Anthony Bradley: Black Marriage Matters


Anthony Bradley, professor of theology at the King's College in New York City, writes in PowerBlog:

Brittney C. Cooper, Assistant professor of Women’s and Gender studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University, writes at Ebony that President Obama is being unfair to the black community by pointing out that many of the violence-related pathologies in inner cities are a result of fatherlessness.

... It is certainly true that economic stress may tempt people to commit crimes. The Bible is clear about that possibility (Prov 30:8). However, Cooper closes out her objection to Obama by saying something that makes no sense: “The challenges facing Black folks in Chicago are myriad, but they have little to do with the decrease in marriage rates.”

What? The problem with Cooper’s objection to President Obama’s claim is that it has no basis in fact or reason. Black marriage rates have actually been associated with a host of social ills in the black community. Cooper could not be more incorrect about the facts. For example, in The Consequences of Marriage for African Americans by Lorraine Blackman of Indiana University, Obie Clayton of Morehouse College, Norval Glenn of the University of Texas at Austin, Linda Malone-Colon of Hampton University and the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center, and Alex Roberts of the Institute for American Values, all find that the data tells a different story: Black marriage matters.

... While it may be true that some unwed fathers are involved in the lives on their children, President Obama is right to point out the marriage effect. To say that the breakdown in the black community is not associated with the decline in marriage rates is to deny the facts and ignore the importance of one of the most important institutions in human society.