Father’s Day is a time to appreciate the role fathers play in training the next generation, and then-presidential candidate Barack Obama used his national platform to do so in a memorable speech 13 years ago.
“Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important,” Obama said. “And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation.”
In the speech, Obama also addressed poverty, crime, incarceration, and poor educational achievement in the black community — and looked to the home for both the root cause of those issues as well as the solution.
He presented statistics that children who grow up without a father are “five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of school, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.” Obama challenged black men to live up to the responsibilities of fatherhood and demonstrate examples of excellence and hard work within an intact family unit.
But just a few years after Obama’s speech, the predominant narrative is that pushed by the proudly Marxist Black Lives Matter organization with its shameless antipathy towards the traditional family and especially fathers.
“We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement,” a now-removed page on the Black Lives Matter website said, “by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.” It’s painfully obvious that any mention of fathers is missing.
The family unit — father included — is the basic building block of society, providing the primary method for teaching children moral values, self-control, and responsible adult behavior. It’s also the long-term solution to preventing crime far more effectively than BLM’s plan to abolish the police.
To solve the crises of crime, incarceration, poverty, and education, we must rebuild the “rock of the family” with strong fathers, as Obama called for. America needs a rebirth of family values and responsible fatherhood.
But instead, Black Lives Matter minimizes black fathers. Rather than look to families for social change, BLM calls for the murder of police officers, justifies looting as slavery reparations, and is linked with most of the more than 600 riots that caused an estimated $2 billion in property damage last year. Its goals and those of its affiliate organizations include abolishing the police and prisons, ending capitalism, and disrupting the Western nuclear family.
The destructive influence of Black Lives Matter has made things worse, not better. Violent crime has skyrocketed in cities implementing BLM’s “defund the police” agenda and where police departments have retreated before rioting mobs. In 2020, the number of black homicide victims increased by more than 1,100.
The real violence epidemic in black communities is not systemic police racism — as BLM would have you believe — but crime. In 2018, police shot and killed 996 people, of whom 209 were black. The same year, there were 14,123 murders in the United States. Over half, or 7,407, of those were black victims. Of single-victim, single-offender situations, at least 89 percent of black victims were killed by black assailants.
In 2020, 15 unarmed people killed by police were black and 21 were white. Those 15 deaths of unarmed black people by police equal only 0.17 percent of the estimated 8,600 deaths of black people by homicide in the same year. Police actually prevent the deaths of black Americans — the reason 81 percent of black Americans want the same number or more police in their communities.
Black Americans, particularly young men, commit violent crime at a rate much higher than their proportion of the population. The black population of the United States is 13 percent, but black offenders committed 52 percent of all homicides between 1980 and 2008.
Obama identified the right source, of both the problem and the solution. Black communities not only have some of the highest rates of violent crime, they also have the highest rate of children born to unmarried mothers — 69 percent overall, and higher in many inner-city neighborhoods.
The crisis of fatherless families is not unique to the black community. The out-of-wedlock birth rate is 52 percent among Hispanic Americans. At 28 percent, the illegitimacy rate among white Americans is higher than what Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed among black families in 1965 when he predicted catastrophic social consequences.
As Obama noted, the effects of fatherlessness on children is devastating. Eighty-five percent of youth inmates, 71 percent of all high school dropouts, and 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children did not have a father at home. If we truly believe black lives matter, we must separate myth from reality and speak the truth about why so many are being lost.