-raises and grants than student achievement, testing, and competition from Catholic schools. Not to mention the costs of replacing the more effective Basic Instruction with the Self-Esteem pedagogy.
The failure of urban schools is not attributable to a lack of funding. There has been a 300% real increase in per pupil spending since 1970. This increase has been only modestly offset by increases in special need students from 8.3% to 11.8% of the student body — of which the percentage of seriously challenged children actually declined. The limits of throwing money at the problem were seen in Kansas City’s $1.2 billion debacle.
5. High incarceration rate of black men. The Democratic Party is a co-conspirator in the “War on Drugs” to garner suburban votes. Instead it should fight to decriminalize drugs and reduce the jail time served by family members of its most loyal voters.
6. Reduced respect for human life. Black women have nearly 30% of the all abortions, resulting in the death of 350,000 fetuses a year or one every 90 seconds. Beyond the tragic loss of life itself, this much death reduces the civility with which people treat each other.
7. Licensing requirements. Government imposes barriers to labor-intensive entrepreneurial opportunities. (Hair braiding/cosmetology degrees and taxi medallions). Licenses are a de-facto re-creation of Jim Crow laws. They are passed in the name of health and safety but serve to protect, in reality, current cartel providers and union jobs. Moreover, continual increases in the minimum wage make it more attractive to invest in capital equipment than hire unskilled black workers in entry level training positions.
8. Victimolgy. The speeches and ideologies of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and leaders in the reparation movement undermine the initiative of many African Americans. Moreover, there is a lack of honest debate among black leaders because of the fear of being called an “Uncle Tom” for not supporting the grievance agenda.
9. Radical relativism. Black leaders and liberal academics do not criticize even the most obscene behavior of people like Puff Daddy, OJ Simpson, and Dennis Rodman. They fail to see the effects on youth of Hip-Hop culture. Instead they applaud the legitimacy it receives from people like Harvard University Professor Dr. Cornel West. (Larry Summers was right).
10. Excessive race-consciousness. The Left is insincere in acknowledging the advancement in race relations since the early 1960’s. 75% of blacks have joined the middle class. If they lived in an independent country, they would be citizens of the 10th richest nation in the world. Race matters but not very much. Race-consciousness diminishes the importance of addressing the more important issues listed above.
Next Biggest Problem facing African-Americans Today:
11. The lingering effects of slavery and racism in America.