Headline is a near direct quote from Contra Costa Times’ Angela Hill, covering poet and novelist Sapphire’s new book, “The Kid.” Sapphire gained acclaim as the author of “Push,” source material for the 2010 Academy Award-winning film “Precious.”
Speaking in Atlanta Tuesday, the educated, articulate Sapphire, from a middle class family with a strong work ethic, is a contrast from her penned heroine. Precious is as disadvantaged as one could imagine. Obese, poor, inner city, horrifically abused by her monstrous mother and pregnant for the second time by her transient deadbeat dad, who gave her HIV; Precious is also illiterate; all at the tender age of 16.
“The Kid” is Sapphire’s story of Precious’ son, Abdul. Left alone at age nine by his mother’s death from AIDS, the boy is doomed to repeat the same cycle of abuse, only at the hands of molester priests, abusive foster care and in general the cold, cruel world. Unlike his mother though, Abdul tragically shifts “from victim to predator with chilling horror.” Sexually assaulted as a boy, Abdul himself becomes a rapist, by age 14.
While fictional, both stories highlight a powerful indictment of inner city, ghetto life made most tragic by the disintegration of the black family. Praising Precious’ hardscrabble pluck, New York Times’ Dinitia Smith lauds vestiges of the Great Society which helped her. Given how Great Society programs incentivized the generational ills which persist in plaguing the black community today; this help is akin to handing one a tissue after shooting them in the face.
In the early 1960’s, the only husbandless mothers who qualified for welfare benefits were widows. The Great Society’s Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program expanded these benefits to include all single mothers. Within a decade the illegitimacy rate in the black community alone had nearly doubled, from 28 to 49 percent. Today it’s upwards of 70 percent. In some communities, like the one Precious and Adbul hail from (Harlem,) it’s beyond 80 percent.
Sapphire cites poverty and “over-extension of the welfare system” as factors which contribute to Precious and Abdul’s suffering. Both though are symptoms of the root problem Sapphire never cites as such, illegitimacy. Premier social scientist Charles Murray calls illegitimacy “the single most important social problem of our time – more important than crime, drugs, poverty, illiteracy, welfare or homelessness because it drives everything else.”
Kay S. Hymowitz writes, in City Journal: “[Single] mothers are far more likely than married mothers to be poor… They are also more likely to pass that poverty on to their children.” As National Review Online’s Robert Rector writes:
Nothing grows the welfare state like the disappearance of marriage… Single mothers are inherently in far greater need of government support than married couples, so an increase in single parenthood leads almost inevitably to an increase in government benefits and services and a thriving welfare industry to supply them. Marital collapse creates a burgeoning new clientele dependent on government services and political patrons.
Michael Fumento of Investor’s Business Daily writes, “According to the Census Bureau, a single-parent family is six times more likely to be poor — and thus a recipient of welfare — than a two-parent family. Women heading families are particularly vulnerable.” Also in City Journal, Heather Mac Donald details the grim plight which all too often awaits (especially poor, black) children of single mothers:
Prisons, foster-care homes, and homeless shelters teem with fatherless children. [Such children] are three times more likely to fail at school, three times more likely to commit suicide, and from 20 to 33 times more likely to suffer child abuse than are the children of low-income married parents. [Their] prospects in later life are just as grim: 70 percent of long-term prisoners, 60 percent of rapists, and 75 percent of adolescents charged with murder grew up without fathers. The risks to children living outside a two-parent home go beyond social failure, as witness New York City’s never-ending cortege of tiny coffins containing children beaten, suffocated, and scalded by their mothers’ boyfriends.
