Today Blow has done a fascinating piece of work titled "No More Excuses?" in which he has assembled statistics about the plight of black children in response to Rep. James Clyburn's proclamation on Monday that "Every child has lost every excuse."
I titled this post Black Children "Prisoners of their Parentage"? because Blow wrote:
I’m a big proponent of personal responsibility, but children too often don’t have a choice. They are either prisoners of their parentage or privileged by it. Some of their excuses are hollow. But other excuses are legitimate, and they didn’t magically disappear when Obama put his left hand on the Lincoln Bible.
I can't get Blow's great graphic of the statistics to load in a size large enough to be read and he does not give comparable statistics for other races. So, I've put together some of the statistics Blow used and included the comparable white statistics:
Children in 2005 born to single mothers: black 70%, white 25%
Children in 2006 confirmed "maltreated": black 2%, white 1%
Children in 2007 living in low income families: black 60%, white 26%
Children in 2007 living in poor families: black 34%, white 10%
Children in 2003 living in unsafe neighborhoods: black 31%, white 8%
Teen boys in 2005 reporting being raped: black 7%, white 3%
Teen girls in 2005 reporting being raped: black 12%, white 11%
Other Statistics Blow Used
(for which I don't have comparable white statistics)
black eight graders who watch four or more hours of television on an average weekday 57%
black women who agree that it is sometimes necessary to discipline a child with a "good hard spanking" 94%
black children who had used alcohol before age 13 31%
Blow concluded with this text:
So black people have to keep their feet on the ground even as their heads are in the clouds. If we want to give these children a fighting chance, we must change the worlds they inhabit. That change requires both better policies and better parenting — a change in our houses as well as the White House.
President Obama is a potent symbol, but he’s no panacea.