Unless you want to argue that racial discrimination was less virulent in decades past, it’s impossible to ascribe social pathologies among blacks to the ever-popular “legacy of discrimination and racism.” From Walter E. Williams at lewrockwell.com:
There is discrimination of all sorts, and that includes racial discrimination. Thus, it’s somewhat foolhardy to debate the existence of racial discrimination yesteryear or today. From a policy point of view, a far more useful question to ask is: How much of the plight of many blacks can be explained by current racial discrimination? Let’s examine some of today’s most devastating problems of many black people with an eye toward addressing discrimination of the past and present.
At the root of most of the problems black people face is the breakdown of the family structure. Slightly over 70% of black children are raised in female-headed households. According to statistics about fatherless homes, 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes; 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father figure; 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes; 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes; and 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions have no father. Furthermore, fatherless boys and girls are twice as likely to drop out of high school and twice as likely to end up in jail.
One might say, “Williams, one cannot ignore the legacy of slavery and the gross racism and denial of civil rights in yesteryear!” Let’s look at whether black fatherless homes are a result of a “legacy of slavery” and racial discrimination. In the late 1800s, depending on the city, 70% to 80% of black households were two-parent. Dr. Thomas Sowell has argued, “The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.”