Then Labor Department’s Daniel Patrick Moynihan tried to sound a warning of this alarming burgeon back in 1965. His studies revealed “the emergence of a ‘tangle of pathology,’ including delinquency, joblessness, school failure, crime, and fatherlessness that characterized ghetto—or what would come to be called underclass—behavior.” But his expose was promptly silenced by defensive claims of racism, “blaming the victim” and other turbulent issues of the time. Even President Johnson warned, “When the family collapses, it is the children that are usually damaged… When it happens on a massive scale, the community itself is crippled.” (Sadly, his policies seriously counter-acted these convictions.) Hymowitz writes:
Implicit in Moynihan’s analysis was that marriage orients men and women toward the future, asking them not just to commit to each other but to plan, to earn, to save, and to devote themselves to advancing their children’s prospects. Single mothers in the ghetto, on the other hand, tended to drift into pregnancy, often more than once and by more than one man, and to float through the chaos around them. Such mothers are unlikely to ‘shape their children’s character and ability’ in ways that lead to upward mobility. Separate and unequal families, in other words, meant that blacks would have their liberty, but that they would be strangers to equality.
Precious, Adbul, and the real life children who suffer similarly represent byproducts of this troubling pathology. If women (like Precious’ welfare-cheating mother) weren’t paid to have children out of wedlock, they’d be a lot less inclined to let bad men who aren’t committed to them get them pregnant. This goes for any race.
In the case of unplanned pregnancy where the noble option of adoption is explored, even that though is marred by racial politics.
Sapphire laments that African-American boys are the least likely to be adopted, less so than “a stray cat.” This is compounded by activists in the black community who don’t want black children adopted by white families. Time magazine did a piece fretting over how white families who adopt black children receive “stares;” citing think tanks declaring it unacceptable that black children raised by white families won’t be properly permeated in black culture. The influential National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW,) bolsters this exaggerated hysteria, even branding such adoptions as a form of genocide.
If the races were reversed and a white person said that, they’d be vilified as Grand Kleagle in the Ku Klux Klan. For all their preoccupation with race and the good the NABSW’s attitude on this does for black children, they may as well be.
Egregious to the point of evil is those who consider a child’s being stared at and “loss of native culture” worse than every kind of physical, sexual, emotional abuse such a child as Abdul suffers (and then inflicts) as a result of an orphaned life where no one is there to love or protect him. Apparently such activists would rather black children live Abdul’s life than have a reprieve like Joseph and Matthew; real-life black brothers adopted by a loving white family who, like many of their ilk, really had to fight reverse-racist bureaucracy to do it.
To such obstructionists, a fate worse than death, for a black child, is preferable to having the child raised by whitey. Enraging is how these purveyors of division inflict this cruel prejudice on children of their own race; and it’s invariably the children who suffer for it. Sue Anne Pressley of adoption.com reports:
‘One of the problems with race-matching policies,’ says Donna Matias, a lawyer with the Institute of justice, ‘is that it leaves the children in the system to wait. They are thrown into a vicious cycle where the chances plummet that they will ever get adopted.’
The breakdown of the black family creates further complications. Sadly, black children are distinctly overrepresented in the pool of children in need of adoption. By comparison, black families are lamentably underrepresented in the demographic of families who adopt.
Of the estimated 500,000 children in the U.S. foster home system, more than half are minorities. Of those available for adoption, 40 percent are black, although blacks represent only about 13 percent of the general population. What is more, according to the National Adoption Center, which keeps track of so-called hard-to-place children, about 67 percent of such children are black and 26 percent are white, while 67 percent of the waiting families are white and 31 percent are black.
According to North American Council on Adoptable Children spokeswoman Diane Riggs,
Another barrier is that ‘in the African American culture, there is a belief that it should be a family-to-family thing, a community effort that a child is not something you should pay for.’
The tangle of pathology already unraveling the black family was swiftly enabled by entitlement policies which subsidize illegitimacy, replacing the father with the state. Encouraging this blight then caused its subsequent, costly, damaging ills to run rampant. It’s the children, and society at large, who suffer.
Sapphire writes that had Abdul been adopted, “The Kid” would not have been written. This is because in that case, he would have (compared to his tortured existence as portrayed) lived a happy, well-adjusted life with a loving family who chose him. Judging from her penchant for the gritty and the graphic, this isn’t something Sapphire could turn into book royalties and possibly another movie deal.