Fatherhood matters

By Tom Quiner

 “Race matters because of persistent racial inequality that cannot be ignored and that has produced stark socioeconomic disparities.”

This quote comes from Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Sotomayor. In essence, she suggests that persistent racial discrimination is the root cause of poverty.
She wielded this opinion as a club to voice her opposition to the end of racial discrimination.
You read correctly. She expressed this view in her dissent to Schuette v. BAMN.
The case involved a constitutional amendment that an overwhelming majority of Michigan voters passed to end race-based preferences in their state universities. As did voters in 8 other states, Michigan voted to end racial discrimination in determining who gets into their schools.
A majority of the Supreme Court agreed with Michigan voters, to Ms. Sotomayor’s chagrin.
This blog respectfully disagrees with her contention that poverty is driven by race, and that reverse discrimination is still called for to level the playing field.
Ms. Sotomayor is correct that African-Americans fare worse economically than Hispanics, who fare worse than Caucasians, who fare worse than Asian-Americans.
But race is not the driving force here. Fatherless homes is the issue.
Look at the out-of-wedlock birth rates by race. They mirror the economic status by race listed above. In 2008, 72 percent of African-American babies were born out of wedlock; for Hispanics, it was 53 percent; for Caucasians, it was 29 percent; for Asian-Americans, it was 17 percent.
The more kids born out of wedlock, the higher the incidence of poverty. Blacks have far-and-away the most out-of-wedlock births and experience a corresponding increase in poverty.
Even more, fatherless homes produce children at-risk for a wide range of social pathology:

* 63 percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
* 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
* 85 percent of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes
* 80 percent of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes
* 71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
* 75 percent of all adolescent patients in chemical-abuse centers come from fatherless homes
* 85 percent of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes

This is not to say that single mothers can’t provide nurturing homes for their children. So many can and do. These statistics merely reveal that parenting is hard work and produces better outcome, on average, when there is a mom and a dad raising their children together.
Contrary to Ms. Sotomayor’s suggestion, racism is not the root cause of socioeconomic disparities.