“The undeniable truth is that neither slavery nor Jim Crow nor the harshest racism has decimated the Black family the way the welfare state has,” argues Walter Williams, a Professor of Economics at George Mason University.
“Often overlooked or ignored is the fact that, as a group, Black Americans have made the greatest gains, over some of the highest hurdles, and in a shorter span of time than any other racial group in history,” explains Williams in a column he wrote for The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Williams goes on to cite famous Black individuals like General Colin Powell, Robert F. Smith, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, and Barack Obama. “When the Civil War ended, neither a slave nor a slave owner would have believed such progress would be possible in less than a century and a half – if ever.”
The civil rights struggle is finished, argues Williams, and the issue at hand now is how the gains enjoyed by successful Black Americans can be “extended to about one-quarter of the Black population for whom they have proven elusive.”
These people are not being held back by racial discrimination, continues Williams, but by policies that encourage irresponsibility. “Chief among these policies is the welfare state that has fostered a 75% rate of out-of-wedlock births and decimated the Black family that had survived Jim Crow and racism.”
The poverty rate among married-couple Black families has been in the single digits for more than 20 years, notes Williams, but the poverty rate among Black families led by a single mother is 37%.
“Black people can be thankful that double standard and public and private policies rewarding inferiority and irresponsibility were not a part of the 1920s, ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s,” writes Williams. “If there were, then there would not have been the kind of intellectual excellence and spiritual courage that created the world’s most successful civil rights movement.”
“Self-destructive behavior that has become acceptable, particularly that in predominantly Black schools, is nothing less than a gross betrayal of a struggle, paid with blood, sweat, and tears by previous generations, to make possible today’s educational opportunities that are being routinely squandered,” argues Williams.
“Government should do its job of protecting constitutional rights,” he continues. “After that, Black people should be simply left alone as opposed to being smothered by the paternalism inspired by white guilt.”
Williams ends his column by urging readers to look up his “Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon,” a proposal that seeks to improve race relations in America by freeing individuals of European ancestry from the guilt they feel towards Black people.