GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney sparked reactions from Latinos in the Twitterverse with an unusual comment about single parenting during Tuesday night’s presidential debate.
When asked about his opinion on the assault weapons ban, NRA-backed Romney said he didn’t favor “making certain guns illegal.” Instead, he brought up the issue of marriage, saying:
[G]osh, to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone — that’s a great idea because if there’s a two-parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically. The opportunities that the child will — will be able to achieve increase dramatically.
Romney obviously meant well. He said marriage is “not always possible” and that America is full of a “lot of great single moms, single dads.” But his comments fell flat with many Latinos and African-Americans on Twitter, some of whom pointed out that Romney’s debate opponent himself was raised by a single mother and is doing just fine.
The former Massachusetts governor isn’t the only one to point to parenting as a cause of root cause of poverty and violence. Then-Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” sparked controversy in 1965 by arguing, among other things, that the breakdown of black families perpetuated poverty.
The study was roundly criticized for reinforcing stereotypes and for what many viewed as its patronizing tone, but some researchers continue to view the breakdown of marriage as a cause of poverty and violence. Other research, like this 2001 study from the Surgeon General’s Office, say no one factor can predict the likelihood that a child will grow up to become a violent adult.
For many of those who pounced on Romney’s comments, the comment hit close to home. Some 41 percent of children from Latino families and 66 percent of African-American households were headed by a single parent in 2010, according to the Annie Casey Foundation.
Above we’ve rounded up some of the most interesting reactions on Twitter to Romney’s single parent remark. What do you think of Romney's view that marriage is a more effective means of squelching violence than gun control? Let us know what you think in the comments.