Read an Excerpt
BAMBOOZLEDHow Americans Are Being Exploited by the Lies of the Liberal Agenda
By ANGELA McGLOWAN
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2007 Angela McGlowan
All right reserved.
Chapter OneACCOUNTABILITY: UNCLE SAM ISN'T YOUR "BABY DADDY"
Why What's Good for Families Is Bad for Liberals
We can't destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage.
-Robin Morgan, author and editor of Ms. Magazine
Now-a-days it [sic] like a badge of honor to be a baby mama.
-Fantasia Barrino, American Idol winner
Mark your calendar: September 29 is "Marry Your Baby Daddy Day."
On September 29, Brooklyn author and journalist Maryann Reid decided to host a contest to pay for ten "lucky" unwed black couples with children to get married. Reid held the contest to promote her not-so-subtly titled novel, Marry Your Baby Daddy. But the young black author says she also wanted to cast light on the staggering number of black Americans whose vocabularies no longer include "husband" and "wife" but instead the ubiquitous rap-fueled terms "baby daddy" and "baby mama."
Reid may be onto something. Pop culture can sometimes provide clues to shifts in social norms, and that's certainly the case as it relates to unwed motherhood. American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino sparked a national debate when she released her autobiographical anthem "Baby Mamas," which boldly declared: "Now-a-days it[sic] like a badge of honor to be a baby mama." After hearing the lyric, Washington Post metro columnist Donna Britt wrote that she couldn't get it out of her head. "A badge of honor?" wrote Britt. "I remember when it was more like a badge of shame-and a pretty effective deterrent." The columnist was careful to add that she wasn't endorsing "the oft-crushing stigmatization of that era." Yet the tribute to "baby mamas," she said, was a sign of a significant shift in the culture.
Indeed, it was. More and more rap songs now feature "baby mama" in the title or in the lyrics, including that loving ode to motherhood, "Baby Mama Must Die!" The slang term has become so popular among black Americans that it became fodder for a comedy movie starring black comedian Eddie Griffin. The title: My Baby's Daddy. But Kenneth B. Johnson, a senior fellow for the Seymour Institute for Advanced Christian Studies, sees nothing funny about the nearly 70 percent out-of-wedlock birthrate that the National Center for Health Statistics reports plagues today's black children, a figure over double that for whites. As a result, black children are also exponentially more likely to grow up poor. High illegitimacy rates have become so pervasive, says Johnson, that he frequently sees black teenagers "who've never seen a wedding."
Other black conservative leaders, like Maryland's former lieutenant governor Michael Steele, the first black elected statewide official in Maryland history, says that skyrocketing black illegitimacy rates represent a body blow to the black American community. "Within the black community there has emerged a kind of disconnect from the value system that anchored it," Steele told me. "In fighting slavery, fighting segregation, fighting all of those things that would tear the family apart, that's when we were our strongest. In slavery, no matter how many times they took a mother away from a child, that bond could not be broken. The family found a way to strengthen itself from that horrible experience.... Strength in family is the ultimate strength of the black community. The strength of the black community is the family."
Liberals scoff at those like former lt. governor Steele who champion the traditional two-parent family structure and the values that come with it as optimal. Instead, they contend that the dissolution of the traditional family, the explosion of "baby mamas," and multigenerational poverty are widespread phenomena. After all, they argue, Murphy Brown was the first prominent baby mama,' and she was white , rich, and happy. Single motherhood is universal; poverty can be cyclical and common to all races, not just blacks.
But the facts don't bear this out. "Not so," says Kay S. Hymowitz, a research fellow at the Manhattan Institute. "It is a largely low-income-and disproportionately black-phenomenon. Entrenched multigenerational poverty is largely black; and it is intricately intertwined with the collapse of the nuclear family in the inner city. The truth is that we are now a two-family nation, separate and unequal-one thriving and intact, and the other struggling, broken, and far too often African-American."
Most Americans recognize that over the last forty years there has been a breakdown of the traditional family. And over the last few years that breakdown has accelerated. Just ask Thomas B. Edsall, former Washington Post political reporter. In his 2006 book, Building Red America, Edsall notes that almost 70 percent of black children and one-third of all children are born to unmarried mothers. He then launches into this jaw-dropping passage: "To social conservatives, these developments have signaled an irretrievable and tragic loss. Their reaction has fueled, on the right, a powerful traditionalist movement and a groundswell of support for the Republican Party. To modernists, these developments constitute, at worst, the unfortunate costs of progress, and at best-and this is very much the view on the political left as of the Democratic Party loyalists-they constitute the triumph over unconscionable obstacles to the liberation of the self-realization of much of the human race."
Rather than lament this state of affairs, many liberals see this as a positive. This isn't the mainstream view-but it is the view of modern Democrats as Edsall reveals in his book. Most Americans do not believe that marriage is an instrument of oppression, an institution whose time has come and gone. They definitely don't believe that the destruction of the traditional family is in any way a "triumph." Nor do they feel that one-third of all births occurring out of wedlock are "unfortunate costs of progress."
Currently, one out-of-wedlock birth occurs every thirty-five seconds in America. The pathologies of broken homes have wreaked havoc on children and young mothers-black and white, rich and poor.
