Monday, February 22, 2010

Star Parker: It's Time To Stop Wandering The Wilderness

Star Parker: It's Time To Stop Wandering The Wilderness

12:00 AM CST on Monday, February 22, 2010

Black History Month 2010 is not a great time for a party. Unemployment at almost 10 percent, and well over 16 percent among blacks, doesn't make for much of a festive mood.

But if the mood is not festive, shouldn't it be reflective?

Certainly, there's reason for pride in black achievement in the 40-plus years since the civil rights movement. We've now got a couple black billionaires and a black president. The percentage of blacks with college degrees is three times greater now than in 1970.

But black household income is still just 62 percent of white households. The black poverty rate, at twice the national average, has hardly budged since the late 1960s.

The accumulation of considerable black political power has made hardly a difference. Black economic distress is not a political problem.

Studies show that it's family and education that produces success in America. Income correlates with education and education correlates with family background.

Consider that in 1970, 62 percent of black women were married compared to 33 percent today; 74 percent of black men were married, compared to 44 percent today.

In 1970, 5 percent of black mothers were never married compared to 41 percent today.

The civil rights movement was, of course, a religiously inspired and led movement. It made liberal use of the biblical imagery of the Exodus of the Israelite slaves from Egypt.

But the story of the liberation of the Israelite slaves did not end with their release from their Egyptian taskmasters. They proceeded to the mountain in the wilderness to receive the law to take with them and live by in the Promised Land.

When it was clear that the former Egyptian slaves were not up to the task, they were condemned to wander for 40 years in the wilderness so that a new generation would arise, enter the land and build the nation.

Let's recall that the law they received was about family (honor your parents), property and ownership (thou shalt not steal) and being concerned about building your own and not what your neighbor has (thou shalt not covet).

Rather than seeking redemption through this law, post-civil rights movement black leaders sought redemption in politics. The welfare state, entitlements, transfer payments and the politics of differences and envy. Should we be surprised by the result?

It's time for a new generation of black Americans to step forward. A generation to turn to the truths that will rebuild black lives, black families and lead blacks to the freedom that Dr. King and all blacks have dreamed about.

Star Parker is president of CURE, Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education, and can be reached at

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