Most black children in America grow up without a father present, but the annual report for President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative doesn’t mention the problem.
The word “father” appears only twice in the 43-page 2016 “progress report” on the initiative, which Obama said he would continue after his presidency.
An absence of responsible male role models is closely tied to young black men associating violence with strength, and with the idea that they too need not be involved in parenting children they sire. Having only one parent makes it far more likely that children in such households will grow up in poverty, since the income-earning potential is half or lower that of two-parent homes. The report uses the phrase “low-income” 17 times to justify the need for various government spending program, but does not mention the method for doubling income.
The initiative focuses on boys, not girls, because male behavioral outcomes are worse than their female siblings, who often share a role model of the same sex.
Obama was presumably so scarred by being abandoned by his own father, leaving him to be raised by his white grandparents, that he titled his memoir “Dreams From My Father.”
The president’s MKB initiative faced pressure from black activists who claimed that discussing ways to fix the problem of missing black fathers “reinforced stereotypes” by identifying it as a problem. One black academic even claimed that black men are more involved fathers than white men.
Fredrick Harris with the Brookings Institution was one such individual and openly mocked Obama for saying things like, “There’s no more important ingredient for success, nothing that would be more important for us in reducing violence than strong, stable families—which means that we should do more to promote marriage and fatherhood.” And now, fatherhood does not feature in the initiative’s major status report.
The report focuses on reducing the number of black men with criminal records–but typically not by reducing the number of criminal acts. Instead, it focuses on “diversion and expungement strategies” to hide those acts, and calling for rules that say a black male shouldn’t be suspended from school for misbehavior if that would take the rate of misbehavior by blacks higher than that of whites on paper.
The report says public housing projects — already hot-spots of bad influences, drugs and gangs –should open their doors to more criminals.
In point of fact, the report praises the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for its 2015 clarification “that it does not have a ‘one strike’ policy barring those charged with or found guilty of a crime from living in public housing; the decision to evict or not provide housing is discretionary. The guidance also included best practices from Public Housing Authorities on expanding access to federally subsidized housing.”
Increased residency in public housing projects as a way to improve the young men’s behavior is surprising since many of them already grew up in such projects without apparent ameliorative results.
Also heralded by the report is the Small Business Administration’s decision to now “make micro-loans to most small businesses that have an officer, director, owner, or key employee who is currently on probation or parole.”
It said the federal government should push “ban the box” rules on job applications that reduce the visibility of crimes, even though they don’t stop the crimes themselves and, data suggests, actually make employers more hesitant to hire black men.
The MBK initiative, which primarily relies on funds donated by corporations, does not appear to have been especially active. Although it was rolled out at a high-profile press conference, MBK’s most recent blog post is from April, 2016.
At an event at the White House, one of the supposed role models — a rapper — had his ankle bracelet tracking device go off because he was out on bail for kidnapping charges.
An earlier 90-day report was long on platitudes — obvious statements like “Effective youth violence prevention strategies can reduce violence.” The same report also included ideas that seemed to make little sense, like, “The employment and earnings disparity by race is particularly sharp for low-income workers.”
The report laid out abstract cliches, such as the importance of “education, training, and other essential services.” It called for the further study of issues that have already been studied for years, like, “Fuller data on stops, questioning, frisking, searches, arrests, detention, convictions, and sentences and the reasons for them will help us better understand the problems.”
It did have a few more specific suggestions, like expanding the availability of diploma programs in prisons, though it only mentioned that few were taking advantage of such programs, without saying how many had the option.
Overall, it had little in the way of new suggestions, instead proposing increased funding for some of the most performance and violence-plagued federal programs in history.
“Federal agencies should expand access to programs with proven results with challenged populations, such as Job Corps,” the initiative said.
The former head of security at a Job Corps center said it was like a Third World country, adding, “There are no rules, no laws that these students or the administration obeys.”
Like with the other expungement tactics praised by MBK, Jobs Corps attained “success” by manipulating data, not improving behavior. When a video emerged of a student cutting cocaine at his Jobs Corps desk, the administration’s response was to have the video deleted, and not expel the student.
The Jobs Corps also “helped” “disadvantaged” youths by falsifying records so that it showed that they had academic prowess when, in fact, they refused to try to learn.
A former career adviser for the Jobs Corps revealed that a full 85 percent of the job placements it advertises are fake, and the reported rates triggered bonuses for administrators.
Jobs Corps students are so uninterested in learning or doing “jobs” that there are 2,000 videos on YouTube titled “Jobs Corps fight.”
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