Family, Crime, & Justice
Colbert King is a regular columnist for the Washington Post. He is a Pulitzer Prize winning writer who is not afraid to challenge the status quo, and when it comes to turning out children who later become juveniles in the criminal justice system, or mommas, too young to raise a child, he’s got a lot to say.
Quoting Martin Luther King, he wrote,
“‘The family, that is, the group consisting of mother, father and child, still remains the main educational agency of mankind.”
Wrote the columnist, “I think of boys getting guns and girls getting babies. Children who know how to create kids but not how to raise them. And I think of those dreadful numbers behind youth violence and carjackings, high school absenteeism and truancy rates, and the stream of young boys and girls…and I face how far we have fallen from maintaining [Martin Luther King’s] ‘main educational agency of mankind.’”
“The decline of the family,” says the columnist, “particularly among black Americans, is not the legacy of nineteenth century injustice. It accelerated beginning in the 1960s. Partly, it was the overall national decline. Yet it was made worse by the welfare state of the Great Society that had been touted as a measure to reduce crime,” says Colbert King.
I would add that the proliferation of drugs beginning in the 1960s contributed to the growth of crime as well, but also to the decay of the family unit and the wave of women being incarcerated at greater and greater rates. But, in spite of all that, a lot of people I know were raised during those difficult times, but they never got off track because they had loving parents who kept order, love and responsibility as a cloche around their household and their children—never to be sullied by the lower elements of society.
Parents can do that. A single parent has a tremendous job—some would say an impossible job if he or she is trying to do all that a two-parent couple should do. How can one person hold down a full time job, keep a home, be there for the kids at school events, help with homework, spend quality time, and set expectations and rules that will direct the paths of each child, all by him or herself? Possible, but not usually probable.
When Hillary Clinton said “It takes a village to raise a child,” she might have been overstating things a bit. But Martin Luther King wasn’t wrong when he said the family consists of a mother, father and child. And, I would depart from the famous columnist on one thing. This is not “particularly” a black family issue. It is a huge white family issue as well. We all have work to do to protect the next generation.
Bottom line: Kids deserve to have it all. They need to have it all if we care at all about their futures.