Remember when I wrote an article showing that researching racial differences in IQ is not axiomatically racist? That article got quite a bit of traffic, and still does, and it amazes me how many people failed and continue to fail to get the point: I posited that nutritional differences explained differences in IQ between white and Black Americans not because I think nutritional difference do, in fact, account for the IQ gap, but rather to demonstrate that any subject, including race and IQ, can be researched without being automatically and irrevocably racist.
A new study has been published that offers a new explanation for the enormous achievement gaps between white and Black boys and men. It turns out that when Black boys are raised by one group of women, the achievement gap disappears, so there goes the ‘genetic basis for IQ differences’ argument. What group of women magically erases the poor educational, employment and economic outcomes typical for Black men and boys?
Get ready for some epic screaming:
Black boys raised by white women do just as well as white children raised by white women, controlling for variables like socioeconomic status, education, income, etc. And of course the big question is why? There are a couple of theories the researchers measuring this phenomenon posit: some are simple, and some are much more complex. Black boys raised by white mothers tend to have distinctively white, rather than Black speech patterns. Barack Obama anybody? He sure is articulate for a Black guy /snark/. Those speech patterns allow Black boys to avoid a wage penalty as men. White mothers have an entirely different approach to education, teachers and the school system, and are treated differently by the school system, no matter what race their children are. This clearly has an impact on the outcomes for children. White mothers are more likely to be married and raising children with a father present, which has all kinds of benefits for children.
I want to flip the question over and ask, rather than ‘what are white women doing right and what advantages do they have’, to ‘what are Black women doing wrong and why are they doing it wrong’? What the hell do I know about how and why Black women raise their children the way they do? From personal experience, obviously fuck all. But I don’t subscribe to standpoint epistemology, a feminist theory that claims you can only really know your own experience, and attempting to understand another person’s experience is racist and supremacist.
Bullshit. There are these things called books that anyone can read. Amazing how much a book, written by a person who has had a particular experience or spent a lot of time thinking about a particular experience, can convey.
The book that came to mind was Melissa Harris-Perry’s Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America. In that book, Harris-Perry spends a lot of time talking about how the myth of the strong Black woman impacts the daily lives of Black women, and how much they feel the need to live up to this deeply damaging stereotype. I think this myth is ground zero in the major difference between white and Black mothers. It’s the reason Black women do a shit job with their sons.
Let’s go back to the 1960’s and consider two families on the verge of true prosperity: one white and one Black. They live in a town somewhere in the Southern states where the major industry is, oh, let’s say furniture manufacturing. Both families consist of a mother, father, and three children. Both are renting properties and saving for a down payment on a home.
The white guy, let’s call him Chuck, works at one of the local furniture plants full-time, as a finisher. He is covered by a collective agreement that includes severance, vacation pay, retraining and a top up for unemployment insurance. The Black guy, let’s call him Anthony, cobbles together 40 hours a week working as a janitor at three different plants, all part time. He’s not covered by the union. Both men are getting by, setting aside a little each week to make that down payment on the white picket house of their dreams, taking care of their children and wife and generally feeling pretty good about themselves.
The US government approves cheap imports of Canadian lumber and all three furniture plants are suddenly facing serious, serious competition from plants close to the Canadian border. Within a year all three are in receivership and bought out by the competition, who is moving all positions to the North. Full-time employees are offered positions at the new parent factory. Chuck now gets to decide whether to move the whole family to New Hampshire, take advantage of retraining options. He doesn’t need to touch the money he saved for a downpayment, he can take it with him.
Anthony is not a full-time employee and is not offered a transfer and is not a skilled employee anyways. He has no severance and no retraining options and no reasonable option of comparable employment in the area. His wife cobbles together a few partime jobs, he gets a few handyman and clean up gigs here and there, they both work their asses off but it doesn’t take long before their downpayment is gone and they are in serious need of assistance. They apply for welfare and are approved, but it comes with a condition: Anthony cannot live in the same home as his wife and children.
This is obviously a materially different circumstance than slave families being sold away from one another, but is it an emotionally different circumstance? I don’t think it takes a person with superhuman empathy to see this is a devastating choice. Your husband or your children? Pick one. This was the reality for millions of Black families when the recession hit in the 70s – no welfare for families with men in the home. This wasn’t something that applied just to Black families but it hit them the hardest, and effectively destroyed the Black nuclear family, and by extension, Black prosperity and community.
So now we have Black women, in economically precarious situations owing to a policy that reeks of one of the most destructive legacies of slavery (ripping families apart for cruel sport), raising children alone. How easy would it be to take the resentment that ought to be directed against the policy and aim it instead at the man who is not allowed by law to support you? How easy would it be to turn that resentment into fury and outright hate? How easy would it be to decide “I don’t need no man anyways they can all go straight to hell”?
Pretty easy, apparently.
Black mothers raise girls who go on to educational, economic and employment achievements far more frequently than they raise boys who do the same. If it were a matter ‘these women are just dumb’, there shouldn’t be any demonstrable difference between the outcomes of boys and girls, but there is. Black women hate men, and by extension, hate their sons. They resent them. And in all likelihood, they visit far more abuse, both physical and emotional, upon them, for reasons that have to do with structural, policy driven, government decisions that Black men sure as hell didn’t vote for, approve of, or ask for.
Harris-Perry makes a compelling case that no matter what the culture has thrown at Black women, they soldier on. They keep going, and try to keep their heads up, but underwriting her understandable pride in the tenacity and endurance of Black women is an undercurrent that acknowledges the fact that Black women forced to raise children alone is both tragic and heinous. The eradication of Black men from the everyday lives of Black women and children is a heart-breaking legacy of Jim Crow and welfare reform laws. There is nothing good, strong or empowering about it.
Enter feminism. Feminists are engaged in an all-out war against families, including Black families. Feminists convince Black women that struggling to raise children without the love and support and companionship of a man is a badge of honor: it is a sign of strength, courage, bravery, valor – it’s all rah rah rah you go girrrrl – if something in your life sucks, blame the man and that includes Black men.
Is it any wonder Black women resent and hate their sons? Is it any wonder they raise thugs and gangsters? Give those exact same boys to white women, who have been taught to a much, much lesser extent that they don’t need no man, and those boys become accountants and neurosurgeons and teachers and HVAC technicians and entrepreneurs. Feminists try hard to make all women hate men and blame men for their own personal choices, but this message hasn’t stuck as well with white women in general, because it wasn’t backed up with widespread, institutional racism and discrimination that prevented white men from supporting their white wives and children.
Feminism’s greatest triumph has been with Black women, and the fact that Black women can’t raise their boys to success, but white women can, tells you all you need to know about the incredibly destructiveness of feminism.
I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again: Black women who think white women have their best interests at heart are insane. Rich, pampered, white women whose biggest problem is who will pay their $6 birth control bill and guys who sit comfortably on the subway will never care more about you than your husbands, sons, brothers, fathers, uncles, nephews, neighbors, all the men in your own communities will.
White women raise Black boys better than you do, Black women. That should make you want to puke. It should make you crazy angry. It should make you want to scream and punch something and cry. You can’t blame all of it on racism and feminism, although those things play a huge role.
It starts with you and your relationship to your sons and their fathers.
Stop hating them. Start loving them. Understand that you have years and years and years of hate, egged on by feminists, to overcome. Black men need to trust you again.
Give them a reason to.
Lots of love,