Black Families Were Doing Better Than White Families Before Welfare

It's popular right now to blame every problem facing the black community on racism.

By Gina Florio3 min read
Black Families Were Doing Better Than White Families Before Welfare

Banks are "racist" for not giving enough loans to black people. Employers are "racist" because supposedly the gender pay gap is even worse for black women than it is for white women. Even school grading rules are deemed racist if black students fail to perform well enough. But putting so much focus on flying the racism flag is blinding the country to the many other, much more relevant factors at play. 

Unfortunately, we now live in a society that calls a wide range of people racist simply because they point to the most devastating statistics about the black community — most of which completely debunk the myth that systemic racism is what is holding back black people from being successful and healthy in this country. 

Black Families Thrived without Government Assistance

We’re not allowed to talk about the fact that the highest cause of death by a long shot in black urban communities is the wildly high rate of black-on-black crime. But if you just open your eyes to the truth instead of the propaganda, you’ll see that the percentage of black men who were killed by police officers in 2019 was 0.1%. Only 0.1%. That means only 9 black men were killed by police officers in 2019. That’s the definition of a statistical rarity. Now compare that to the 7,407 black men who were killed by homicide. BLM is based on the lie that racist white police officers are targeting black men, when the truth is a police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black man than the other way around. 

Another fact we’re not allowed to talk about: black families were doing better than white families in the U.S. before the welfare state was set up in the 1960s. Yes, they were actually outpacing white families in economic growth, and they had very similar rates of marriage and unemployment. Before the “Great Society” program was established in 1964 by former President Lyndon B. Johnson, a black child had a very good likelihood of being born into a home with both of their biological parents. Black men were doing excellently in the workforce and maintaining a steady upward trajectory in the career force. 

Before the 1960s, a black child had a very good likelihood of being born into a two-parent home.

Keep in mind, this was before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This was during a point in America’s history where racism actually was systemic. And yet, black communities were absolutely thriving, without any assistance whatsoever from the government.

This in and of itself disproves the entire idea that systemic racism is today’s cause of rampant inner-city crime, high unemployment rates, the number of single motherhood households, and disproportionately high imprisonment rates. Because if systemic racism really did have these kinds of negative effects on black individuals, we would not have seen such high rates of marriage, employment, and economic growth in black communities in the first half of the 20th century.

Welfare Incentivized Single Motherhood

When you learn about the “Great Society” legislation in universities today, you’re taught that this was a just, beneficial thing for black America. More government assistance! More money pumped into the ghettos! We’re gonna help single moms take care of their kids! The welfare state offered more government assistance to inner-city mothers who weren’t married to the father of their children. In other words, women were incentivized not to marry the father of their children. Why bother with getting married to pay the bills when the government is more than happy to pay them for you? 

Economists have told us for years that human beings respond to incentives above all else. That’s why it’s no surprise that before the “Great Society” program was instilled, roughly 20-25% of black mothers were single moms. (Even back then, economists were concerned that those high rates would have negative consequences on the younger generation.) Today, that rate has risen to a whopping 72%. That means 72% of black moms today are single mothers. That’s an unbelievably high rate, especially considering the fact that roughly 20% of Asian mothers are single moms and 35% of white mothers are single moms. 

Before the 1960s, 25% of black moms were single mothers. Today, 72% of black moms are single.

Why is this statistic so important? Even former President Barack Obama urged black America to consider the devastating effects that fatherlessness has in our society. A child raised without a father is 9 times more likely to drop out of high school, 5 times more likely to commit a crime, 5 times more likely to live in poverty, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.

It’s no wonder the “Great Society” program started to eat away at black America. The implementation of this policy was the beginning of the decline of black communities — more and more young black adults got involved with crime and gang violence, more black teens were getting pregnant. Thomas Sowell points out in his book Discrimination and Disparities that homicide rates and rates of infection with venereal diseases were on a steep decline in black communities before the 1960s. In fact, homicide rates in black America in the early 1960s were just under half of what they had been in the mid-1930s. However, after the “Great Society” program was instituted, homicide rates skyrocketed and doubled from the mid-1960s to the 1980s. 

Closing Thoughts

It’s irresponsible and flat-out false to insist that racism has caused low rates of homeownership, high rates of unemployment, and high rates of crime in the U.S. History and many decades of statistics show us that black Americans, by many measures, were doing better economically in a period of rampant racism than they do now, five decades after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. In fact, they were doing much better without the federal government’s attempt to “help.” It’s perfectly clear what the late President Ronald Reagan meant when he said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

If we actually cared about improving the lives of black communities across America, we would take an honest look at what was negatively affecting these communities the most so that we could truly help them. And all it takes is one cursory glance at the data, one glimpse of black communities, to see that racism is far from the top of the list of things devastating black America. We need to acknowledge the damage of federal government programs and the breakdown of the nuclear family if we have any chance at actually helping black communities rebuild themselves and find more success and health in this country.