This weekend, the country celebrated a milestone in its history as thousands gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC to honor the 50th anniversary of the March On Washington. But as Wednesday marks half a century since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic "I Have a Dream Speech," many are realizing that very little has changed for the black community.
A quick look at the numbers makes it clear that although the country has made strides toward achieving equality, there's still a long way to go. During a discussion on ABC News' "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," Pulitzer-prize winning journalist George Will attributed a large portion of Black America's plight to the number of single-mother households in the community.
According to a 2010 study, 72 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers, a sharp contrast to the 24 percent detailed in the Moynihan Report.
“A young social scientist from Harvard working in the Labor Department published a report," Will said. "His name was Daniel Patrick Moynahan. He said, ‘There is a crisis in the African American community, because 24 percent of African American children are born to unmarried women. Today it’s tripled to 72 percent. That, and not an absence of rights, is surely the biggest impediment.”
Many have taken issue with how this statistic has been used with respect to the black community's moral standing. In an article for The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates broke down the numbers in an effort to give a more accurate depiction...
But while the number of unmarried black women has substantially grown, the actual birthrate (measured by births per 1000) for black women is it the lowest point that its ever documented.
So while a larger number of black women are choosing not to marry, many of those women are also choosing not to bring kids into the world. But there is something else.
As you can see the drop in the birthrate for unmarried black women is mirrored by an even steeper drop among married black women. Indeed, whereas at one point married black women were having more kids than married white women, they are now having less.
I point this out to show that the idea that the idea that, somehow, the black community has fallen into a morass of cultural pathology is convenient nostalgia. There is nothing "immoral" or "pathological" about deciding not to marry.
Although it's difficult to attribute the black community's struggle to a solitary reason, the study has sparked an ongoing debate with proponents on both sides of the argument.
What do you think? Is the number of black children born to unwed mother's the community's "biggest impediment"?