Conservatives argue that the liberal social programs of the 1960s destroyed the Black family as the notion of the Black man as the patriarch of his family took a beating.
In just a few generations, an intact Black family became so hard to recognize that Blacks ridiculed the 1980s family sitcom “The Cosby Show” as unrealistic
Today, however, we have flesh-and-blood proof of the existence and the benefits that come from a strong Black family — America’s first Black president.
President Obama can help Black Americans succeed by asking them to follow his example when it comes to fatherhood and family. Obama should embark on a national campaign to bring fathers back into their homes. A family with two working parents, with the father in the home, is less likely to live in poverty. Thus far, however, President Obama has not answered this call.
Unless our families can be saved and we can get back on track, Black America is doomed to recycle mistakes. But is that the plan? It sometimes seems this destruction is intentional rather than a byproduct of misguided policies. After all, if the family remains in a constant state of dissolution, there will never be a change of opinion with regard to the size of government, since Blacks form a loyal voting bloc.
There’s also a historical precedent. Family devastation was one of the most damning aspects of slave-owning society. A constant pain to the slave was not having “relations.” This broken human link weakened the resolve of slaves to fight for freedom, giving slave masters greater power.
Today our very own government plays the role of master. The advent of public housing and public assistance programs landed our community in peril. As the government replaced fathers with welfare checks and food stamps, out-of-wedlock births in the U.S. went from 5percent in 1960 to 38.5 percent as of 2005 among the entire population. For the Black community, the statistics are worse — up 70 percent today.
It gets worse as government seeks to expand its grip on society and render the family obsolete and insignificant in every racial, social and economic demographic. Every recent legislative arrow seems aimed at the family: same-sex marriage legislation, publicly funded abortion and health care reform. Even climate change is about having Americans identify with a global family rather than their God-given one.
Unfortunately, despite all this interest in defining itself as America’s overarching head-of-household, government is a lazy parent. Government-as-parent doesn’t care for the health of the soul of its children. It craves only submission, homogenous obedience and dependency.
Family structure is vital to an individual’s prosperity and success. Government will have people believe that those 70 percent of Black children born out of wedlock are safe as long as there are enough food stamps, public schools and universal health care to go around. But some of us know better.
We know that a government and a president is no substitute for one’s very own father, mother, sister and brother — united as a family under God’s guiding hand.
History confirms that blood is thicker than water. The first order of business in destroying a people or insuring their rapid decline and submission to the government is to break down the family.
Survivors of the Great Depression survived not because of the New Deal as much as their reliance on family. Immigrants survived by coming over in families or by forming communities in which family was the nucleus. The first order of business for a slave or immigrant gained stability or freedom was to find or send for family. The strength and love of family dilutes the power of failure and setback.
Our government master knows that without family, the individual motivation is weakened. The God-given father is a protection against falling prey to the master. In our God-given fathers rest our dignity, tradition of heritage and the glorification of our heavenly one. The government-as-master has neither the desire nor the capacity to support this. In fact, it is in master’s best interest to abate these traditions of generational influence on the individual self.
Our first family is a beautiful example of a strong Black family. Don’t the 70 percent of Black children deserve the same chance as the Obama’s own children?
All children require this fertile place, their father’s, to dwell.
Lisa Fritsch is a member of the national advisory council for the Project 21 Black leadership network and a writer and radio talk show host in Austin, Texas. Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org. This New Visions commentary was republished with permission from The National Center for Public Policy Research.