https://bonginoreport.com/opinion/kendall-qualls-black-families-need-fathers-not-reparations-for-slavery

Leave it to Elon Musk to tweet a message that perfectly encapsulates the truth about reparations for slavery. At a time when the push for reparations is gaining steam nationwide, Musk’s mid-December missive — “It is easy to fool people, but it is almost impossible to convince people that they have been fooled” — has never felt more relevant. 

Over the past 50 years, progressives and self-appointed black leaders have fooled many Americans. They’ve fooled them into believing that the economic, health, and educational disparities plaguing our community are the result of racial injustices, white privilege and systemic racism. For this foolish crowd, the reparations movement — which this week gained traction with the formation of a Reparations Commission in my hometown of St. Paul, Minn. — is yet another effort to obscure the real ailments impacting blacks while siphoning off billions of dollars toward themselves and an never-ending class of government dependent families. 

More than one-half century ago, legendary New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (above in 1966) spoke of a “crisis” of single-parenthood in black communities—a crisis far more dire today.
Bettmann Archive
A key consequence of fatherless black homes is underachievement in education.  In Chicago, for instance, just 14% of black students in the public school system passed basic reading tests.
A key consequence of fatherless black homes is underachievement in education. In Chicago, for instance, just 14% of black students in the public school system passed basic reading tests.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Rather than demand reparations, black Americans should seek legal damages from left-wing institutions — along with their allies in the media and academia — who’ve helped destroy the black family while producing a culture of pervasive victimhood. 

Because despite their very real consequences, the biggest cause of black inequality isn’t slavery or red-lining or Jim Crow — it’s our community’s dependency on social welfare programs and the fatherless families they continue to subsidize. Established as part of Pres. Johnson’s “Great Society,” these programs paved the way for the dissolution of the traditional black family. 

In Baltimore, the situation is better; 37% of black students read at grade level.  Charter and private schools are an answer to this problem, if only they weren't discouraged by powerful (and progressive) teachers' unions.
In Baltimore, the situation is better; 37% of black students read at grade level. Charter and private schools are an answer to this problem, if only they weren’t discouraged by powerful (and progressive) teachers’ unions.
The Washington Post via Getty Images
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors acquired a multi-million dollar portfolio of posh properties during her time leading the social justice organization. BLM supports the reparations movement.
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors acquired a multi-million dollar portfolio of posh properties during her time leading the social justice organization. BLM supports the reparations movement.
Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP

In 1965, the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called the then 24% unmarried birth rate in the black community a “crisis.” Moynihan wrote at the time that “a national effort towards the problems of Negro Americans must be directed towards the question of family structure . . . the object should be to strengthen the Negro family so as to enable it to raise and support its members as do other families.” 

Today, approximately 80% of black families are led by a single parent — almost always a mother without a husband. Enabled by welfare and other “Great Society” handouts, the resulting low academic scores, high incarceration rates and rampant unemployment confirm the massive negative impact progressive policies have had on black America. They’re policies that reparations — yet another form of hand-out — will not fix until fathers once again lead black homes. 

This $6 million home is the splashiest spread among Cullors' collection; despite hosting Cullors' own son's birthday party, BLM leaders insist the estate is solely used for official purposes.
This $6 million home is the splashiest spread among Cullors’ collection; despite hosting Cullors’ own son’s birthday party, BLM leaders insist the estate is solely used for official purposes.
Ringo Chiu for NY Post
A street scene from Harlem in 1970, a neighborhood where the author was partially raised by his single mother decades ago.
A street scene from Harlem in 1970, a neighborhood where the author was partially raised by his single mother decades ago.
Getty Images

Indeed, we can no longer ignore the results of generations upon generations of fatherless families. It’s a reality I identify with all too well as the son of a divorced mother who lived in a Harlem public housing in the early 1970s. As a child, I knew the taste of powdered eggs and government cheese; I witnessed the inhumane treatment of women and children at the hands of drug addicts, criminals, and gangs. This is a grim reality, one conveniently denied by old-school progressives and young liberals intoxicated by the quick-fix reparations so easily offer. 

Reparations for slavery will not undo the damage fatherlessness has wrought. If anything, a conditions-free financial payout will only exacerbate this intractable crisis. And, as Moynihan pointed out decades ago, this is a crisis — made worse by a “woke” black leadership lacking in vision and accountability

The author, third from right, with his family; as he sees it, reparations for slavery offer an easy salve for angry, under-educated African-Americans seduced by the specter of government handouts.
The author, third from right, with his family; as he sees it, reparations for slavery offer an easy salve for angry, under-educated African-Americans seduced by the specter of government handouts.
Courtesy of Kendall Qualls

Today, while their leaders are busy acquiring multi-million property portfolios, black youth in urban areas are failing and falling behind. In 2019, for instance, only 14% of black students in Chicago Public Schools were proficient in reading. In Baltimore Public Schools, 37% of black seniors read at grade level. High-performing private and charter schools are a well-known solution to these challenges, but school-choice continues to be restricted by, you guessed it, progressive groups and teachers unions

And so school systems, propelled by left-leaning policies, turn out semi-literate, under-employable, angry young people trapped at the lowest levels of society and unsure whom to blame for putting them there. No wonder reparations sound so tempting. 

But no matter how great these challenges may seem, the way forward is not through reparations. Instead, African-Americans must return to their cultural roots of faith, family, and better education for our children. Regardless of how neat a bow progressives try to tie around it, reparations for slavery cannot undo the generational rot caused by decades of hand-outs and fatherlessness. It will only further tether African-Americans to the culture of dependency that can and must be dismantled. 

Progressives, both black and white, often like to lie to themselves — fathers don’t matter, whites want to keep blacks down, reparations for slavery can fix every black ill. But when it comes to fooling folks, it’s not just Elon Musk dishing out words of wisdom. As Booker T. Washington wrote in his 1901 autobiography: “A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good, just because it’s accepted by a majority.” 

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