Thursday, March 20, 2008

Could this be the end of the black family?

“The black family has crumbled more in the last 30 years than it did in the entire 14 decades since slavery.”

Dr. Julian Hare, Dir. - San Francisco Black Think Tank
EBONY, Nov. 2003, p. 193

After hearing Pastor Wright's words, his spew of hate and blame, I wanted to see for myself what has happened to the black family in America. What I found is shocking, or at least it should be. The statistics of what has happened since 1964 till today are very telling of how the "Black Value System" Pastor Wright and his church espouse to has denigrated the black family. There is only one place the pastor needs to look for the reasons of the fall of the black family in the U.S., he should look in the mirror at his hate filled face. Here are some of the stats that so saddened me:

  • In 1963, the year of MLK's "I have a Dream" speech, 70% of black households were headed by two parent, married couples. Today, 40 years later after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, married couples head only 46% of black households.

  • Married black women declined from 62% to 31 % between 1950 and 2002

  • 70% of all black children are born out of wedlock

  • 85% of black children do not live with their fathers
(see this article with the statistics used in this entry: )

I could go on but you get my point, this was not the case for the black family before 1964. What has happened? What has created such a difference in the attitudes of the black community concerning the raising of their children, the keeping of their wedding vows, the escalating violence among the youth. And all this against these statistics that are also quite surprising viewing the state of the family:
  • 70% of blacks do not live below the poverty line

  • 61% of middle-class blacks own stocks

  • Black households with earnings over $100,000 have increase over 10 fold since 1960

  • The number of blacks with high school or college diplomas has tripled since 1960

  • several are named as wealthiest in the nation

  • the front runner for the Democratic Party nomination is a black man
And yet, with all the advances, all the achievements, the black family is breaking down, and they are not reaching their full potential, as persons, as a people, as families or as a community. Read this from a paper titled "A Portrait of the Black Family (descent into destruction) 2007 edition:

Black politicians and pastors, intent on currying favor with constituencies, have consistently attributed nearly every statistical difference portraying African-Americans in a negative light as due to open or systemic discrimination. But honest observers who have no power, perks or position on the line are increasingly saying, “The explanation lies elsewhere.” As a Black research associate for the Acton Institute stated in Devaluing the Black Family, “We should be asking searching questions about churches and what they are teaching....”

And that brings us back to Pastor Wright, as he spouts off with his hate and "victimism" talk. He is the reason, and ones like him, that the black family can not get past the hurt and resentment of their history, our American history. So many people have taken Rev. King's words to heart, I know I try to live them in my walk, trying to look past the packaging, and seeing the character within. And I know that if these "Pastor Wright" thinking leaders would stop putting that big chip on the shoulders of their congregations and show them that moving on, taking responsibility for their lives and actions now, is the only way they will have the power they seek, and the black family and community can come back from the brink and start anew.

Going down a different path is what's needed, a positive hand up to the black family and there are some people, leaders, that are making a difference.

What is being done by the DreamCenter ministries is what needs to happen all across this land. Paul Benjamin, Sr., is the president of the local outreach of this program, started in L.A. California. He has planted his seeds of hope in the heart of Sanford, FL. Sanford lies in the middle of the wealthiest county in Florida. But yet 68% of the crime in that county occurs in 11 small neighborhoods with in the town of Sanford.

You can see the good works here: . Under Paul's leadership CFDC is bringing together all of the agencies, social programs and services that will make a difference in this county, and hopefully in the state. The philosophy of "Doing together what we CANNOT do alone" is what this place is all about. The success stories are heartening and show what a positive, helping hand UP can do for a person's self esteem and self worth. CFDC provides a path to hope for so many that have none. Pastor Wright puts out his hand and holds the people down, telling them they have no control over what is happening, it's not them, it's White America and they are victims and should act as such. Paul puts out his hand, lifts up and tells them you don't have to be a victim any more, take control of your life, see the value that God sees in you and start living. If only those mega-churches like Pastor Wright's would lift the people up like that, we may have already had a person with African heritage as president long ago, and it wouldn't have been such a big deal.

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