Black Families Hurt by Magazine's War on Conservatives
I do not have high hopes, given the way Ebony treats black non-liberals, that you will review my new book, "Dear Father, Dear Son: Two Lives, Eight Hours." It is, in the end, about the importance of fathers — and the damage done to a child who grows up without one.
Why do I know you will ignore my book despite its examination of the most important issue facing "black America"? Your magazine treats black conservatives as if they were the enemy, that they bring nothing valid to the discussion.
Ebony magazine, a monthly staple of American black life since 1945, publishes an annual list of the 100-plus (now 150) "Most Influential Blacks in America." Why not rename it the "Most Influential Liberal Blacks in America"?
Each year, Ebony leaves out conservative, heavyweight black intellectuals like Walter Williams, a distinguished professor of economics and former department chairman at George Mason University. In addition to his 10 books on economics and race relations, Williams writes a popular weekly syndicated column carried in about 200 papers. If another black person ran the econ department at any other major, non-historically-black college or university, I don't know whom that would be! Yet you ignore Williams — because you think his politics hurt black people.
What if they don't?
Williams, for example, is a leading critic of the minimum wage, a policy that he and many economists argue increases unemployment. The late Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize economics winner, called minimum wage law "one of the most, if not the most, anti-black law on the statute books." Even if Ebony disagrees, 90 percent of all economists believe minimum wage laws increase unemployment among those with lower skills — the very people the laws purport to help.
At 14 percent black unemployment, versus 7.8 percent nationwide and 6.9 percent for whites, Williams calls this an outrage and blames left-wing policies. Even Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, admitted: "As the chair of the Black Caucus, I've got to tell you, we are always hesitant to criticize the President. With 14 percent (black) unemployment, if we had a white president, we'd be marching around the White House. ... The President knows we are going to act in deference to him in a way we wouldn't to someone white."
Each year, Ebony leaves out Thomas Sowell of Stanford's Hoover Institution. He has only written some 40 books about economics, politics and race relations.
Sowell writes that government anti-poverty programs cause more poverty while inducing a self-defeating dependency on government. "Liberals," he recently wrote, "try to show their concern for the poor by raising the level of minimum wage laws. Yet they show no interest in hard evidence that minimum wage laws create disastrous levels of unemployment among young blacks in this country, as such laws created high unemployment rates among young people in general in European countries.
"The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals' expansion of the welfare state. Most black children grew up in homes with two parents during all that time, but most grow up with only one parent today."
Sportscaster Bob Costas, in commenting on the murder-suicide of a black NFL player, called it a case of the "gun culture." No, it's the "fatherless culture." That player, Jovan Belcher, like so many blacks, was raised without a father.
A disproportionate amount of crime comes from homes with an AWOL dad. Today, 72 percent of blacks, 53 percent of Hispanic and 36 percent of whites are born out of wedlock. Look at the murder stats from New York City, with its population of 44 percent whites, 25 percent blacks and 29 percent Hispanics. Yet in 2011, blacks and Hispanics accounted for 91 percent of the homicide suspects. Unless we are prepared to say that blacks and Hispanics are genetically predisposed to commit crime, it is only sensible to ask what the devil is going on here!
And each year, Ebony leaves out Clarence Thomas, who is one of only nine sitting Supreme Court justices. You leave him out, as you do Williams and Sowell, because you don't like their politics.
How dare you discount these men? Liberal policies of the last 50 years bear no responsibility for causing the nation's black out-of-wedlock birth rate to go from 25 percent in 1965 to 72 percent today? However you feel about "black conservatives," their viewpoint deserves airing.
Ebony does the black community a disservice by ignoring it.
I once interviewed Kweisi Mfume, then the head of the NAACP. I asked this question: "As between the presence of white racism and the absence of blacks fathers, which poses the bigger threat to the black community?" Without hesitation, Mfume said, "The absence of black fathers."
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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