Thursday, September 23, 2004

Damn disgrace

Tonight was back to school night in Philly, where my wife teaches 4th grade. Her school is predominately poor, predominatly black, North Philadelphia. She has 32 kids in her class (which in and of itself is a disgrace but not the subject of this rant).

Out of 32 kids, how many of them had their parents attend tonight?


That is a damn disgrace, but it's pretty much the same story every year.

There is more to being a parent than popping out kids and letting the gummint send you a welfare check. But the dysfunctional culture that has been fostered in areas like where my wife teaches discourages stable families. A large part of this can be laid at the feet of LBJ's "Great Society," which may have been noble in intent but the unintended consequences totally fucked up a large portion of our society. By making mothers ineligble to receive welfare payments if the father was around, the social welfare types broke up a lot of families, and once broken, the odds of the next generation forming stable families was pretty much shot. It's a self-perpetuating cycle, creating more and more wards of the state, even when those wards are adults. This cycle started before the welfare reform of the '90s but hasn't been broken.

Compounding that is popular urban culture, which doesn't hold learning in high regard, the War On (Some) Drugs that incarcerates a huge chunk of black American males, and no wonder the current situation exists.

There is no easy fix, but a good start would be to get rid of the current version of Prohibition. At least that way a lot of these kids' fathers would be in the neighborhood instead of in prison. As for instilling a sense of parental responsibility, that I have no idea how to do.

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