By Miles Brown
March 28, 2014
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke caused national ripples earlier this week with his Washington Times op-ed, “Liberal Policies Have Destroyed the Black Family.” This piece is one of the most ill-informed, ignorant and insulting op-eds I have read in a long time. His argument boils down to the idea that Liberal policies are causing blacks to hand over responsibility for raising their kids to the government and that Liberals view blacks in an infantile manner.
It is mind-boggling that Clarke harbors these views seeing as he patrols a county that contains a city with one of the worst school districts in the country. A city that most recently has once again been crowned the most segregated city in the country, and where over half of black men are unemployed. But this is not due to laziness, as conservative ideologue Paul Ryan thinks. It’s due to job opportunities being depressingly scarce and low paying. Contrary to what Clarke believes, all black male in America’s inner cities are not absentee fathers. Many black fathers are there for their kids and love them unconditionally. But it’s tough to try to improve upon a situation when you’re facing an uphill climb littered with lack of opportunities, negativity and hopelessness. The majority of blacks see the system as it stands as one that is structurally racist and thwarts them with every attempt to break out of poverty.
Clarke is under the assumption that black parents view their kids as burdens that the government will take care of. What Clarke fails to realize is the black community would be a lot worse off if not for a lot of these Liberal policies. More importantly, the Conservative alternative is a lot worse than any policy a Liberal can concoct.
Clarke is also under the assumption that black people just love welfare, food stamps and not taking care of our kids. He couldn’t be more wrong. Having lived off food stamps almost my entire childhood, I can tell you it was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. But I am fully aware of the fact that without this government assistance, I would probably not have made it out of the inner city to be the person I am today.
A lot of different factors are to blame for the state of the black community. Harsh convictions for non-violent drug offenders, where blacks spend 65 percent more time in prison than whites; Many school choice programs and charter programs that are corrupt, and cherry pick the brightest students from public schools and leave public schools to further deteriorate. Gutting programs that serve as a potential escape from the ills of the neighborhoods these kids go back to from school every day. These are things that were ushered in by conservative administrations and are a part of conservative platforms all across the U.S. These policies break up the African American household more than a welfare check ever could.
Clarke uses the word “white” to describe Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and the words “we” and “us” to describe the black community, because I guess he sees himself as a black leader. The question is, how can he purport to be a black leader when he has no real grasp of the conditions in these urban communities? There’s always people like Clarke asking, “Where are the parents?” or “Where are the leaders in the black community?” What Clarke fails to realize is that he is by default a leader in the black community. The black community needs leaders to guide, influence and encourage young African Americans. What we especially do not need is another voice to tell us we’re less than, or to tell us what’s wrong with our community without offering constructive solutions. But I guess Mr. Clarke is too busy on his high horse to directly solve the problems he so abhors.