Brothers and sisters, the gender warfare between Black men and women must cease. This war is harming each of us including our children. The question after any argument has gone on for too long is, how did this begin, and who started it? The reality is that many disputes begin naturally but escalate via instigation, and the culprit in this war between Black men and women has been the United States government from the beginning.
Starting with the dehumanizing of male slaves to the disenfranchisement of the Black businessman, to today's escalation of the Black woman in corporate America and the incarceration of the Black male, personal battles take a back seat to the latter barriers. In other words, it is not that Black men and women hate each other, but we have been pitted against one another.
Not to discount the individual responsibilities of Black fathers and husbands, or Black mothers and wives, because all people fall short of perfection; Black men are not innocent, they have abandoned their families to start others, and they have played the field and sowed their oats one too many times. Neither are Black women innocent; they have looked beyond the boundaries of the Black front yard and into the white yard.
This study is not about personal habits and desires but about how to bind to one another despite the barriers against us. Let us look at how the Black male-female relationship has been affected by these barriers and come up with a solution to work pass them. These barriers include the welfare system and the child support system, and how these two bureaucracies have bred a continued cycle of poverty among Black men, women, and children.
The Welfare System
The first barrier as pertaining to government instigation is the welfare system. After the New Deal, Blacks latched on to welfare as pathological leaches. This caused the family to fall apart because both the Black man and woman viewed this system as a crutch and possibly a reason to rely less on the other. It was another source of income used illegally for other bad habits and vices also.
Welfare checks, food stamps, and medical insurance were given to Black females like crazy which lowered the standard of living among many of them. Many became dependant and started taking advantage of the system by having more children to increase the benefits. Black men were conspiring with many women and gave them children just for that purpose. However, more Blacks began to use the system as a crutch, which lessened their reasons for taking full responsibility for their children.
As the cycle grew, the more poverty among each group rose. More women relied on welfare, more fathers dodged their responsibilities, and more children became victims of poverty. Crime became more of a lifestyle in poverty-stricken areas and arrest and prison stats grew, especially among Black males. And the rates continue to rise to this day.
The increase of welfare cases and child poverty in the early 90s forced the government to enact Welfare Reform. It was only after they realized that welfare was a destructive system did they do this, however, and only after millions of Black families landed in poverty because of the impact of welfare.
Welfare Reform and Black Child Poverty
"There are 11.7 million Black children in poverty to date; however, the decline in poverty since welfare reform has been particularly dramatic among black children. For a quarter-century prior to welfare reform, there was little change in black child poverty. Black child poverty was actually higher in 1995 (41.5 percent) than in 1971 (40.4 percent).
With the enactment of welfare reform in 1996, black child poverty plummeted at an unprecedented rate, falling by more than a quarter to 30.2 percent in 2001. Over a six-year period after welfare reform, 1.2 million black children were lifted out of poverty. In 2001, despite the recession, the poverty rate for black children was at the lowest point in national history."
The Rise of the Single Black Female
The government became an advocate for Black females and children in poverty. It became imperative that these women get off welfare and into the workforce. Thus, the focused shifted from dependency on welfare to the dependency on self. During this time, it would have been more positive to implement Black family programs that could have strengthened the family structure.
Community groups, churches, and Black leaders were too distracted with political prestige to realize that the Black family structure was in pieces. Instead of promoting the Black family, society promoted independence of the woman. This, of course, left the Black man out of the picture and to the buzzards of the air, to rot away in prison cells and in the world of drugs being pumped into Black communities. In other words, provisions were made for Black women via government assistance but none was made for Black men to recover from the impact of welfare.
"Two and a half million nonresident fathers have family incomes below the poverty line and do not pay child support. These fathers generally face the same employment barriers that poor custodial mothers face. Few programs are available to provide these fathers with employment-related services, although such services are an integral part of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) programs that serve poor custodial mothers."
Child Support a Symptom of Black Poverty
Because more Black women and children were found in poverty, the government decided to begin enforcing the child support laws on the books. This led to an all-out manhunt for Black men of whom women and children were among the poor. The incarceration rates skyrocketed during the late 80s early nineties because of arrest of Black men who owed back child support.