And rather than work to ameliorate this phenomenon, liberals in Washington are practically cheering it on. The truth is that many liberals have long been antifamily and antimarriage. In the late '50s and early '60s, when liberal social planners were busy building the modern welfare state that would someday trap and destroy poor and minority families and squelch opportunity, radical feminists were getting their start, too. Heritage Fellows Patrick F. Fagan, Robert E. Rector, and Lauren R. Noyes retraced radical feminists' antimarriage agenda from the late 1960s forward. What they uncovered would shock and alarm most Americans. Fortunately for their exploitation agenda, liberals have done such a bang-up job of bamboozling minorities that most Americans are unaware of the radical ideology pushed by many liberals. Here then, in their own words, is a taste of the feminists' antimarriage, antifamily rhetoric over four decades:
1969 "The institution of marriage is the chief vehicle for the perpetuation of the oppression of women." -University of Chicago sociology professor Marlene Dixon
1970 "The family is ... directly connected to-is even the cause of-the ills of the larger society." -Shulamith Firestone, author of The Dialectic of Sex
1983 "Like prostitution, marriage is an institution that is extremely oppressive and dangerous to women." -Feminist author Andrea Dworkin
1992 "The family is the primary site of female subjection, which is achieved largely through sexuality." -Marilyn French, author of the landmark social criticism, The War Against Women, which liberal Gloria Steinem lauded: "If you could read only one book about what's wrong with this country, THE WAR AGAINST WOMEN is it."
2001 "I think promoting marriage as a goal in and of itself is misguided ... Marrying women off to get them out of poverty is not only backward, it is insulting to women. -N.O.W. president Kim Gandy
This proxy war against men in general and marriage in particular has, over time, chipped away at the way many women view men and the institution of marriage. I interviewed the popular television personality and real-life judge, the Honorable Joe Brown, about his impressions on this subject. He says that this is a trend he's observed as a judge:
If I took your typical female parent who has a boy between four and seven, which is when human character is formed, and asked them what they thought of the merits of involving a man in the upbringing of that child, they would say something that would culminate in an utterance of, "What good is a man for? I don't see why you need one involved." And someone would Amen it and go, "I hear you, honey; what you need a man for?! They ain't good for nothing!" And I would say how are you going to raise your boy children if you don't know what they are supposed to be good for when they are grown?
While some alarmists recognize the devastating effects that the breakdown in the American family has had on the black community, these consequences are beginning to be seen in the mainstream community as well.
How did it get this way? How did this happen? What accounts for a near-fatherless generation where marriage is rare and baby daddies are commonplace? And how did black children become disproportionately more likely to grow up in poverty than white children? Are things getting better or worse?
The liberal line is that poverty is caused by a vicious brew of "institutional" racism-conservative policies promoted by racist Republicans-combined with high incarceration rates of black males. In the fashion typical of bamboozlers, these liberals have it exactly backwards. Conservative policy prescriptions aren't the cause of underachievement for minorities and the poor, they're the cure. And furthermore, Republicans advocate policies that recognize the innate value of all humans, as opposed to the liberal policies that demean the poor and disadvantaged by encouraging victimhood.
Still, answering the above questions means focusing on two wrecking balls liberals have slammed against families for over forty years: 1) an aversion, and in some cases outright hostility, toward encouraging and promoting two-parent families as the best vehicle for positive child rearing and economic uplift, and 2) the expansion of welfare and government giveaways as a surrogate father, essentially making Uncle Sam a "baby daddy."
Consider that in 1960, only 5.3 percent of all children in America were born out of wedlock; by 2004, that figure had rocketed up to 35.7 percent.
Minnesota radical feminists Nancy Lehmann and Helen Fullinger say, "Male society sold us the idea of marriage ... Now we know it is the institution that has failed us and we must work to destroy it."
That feminists today remain an integral and influential component of the Democratic Party is hardly surprising. To their credit, a handful of more moderate feminists follow the late Betty Friedan's ideology and have distanced themselves from the virulently antifamily thrust of the feminist movement. Likewise, aware of the political public relations consequences of an antimarriage, antifamily agenda, shrewd Democrats like former president Bill Clinton and former vice president Al Gore have been careful to sprinkle their public statements with token nods to marriage and family. But few leaders in the party dare to seriously challenge feminist ortho- doxies and their power and influence within the party. After all, why would they? Feminist groups, such as N.O.W. and Emily's List, rake in huge sums of cash for candidates running as Democrats and related causes.
But feminists didn't single-handedly cause the lurch into the near-fatherless generation-what Judge Brown calls "a nonexistent family" and "more of a breeding unit than a family" in America. Indeed, for those familiar with the data on illegitimacy rates over the past four decades, the current cultural quagmire is hardly surprising. Because they are a majority, whites account for the highest total number of out-of-wedlock births. But the out-of-wedlock birthrate varies widely between whites, Latinos, and blacks, breaking down 28 percent for whites, 45 percent for Latinos, and 68 percent for blacks.
Ever since the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan published his now famous-which liberals might refer to as infamous-1965 report, "The Negro Family: The Case for National Action," liberals have demonized as "judgmental" and "callous" anyone who emphasized the virtues of two-parent families, traditional marriage, and personal responsibility. During a National Press Club event, Reverend Eugene Rivers III, president of the Seymour Institute, noted that when Moynihan sounded the alarm about the consequences of high black illegitimacy rates over forty years ago, he was "condemned and pilloried as misinformed, malevolent and even racist."
The black illegitimacy rate Moynihan referred to was 25 percent then. Today, if the illegitimacy rate among blacks could be lowered to 25 percent, it would be considered a monumental achievement. Yet as soon as Moynihan drew attention to the issue, feminists and liberal civil rights leaders pounced. Why was Moynihan attacked when his intentions were noble? The answer, of course, is that high-lighting the devastating pathologies associated with high out-of-wedlock communities threatened to shift public debate to calls for increased personal responsibility, greater parental monitoring of teen sexual behavior, limiting liberal media glorifications of promis-cuity, and, most damningly, encouraging advocacy for strong two-parent families.
Excerpted from BAMBOOZLED by ANGELA McGLOWAN Copyright © 2007 by Angela McGlowan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.