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Holistic Approach

 

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For decades policy makers, social scientists, and various authors have dissected the black family into three distinct parts. The poor underprivileged children, the strong, but struggling single mothers, and the irresponsible and lazy black fathers. By allowing the family to be divided in this way we have aided in the disintegration of the black family. Instead of using the Moynihan report to craft legislation and policy that reinforced marriage, supported and strengthened the family unit legislation and future policy separated the family by providing support to the various units irrespective of each other. In an effort to appease the "blame the victim" segment of black policy makers the Johnson administration removed the language of personal responsibility from poverty legislation and it remained absent for thirty years

What should be obvious to all is that what we have been doing the last few decades has not worked. Instead of preparing our young people for the opportunities that were created by the civil rights struggles of the past these policies have instead created a seemingly permanent underclass. Instead of building on the middle-class gains of the seventies we now have more young blacks who are doing worse than their parents. There was only a modest gain in black wealth creation during this period. So where did we go wrong?

We believe that we should re-evaluate our current policies of treating the black family as separate entities. Children do not just appear in this world without the connection of a man and a woman. Women do not become pregnant without the relationship of a man and a woman. So we should begin to take a holistic approach to the problems of fatherless children, crime, drugs and alcohol, teen pregnancy, single mothers, and absentee fathers. These problems are not isolated but instead are merely symptoms of the larger problem of the disintegration of the black family. We should begin to craft policies that instead of separating the family supports the family. Instead of treating children as being independent of their families they should be treated as members of families. Instead of treating mothers as being distinct from the fathers they should be considered a component of the larger family unit. Instead of treating fathers as a hindrance to the family they should be viewed as a vital member of the family unit.

We should begin to dismantle the policies that have been detrimental to the black family structure. Policies that elevated one group of the family over the other two groups or pitted the groups against each other while in the past these may have appeared beneficial in hindsight they have proven to be very harmful to not only the family but the community as well and must be phased out. In there place we should craft policies and strategies that treats the family as a single unit and helps to reintegrate the black male back into the family as the head of the household. We should discontinue providing support to families in ways that punishes families who may have the desire to be nuclear families. We should discontinue the public assault on the family that requires fathers to be invisible in their own homes and rewards the behavior of women who want to create homes independent of fathers.

Our public policy should reinforce the values of our society not undermine them. If our public faith is in the family then our public policies should represent that desire and attempt to implement them in application. For too long our policies have not been consistent with our societal values and this should change. We have had two different standards for families in America, one for the haves and one for the have-not’s. As a nation we can no longer afford to maintain this separate and unequal system of family support. If a father is important to the middle-class family unit then how much more important is he to the poorer families? There are those who will argue that we will be punishing the innocent, but don’t we as a society use carrots and sticks all the time to conform behavior to standards we deem as necessary to the safe running of our society? Through our public policies we have rewarded immoral behavior and we wonder why there has been an increase in immoral behavior and a disintegration of the family?

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