Many people seem to downplay the social unraveling of our society. Some cry racism. Others yell it's the seperation of the classes. While, our politicians decry issues based upon being a Republican versus being a Democrat. However, all seem to tiptoe around the major problem with our society; The avoidance of men to marry. This problem is especially true in the black community. An article in Ebony magazine stated that only 41% of black men married (The rest of the nation it is 62%). Interestingly during Martin Luther King's Civil Rights campaign in the 1960's, the number was 70%! (The numbers for the rest of the population was 90% ). Therefore, there has been a 42% reduction in married men as a percentage of the population. While the decrease is most obvious in the black community, this problem cuts across all racial and social lines. Why is this a societal problem?
First, studies have shown married men are less violent.
Second, married men tend to be more responsible and share responsibilities with the female in child rearing. The acceptance of responsibility by the male encourages them to make decisions that are best for the family.
Third, married men add income to the family unit by having a job and freeing the female to join the work force. This will increase the income of the family unit and resist temptation to engage in illegal behavior.
Fourth, married men are less likely to end up in jail. Interestingly, married women are rarely subject to jail as most of the female prisoners are unmarried.
Fifth, and I believe most importantly that married men are role models to their children. It is no accident that 90% of the men and 67% of the women in jail come from single parent (mother) households. You can spin this statistic any way you like but the lack of a father as a role model is a major contributor to criminal behavior.
Another element is the high school dropout rate. The average female dropout makes $13,288 annualy, less than the poverty rate. While the male dropout does slightly better $16,345 . (The poverty rate is $14,000 per year). Children growing up in these households are in grave danger of dropping out themselves. According to Time magazine children of parents that dropout are six times more likely to dropout themselves. The risk is probably higher if it is a single parent household.
Bill Cosby, in his speech in New Orleans in March of 2006, made it clear that the community needs to straighten out their morale compass before complaining about government inaction in the wake of Katrina. He cited the large numbers of 12 & 13 year old girls inpregnated by young men, males who refuse to lay down family roots by marrying the mother and supporting their children, the community acceptance of the large percentage of students who drop out of middle and high schools with no consequences , and the acceptance of "rap music" that glorifies violence, criminality, and disrespect of females. He also stated that the family unit must be brought together if we are to make progress in our society. He meant men coming back to marriage. While he was mainly talking to the black community, he could have been speaking of society in general.
While race and income are factors in the falling percentage of married men. It is more a societal issue. It was not accepted behavior for women to have children out of wedlock and men were pressured (rightly or wrongly) to do the right thing and marry the mother of the child. Now, in many communities, the married women is a minority and an unmarried women with children are not only accepted but are a majority! While welfare programs were the initial cause of this change in society, under the Clinton Administration and State changes, welfare no longer encourages behaviors like teenagers being rewarded for having kids by giving them their own apartment and welfare and going after the father who can pay for the child's support. However, it appears the damage to society was already done by decades of easy welfare benefits.
The leaders of our nation must get together and encourage men to buy into marriage and discourage the irresponsible behavior that seems to be prevalent in many communities. How can this be done? Penalties for dropping out of school, increase in vocational education, parenting classes, tax breaks for married couples, stricter rules and penalties on child payments, and other incentives that encourages marriage. I'm sure there are many more ideas and they should be fully explored and implemented if they work.