Half a Century of Blaming White Racism for Black America's Problems
White racism is essentially responsible for the explosive mixture which has been accumulating in our cities since the end of World War II.
Segregation and poverty have created in the racial ghetto a destructive environment totally unknown to most white Americans. What white Americans have never fully understood but what the Negro can never forget – is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.
Detroit Riot, 1967 (Flickr).
The Commission shall investigate and make recommendations with respect to:(1) The origins of the recent major civil disorders in our cities, including the basic causes and factors leading to such disorders and the influence, if any, of organizations or individuals dedicated to the incitement or encouragement of violence;(2) The development of methods and techniques for averting or controlling such disorders, including the improvement of communications between local authorities and community groups, the training of state and local law enforcement and National Guard personnel in dealing with potential or actual riot situations, and the coordination of efforts of the various law enforcement and governmental units which may become involved in such situations;(3) The appropriate role of the local, state and Federal authorities in dealing with civil disorders; and(4) Such other matters as the President may place before the Commission.
- Edward Brooke, senator (R-Mass.)
- Fred R. Harris, senator (D-Okla.)
- James Corman, congressman (D-Calif.)
- William McCulloch, congressman (R-Ohio)
- Charles Thornton, founder of defense contractor Litton Industries
- Roy Wilkins, executive director of the NAACP
- I.W. Abel, president of U.S. Steelworkers of America
- Herbert Turner Jenkins, police chief, Atlanta, Georgia
- Katherine Graham Peden, commissioner of commerce, Kentucky
- David Ginsburg, commission executive director appointed by President Johnson
... a commitment to national action – compassionate, massive and sustained, backed by the resources of the most powerful and the richest nation on this earth. From every American it will require new attitudes, new understanding, and, above all, new will.
Three years earlier, in March, 1965 then-Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan had published a report, The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, sparking a national reaction and some backlash, for suggesting that changes in family structure among black Americans, not just racial discrimination, were at fault for many of their social ills.The report did mention family structure in passing, seeing it as derivative of economic factors:The culture of poverty that results from unemployment and family breakup generates a system of ruthless, exploitative relationships within the ghetto. Prostitution, dope addiction, and crime create an environmental "jungle" characterized by personal insecurity and tension. Children growing up under such conditions are likely participants in civil disorder. ...As a result of slavery and long periods of unemployment, the Negro family structure had become matriarchal; the males played a secondary and marginal family role--one which offered little compensation for their hard and unrewarding labor. Above all, segregation denied Negroes access to good jobs and the opportunity to leave the ghetto. For them, the future seemed to lead only to a dead end.
Require that all states receiving federal welfare contributions participate in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children Unemployed Parents program (AFDC-UP) that permits assistance to families with both father and mother in the home, thus aiding the family while it is still intact.