Ken Blackwell On the Cruel and Volatile Calculus That Is Boys Without Dads

Ken Blackwell
Ken Blackwell

The rioting in Baltimore is disturbing to all Americans, as the unresolved cause of Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody should be, as well.

It is right that political and religious leaders, community groups, business organizations, and law enforcement officials are commenting about all the causes and effects of the riots. But one thing seems missing from the discussion, a factor whose omission is unacceptable. It’s called fatherhood.

The rioting is inexcusable but should not be wholly surprising. It is likely that the great majority of it was been done by young black men – young black men without fathers.

Fatherhood is in crisis all across the country. In 2011, Pew Research evaluated data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “National Survey of Family Growth” and found that “more than one-in-four fathers with children 18 or younger now live apart from their children —with 11 percent living apart from some of their children and 16 percent living apart from all of their children.”

Yet among black families, the data are even more troubling. Here are some sobering statistics:

  • Nationwide, only 17 percent of African-American children reach 17 in a family with their married biological parents. In Maryland, only 21 percent of black teenagers [] reach age 17 in a family with both their biological parents married
  • The 2012 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau [], found that “more than 19 million children across the country – 26 percent — are living without a father in the home. In Baltimore, among African-American children, the rate is 69 percent.”
  • And “in 2013,” according to Child Trends [], “72 percent of all births to black women … occurred outside of marriage.”

Compounding all of this is an analysis by the CDC that, as reported by The Atlantic [], “An African-American woman is almost five times likelier to have an abortion than a white woman … (B)lack women still have higher rates of abortion even when controlling for income, according to a 2008 report by the Guttmacher Institute. At almost every income level, African-Americans have higher unintended pregnancy and abortion rates than whites or Hispanics.”

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SOURCE: The Christian Post – Ken Blackwell, Rob Schwarzwalder

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