You have suffered a grave, systemic, institutionalized injustice.
But it’s not what you think it is.
It’s not The Man and it’s not racism. I do not deny the existence of racism but the color of your skin is not at the heart of this matter. The problem is more powerful and profoundly wounding to your souls.
You are suffering the outcome of the disappearance of committed fathers in your community. Seven out of ten, SEVENTY PERCENT, of you didn’t have a dad throwing the football around in the back yard with you or helping with your homework. You never had the firm heart of discipline, which can only come from a father, when you clocked your brother for taking your toy. Examples of grown men taking responsibility for themselves and their families were rare for you. You were never shown how to be strong, not violent, when facing the inevitable struggles in this life.
I am heartsick and profoundly sad for your loss because you deserved, and you needed, so much better.
So, understandably, you are pissed. There is a thriving, deep-seated rage inside of you that can get out of control. I might not know you personally, but I have met you, just with a different name and face. I have counseled and comforted children who were discarded by their fathers. I struggle to put into words the depth of longing, the subconscious rejection that kids internalize when they are abandoned by the man who is supposed to love them most.
You are angry about inequality. But government is not responsible for your poor living conditions- the breakdown of the family is. On average, the annual income for married household with children is $70,000. For single-parent households it’s less than half that. On average it’s an impoverished, government subsidized, $30,000. By my calculations the government’s provision is woefully inadequate when compared to a father’s presence and role fulfillment in the family.
You cry out for justice. But it’s not the police who are responsible for the disproportionately high population of blacks in prison. It’s that children who grow up without fathers are more likely to commit violent crime. Fathers teach children different lessons than mothers do and fathers do a better job of teaching children to police themselves. They just do. So, when that father fails or is flat-out absent, the first time a young man learns about boundaries might be when it involves actual police and serious, life-altering consequences.
See, when you were born, your mom was right there and she knew that you were something precious. But chances are, your father was absent because they were unmarried. Marriage is the glue that attaches fathers to their children. And the black community, more than any other population in this country, has been disproportionally hit by our crumbling marriage culture. The cultural elites are more able to ride out the waves of family breakdown. That tends not to be the case for your average working family.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s generation was denied opportunities in employment and education and the legal system because of their race. However, Dr. King’s generation was blessed to come from mostly in-tact homes. Strong and proud black mothers and fathers raised their children together. Now fifty years later, those macro-systems of educational and governmental injustice have been rectified and you have all the freedoms that Dr. King dreamed you would have.
It’s not enough though, is it?
Because the most important of all institutions has been denied you- the institution of marriage. That which provides you with stability, nurture, discipline, and the involvement of your mother and father from birth to adulthood. You have been barred from participating in that micro-system which is critical to child development: the nuclear family. Without it a child of any race will struggle to make sense of the world.
Desperate to blame someone? Don’t blame “the system.”
- Blame your father who should have loved you and your mother enough to stick around.
- Blame those who teach and promote sex-without-consequences.
- Blame the sexual revolution which divorced commitment from sex.
- Blame any form of feminism that suggests men are unnecessary or disposable.
I am not a marriage advocate because I pine for the good old days. I’m a marriage advocate because you, YOU, Ferguson protestor, deserved better. Every kid deserves more than an exhausted mom struggling to do a two-person job alone. I am a marriage advocate because I HATE that black men are over represented in the prison population. I am a marriage advocate because I don’t want you living in poverty. I am a marriage advocate because I want you to succeed in life. I am a marriage advocate because I want our communities, no matter their physical appearance, to thrive. Marriage- fathers and mother raising their children together- is our best chance at making that happen.
Dear Ferguson Protestor.
Perhaps you have continued the cycle and fathered children out of wedlock. Instead of destroying things, consider the lives you are destroying by being absent.
You have the ability to repair the most broken institution of them all.