Walter Williams is one of my favorite columnists. In addition to being an excellent economist, he is a fearless social commentator. Here is an excerpt from one of his recent columns:
We can’t use white racism and the legacy of slavery so frequently used to explain the black underclass to explain Britain’s underclass. The welfare state and the harebrained ideas of the public education establishment are a far better explanation for the counterproductive and self-destructive attitudes and lifestyles of both underclasses.
A “legacy of slavery” surely cannot explain problems among blacks, unless we assume it skips whole generations. In my book “Race and Economics” (Hoover Press, 2011), I cite studies showing that in New York City in 1925, 85 percent of black households were two-parent households. In 1880 in Philadelphia, three-quarters of black families were composed of two parents and children. Nationally, in the late 1800s, percentages of two-parent families were 75.2 percent for blacks, 82.2 percent for Irish-Americans, 84.5 percent for German-Americans and 73.1 percent for native whites. Today just over 30 percent of black children enjoy two-parent families. Both during slavery and as late as 1920, a black teenage girl’s raising a child without a man present was rare.
Dalrymple’s evidence from Britain shows that the welfare state is an equal opportunity destroyer.