Friday, December 15, 2017

You Can Only Solve The Problems You Can Discuss

When my wife and I teach the remarriage class for the Diocese, we talk about the elephant in the living room. That's where a couple avoids discussing a major issue and it gets bigger and bigger until it's like having an elephant in your living room that you pretend you don't see. You never bring it up because you're afraid of the argument that will result.

I've been trying to put my finger on what really bugs me about the destruction of Confederate monuments. The two thoughts that keep returning to my mind have been:
  • If the monuments are so horrible, why are the pathologies in the black community the same everywhere, whether there's a statue of Robert E. Lee present or not?
  • What are we hoping to gain from this? Is there some metric of black success we expect to rise once the monuments are all gone?
I do understand that to some people, removing them itself is a good thing because of the nation they represent. I can respectfully accept that while disagreeing with it. To me, they represent men fallen in battle and removing those monuments is essentially telling the descendants of those soldiers, "Your ancestors were scum."

But that's not the elephant in the living room. Nor are any of the other Social Justice fads like cultural appropriation, whiteness, white privilege or what have you. No, the elephant in the living room is our debased culture.

I'm using black America here, but understand it's a proxy for all of American culture. It's handy because the statistics are stark and the national conversation is obsessed with race. I have argued before that skin color is irrelevant and I don't see the need to recap that here.

Going back to the culture and things we don't discuss, try this on for size. About 50% of all black pregnancies end in aboriton and of the remaining half, about 3/4 are single women having babies. That means that 7 out of every 8 times a black woman gets pregnant, her man won't commit to her and the child.

Civilization is built upon the family. Those stats reveal a foundation that is rotten to the core. I've likewise blogged incessantly about the problems that arise from broken families - crime, drugs, education, etc. Compare the effects of some statues in a park nearby and having your parents, grandparents, friends' parents and neighbors' parents unmarried and in transitory relationships. It's insane to suggest that the two have even vaguely equal value, but we discuss the statues/racism all the time and the culture almost never.

I don't know any racists and I'm a pretty gregarious person who travels all over the country. If racism was a serious problem, then statistically, I'd expect to know at least a few. I don't know any, as in zero. I know plenty of children from broken homes, though. It looks to me like one problem is solved and the other has been allowed to grow until it's huge.

That's because American family culture is the elephant in the living room.

We'd sooner pay for a massive remodel than discuss what it's doing in our house.


tim eisele said...

I agree that men not supporting their children is a huge problem. The question is, though, why should this behavior be so much more common if the parents are black? I don't think we can chalk it up to them being less religious and more prone to the temptations of a sinful world, considering that, <a href=">according to this survey</a>, black people are *markedly* more religious than any other ethnic groups surveyed, by pretty much every measure. So why doesn't this help them? If the effect of religion is to encourage people to behave better, then what is the counterforce that is driving the black community the other way?

tim eisele said...

Like this, for example:

Foxfier said...

Two reasons:
One, "being religious" isn't magical. It's like having a strong political viewpoint, and then living by it or not. You're going to get different results depending on what that viewpoint is, as well as by if you follow it or not.
For a couple of in-my-own-direction examples, Italian, Irish and Mexican organized crime are rather famous for being quite devoutly Catholic. They just kinda skip a few liiiiiiitle points of doctrine, here and there.... (note, at least for the drug cartels, this is changing-- neo-paganism is getting a lot more common, especially Aztec flavored examples)

Reason two: Black communities tend to be like any other community that "everyone knows" are horribly poor, they get a lot of help, especially for things like "girls in trouble"--IE, single mothers-- and once you have one kid without a father, it's quite hard to find a guy who will stick around. Then there's the child care help aimed at poor families so both parents can work, where kids are taught a lowest common denominator form of morality and nobody wants to make someone feel bad, so there isn't any expectation of daddy actually being around unless something went Really Wrong.

You can see this played out on reservations, in trailer parks, among professional welfare abusers, in pretty much any group that can be singled out for help by a slightly distant third party. The folks who refuse to do it try to leave, which encourages the feed-back loop of "everyone does it."

Heck, it happens over in England, too, just without the racial side. You can read a fictional account in Pratchett's Unseen University, and the female antagonists' background. Short version, crab bucket.

K T Cat said...

Tim, I wonder about that myself, but not enough to investigate it because I don't think it's relevant. If we all went back to black illegitimacy rates of, say, 1960, the country would be a fantastically better place.

The race thing plays here because we talk about it constantly. We make movies about it, it's in nearly every political talk show, it's in debates, it's on party platforms, it's preached in academia, it has whole fields of study - we talk race like we're Nazis, we're that obsessed.

Meanwhile, the elephant in the room is barely mentioned and is devastating our nation.