If you click on the image to the right, you’ll be treated to a video where a number of people are told that they’re about to embark on a race. The prize is a $100.00 bill. Before the race begins, however, a number of questions are posed and if you’re able to answer in the affirmative, you’re allowed to take a couple of steps forward. Initially, the questions are processed as incidental and even comical. But the substance of those questions becomes evident as the advantages become clear.
I’ll let you know watch the video. Bottom line: Having a healthy family life translates to a number of psychological, emotional and even financial perks that put you in a strong position to succeed. There’s no doubt that you have an advantage over the one that doesn’t have a healthy family life and is forced to contend with the fallout that proceeds from two parents that can’t make their marriage work.
I think this is exceptional, but the one thing that gives me pause is the way in which it could be potentially utilized to promote the notion of white supremacy or institutional racism. And maybe this is because I’ve been listening to a lot of debates recently, but the word that got my attention in watching this was the word, “advantage.”
“Advantage” implies a systemic inequity. In other words, the rules of the game are being altered or dismissed in order to unfairly enhance your chances of success. One of the first questions that was posed was whether or not your parents were still married. This is not a dynamic that’s imposed, rather it’s chosen. It isn’t chosen by the offspring of broken marriages, but it’s a decision made by the parents of these kids often to the detriment of the children involved. It is the parents that are to be held accountable, therefore, and not a left leaning narrative that insists that an institutional form of racism is to blame.
Consider this: In 2015, over 70% of the babies born to the black community were born to unwed mothers. The abundance of absent fathers, according to Larry Elder, translates to more than just less than ideal family functions during the holidays:
Children in single-parent households are raised not only with economic, but also social and psychological, disadvantages. For instance, they are four times as likely as children from intact families to be abused or neglected; much likelier to have trouble academically; twice as prone to drop out of school; three times more likely to have behavioral problems; much more apt to experience emotional disorders; far likelier to have a weak sense right and wrong; significantly less able to delay gratification and to control their violent or sexual impulses; two-and-a-half times likelier to be sexually active as teens; approximately twice as likely to conceive children out-of-wedlock when they are teens or young adults; and three times likelier to be on welfare when they reach adulthood.
In addition, growing up without a father is a far better forecaster of a boy’s future criminality than either race or poverty. Regardless of race, 70 percent of all young people in state reform institutions were raised in fatherless homes, as were 60 percent of rapists, 72 percent of adolescent murderers, and 70 percent of long-term prison inmates. As Heritage Foundation scholar Robert Rector has noted, “Illegitimacy is a major factor in America’s crime problem. Lack of married parents, rather than race or poverty, is the principal factor in the crime rate.”
And while broken homes are a common denominator amidst delinquent teens as well as troubled adults, it also translates to the kind of economic hardships you would expect to find in a situation where a young woman is now having to drop out of High School in order to raise a child she didn’t plan on. Oftentimes, the child is raised by the grandmother until they’re old enough to take care of themselves. By that point, they’re accessing their environment and noticing the ones who appear to have money which is often the criminal element within their neighborhood and the cycle begins all over again.
Denzel Washington mentions this in a recent article where he’s quoted as saying, “If the father is not in the home, the boy will find a father in the streets,” he said. “I saw it in my generation and every generation before me, and every one since.”
“If the streets raise you, then the judge becomes your mother and prison becomes your home,” he added.
According to The New York Daily News, Mr. Washington expanded on his answer when pressed by reporters, saying, “It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure.”.
In this video, the anamoly that’s being observed is not so much an “advantage” as much as it’s a “result.” No, it’s not fair, nor is it healthy. But the root cause is not systemic, it’s moral. Those that come from a healthy home life may be more prepared to succeed when compared to their broken-home counterparts, but it’s an emotional / psychological foundation that is based on a moral paradigm and not a systemic mandate. From that perspective, therefore, it’s not an “advantage” that best defines those who are able to approach life sans the burden of the psychological scars and emotional gaps caused by an absentee father, nor is it a “privilege.” It’s a consequence of character – or the lack thereof – on the part of the one who would choose to be a male as opposed to a man.