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Minorities and Crime

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It's not news at this late date that minorities, and blacks in particular, commit a disproportionate number of crimes (which is why, as Kent has pointed out, they represent a disproportionate share of the prison population).

It is fashionable among those on the Left to ascribe this fact to "white supremacy" and bigotry.  And while no serious person believes that racism has disappeared from the United States, the facts do not support the Left's favored theory.  Instead, the answer is set out in blunt terms by the generally liberal, but independently-minded black columnist, Colbert I. King, in today's Washington Post piece.  As Mr. King notes:

Here we are, another Black History Month: time to lionize great black men and women of the past. Twenty-eight days to praise the first African American to do this and the first African American who did that. Another month of looking back with pride - as we ignore the calamity in our midst.

When Black History Month was celebrated in 1950, according to State University of New York research, 77.7 percent of black families had two parents. As of January 2010, according to the Census Bureau, the share of two-parent families among African Americans had fallen to 38 percent.

We know that children, particularly young male African Americans, benefit from parental marriage and from having a father in the home. Today, the majority of black children are born to single, unmarried mothers.

As Mr. King observes, when fathers are absent from the home, what happens is that teenage  girls get babies and teenage boys get guns (and, I might add, drugs).  You don't have to be a genius to figure out what happens next.
In my view, the disintegration of black family life is a scandal, a tragedy and an enormous civic danger.  It's time for our cultural elites to say so out loud  --  and then do something about it.

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This is the most important social issue of our time and has implications beyond criminology to the seemingly intractable problem of poverty as well. An expert in domestic policy at the University of Maryland has this prescription for avoiding poverty:

finish high school;

have no children until you are 20 years of age; and

be married before you have your first child.

Compliance with the above results in poverty levels in the single figures and would go a long way to reducing minorities over-representation in prison.

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