The idea was to get as much money from these "deadbeat dads" as possible so they can foot the bill for these illegitimate children in poverty. Black women were once again an ally of the Federal Government in this battle. They collected on back child support as well as from the TANF programs: food stamps, employment assistance, welfare checks and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). In the meantime, Black men were entering the prison system twice as fast.
"Since the enactment of welfare reform and tightened child support collection, the drop in child poverty among children in single-mother families has been dramatic. Poverty was only slightly lower in 1995 (50.3 percent) than it had been in 1971 (53.1 percent). The poverty rate for children of single mothers fell at a dramatic rate, from 50.3 percent in 1995 to 39.3 percent in 2001. In 2001, despite the recession, the poverty rate for children in single-mother families was at the lowest point in U.S. history."
However, the government has determined another flaw in their efforts to assist Black women. They are finding that Black men who owe child support and who are recently released from the prison system are in fact, becoming a poverty statistic. People ask many times, how can a man support his child when he is behind bars? This question always fell on the deafened ears of intolerance during all the reforming.
Many lawmakers became insensitive to the plight of Black men and concerned themselves fully with only the Black woman and child. However, the chickens have come home to roost. The poverty rates of Black men are alarming.
"Further efforts to increase the number of poor children receiving child support should consider the limited potential of their noncustodial parents to pay support. There are approximately 2.5 million noncustodial fathers who are poor and do not pay child support. These fathers face many of the same barriers to work as poor mothers who do not receive child support.
In particular, 43 percent of these fathers have not completed high school, the same percentage figure among poor custodial mothers who do not receive child support. Nearly 40 percent of these fathers report a health problem and 62 percent of them do not have health insurance. About one third of them have not held a job for more than three years. Among those who work, their average annual earnings are only about $5,000. These employment barriers and low earnings make it difficult for fathers to meet their own basic needs as well as provide for their non-custodial children.
One employment barrier that disproportionately affects poor noncustodial fathers is incarceration and having a criminal record. Nearly 30 percent of poor noncustodial fathers who do not pay child support are institutionalized. Most of these fathers are in prison. Once these fathers leave institutional life, their work prospects will not improve that much. Their criminal record and interrupted labor force participation make these men unattractive to prospective employers."
Where Do We Go from Here?
There is yet a solution for the Black male and there will probably not be any time soon, not from a government perspective. The government would just as well do away with the Black man altogether anyway. The only solution must come from within the Black community itself. This is where Black men and women must reconcile their differences.
We must acknowledge the problem at hand and deal with it justly without animosity. Our children and their futures are at stake. We cannot afford to allow this continued system of bureaucratic destruction tear apart the Black family. Though individual responsibility is always a solution, the problem is greater than any one person is. This government structure has interfered with the Black family for years.
Black woman must see that the system that appears to assist and favor them is the same one that has succeeded in helping to destroy their lives. This system is slowly annihilating the Black man, and will eventually become a hindrance in the Black woman's own son or daughter's lives. The solution is to renounce these systems and focus more on the family structure.
What is so ironic is that government workers - of whom Blacks make up a significant population - operate from within these systems. In so many ways, we have been trained to destroy our own selves and make money doing it. Furthermore, the money we make is not going toward the reestablishing of the Black community and family, but toward lining the pockets of capitalist corporations through conspicuous consumption.
Now that the government has discovered that more Black men are in poverty and thus cannot pay child support, get decent jobs because of prison records, or qualify for any government assistance as women do, will they admit to their shortsightedness and biasness toward Black men? Or will they forever turn a deaf ear?
We ask the Black woman to ponder this study and become proactive in the fight to regain their own dignity as well as the dignity and self-esteem of Black children and men. Since the Black woman has become the apple of the government's eye and not the brunt of their hostility, it is the Black woman who can do most to make change. Anything personal can and will be rectified naturally based on the simple laws of gratitude.
Source from: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Welfare/BG1595.cfm
© Oct 2016 (Revised)
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