One thing, and one thing only, is certain about the Trayvon Martin case in Florida. A young African-American male died under tragic circumstances. The rest remains to be sorted out.
Predictably, the professional race industry is out on the matter in force. The Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson practically wrestled each other in order to stand closer to Trayvon Martin’s family. At a church in Eatonville, Florida Jesse Jackson called Trayvon Martin a “martyr.” As is their long-standing practice, these race hustlers are using tragedy, in this case the death of a young black kid, as a tool for the advancement of their own agendas and their own very personal interests.
The script is tired and cliché but it doesn’t matter. According to the race industry, Trayvon Martin’s death is further proof of deep-seated white racism. It’s proof that white people want to keep black people down and that the country has made little progress from the days of segregation.
The truth stands in sharp contrast to this tired narrative. To the extent that white racism continues to be a barrier for young men like Trayvon Martin, it is by no means the biggest barrier or even close. The real enemy of young black kids is illegitimacy and the resulting fatherless homes.
Among blacks, 72 percent of births are to unmarried women, up from 26 percent in 1960. The lack of fathers to provide male validation to young boys leads to the seeking of such validation from gangs. Virtually 100 percent of gang members come from homes without a father. It is true that young black men are dying. But what Sharpton and Jackson don’t say is that the majority of the murders committed against young black men are committed by other young black men. A black kid who joins a gang in his teens stands an appallingly poor chance of seeing his 25th birthday.
Eighty five percent of youths in prison come from fatherless homes, as do 80 percent of rapists. Seventy one percent of high school dropouts are fatherless, as are 63 percent of teen suicides.
According to an article by Barbara Dafoe Whitehead in The Atlantic, when you control for family configuration, the relationship between race and crime and low income and crime disappears.
Yet, as pervasive and obvious as the problem is, it is almost impossible to talk about. Former New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, no right winger, was branded as a racist in the mid 1960s for simply calling attention to the connection between the prevalence of single black motherhood and the low socioeconomic and academic standing of black children.
None of this is intended to change the subject with respect to Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman shot Trayvon in self-defense, or shot him in cold blood or shot him by accident. We don’t yet know. What we know is that Trayvon Martin is dead, just days after his 17th birthday.
If Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton want to decry the death of a young black man, power to them. At least we know Trayvon Martin’s name. But for all the noise about Trayvon Martin, who is speaking on behalf of the thousands of other young black kids — kids whose names we’ll never know — who will die this year at the hands of gang members and criminals and young thugs? Who will call out the fact that this pathology breeds and grows in the Petri dish of a fatherless home?