Members of the media, when reporting on issues of the day such as crime and poverty, frequently rely on the work of academics who specialize in those fields. It is often that poverty rates are said to match crime rates, especially in America’s inner cities.
Thomas Sowell, a syndicated columnist, author and economist by training, offers facts about poverty that are at odds with the narrative that is proffered by academics and sympathetic media. In his column, “A Clash of Police Policies,” Sowell offers some statistics that are readily available to academics and anyone else interested in the subject of poverty and crime.
“Homicide rates among black males went down by 18 percent in the 1940s and by 22 percent in the 1950s. It was in the 1960s, when the ideas of Chief Justice [Earl] Warren and others triumphed, that this long decline in homicide rates among black males reversed and skyrocketed by 89 percent, wiping out all the progress of the previous 20 years.”
Crime was falling in the 1930s through the 1950s when black Americans faced far worse poverty that they do today, thus offering evidence at odds with the narrative that poverty breeds crime. The devastating riots in Detroit, Washington, and other major cities in 1967 and further riots in 1968 in the wake of the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. were much more common outside of the Deep South. In 1967, Detroit saw the deadliest rioting yet occurred at a time when the media income for black families in that city was 95 percent of white families. At that time in the Motor City, the black unemployment rate was 3.4 percent and homeownership among black Americans was higher than in other major cities.
While academicians and media trace the breakdown of family life among black Americans to the times of slavery and Jim Crow, they apparently ignore certain facts.
Back in 1950, 72 percent of black men and 81 percent of black women were married. Only 17 percent of black children lived in single-parent households. By contrast, in America today nearly 70 percent of black household are led by a single parent. The U.S. Census recorded that from 1890 to 1950, black labor force participation rates actually exceeded those of whites. During the late 1940s, after the Second World War, the unemployment rate for black Americans aged 16-17 was less than that for their white counterparts.
In 1938, the Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences recorded that 11 percent of black children and 3 percent of white children that year were born to unmarried women. Also, the number of teenage pregnancies had been decreasing before 1960. Before that year, both poverty and dependency among black Americans were declining, and black income was rising in both absolute and relative terms to white income. As of 1965, 75 percent of black children were born to married women. However, in America today, over 73 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers. These changes, of course, occurred long after slavery was extinguished.
While academicians and bureaucrats proclaim that school integration is necessary condition for black children to advance in education, public charter schools such as the Success Academy Charter Schools and the Knowledge is Power Program show success for black students without the addition of white students. Sowell said that only 39 percent of students in New York public schools were found to be “proficient” in math. However, 100 percent of the students at the Crown Heights Success Academy scored at that level in math. Black and Latino students constitute 90 percent of the students in the Crown Heights Success Academy. More than 43,000 families are on waiting lists to get their children into charter schools.
Teachers unions and the NAACP are opposed to any alternative to public education and contribute to politicians who place restrictions on charter schools. For example, the NAACP voted at its 2016 national convention to support “a moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charter schools.” Many members of the NAACP work in public education. But public educators do want alternatives to public education for their own children.
In Washington and Baltimore, 25 percent of public school teachers send their children to private schools. In Philadelphia, 44 percent of teachers send their children to private schools. Elsewhere, the percentages are similar: Chicago, 39 percent, Cincinnati, 41 percent; and Rochester NY, 38 percent.