SOME THOUGHTS ON Marriage and the Black Family. “Despite the determined pursuit of marital unions by freed people, enduring patterns of non-normative male-female relationships had been created by the devastating experience of slavery. These bore bitter fruit in the 25-percent out-of-wedlock birthrate that prompted the Moynihan Report in 1965.”

When in doubt, blame slavery. But the rate of illegitimate births among blacks was lower in the early twentieth century than it was at the time of the Moynihan Report, which in turn was lower than it was decades later. (See the Hoover Institution publication, African American Marriage Patterns, page 102 [PDF page 8]. The rate in 1940 was 17%, and in 1995 rate was 70%.)

Anyway, later in the essay, the author suggests what not to do: signal a return to traditional marriage.

Traditional marriage, though in theory based on the complementarity of man and woman, often resulted in profoundly unfair treatment of women and even in a fundamental devaluation of our worth relative to men. This model also frequently led to extremely unjust treatment and marginalization of gays and lesbians. This includes discrimination in work settings, unfair property laws, and a lack of recognition of the longing of all people for deep emotional connections. We must send the message that we will not return to those bad old days.

Yes, those bad old days of 17% illegitimacy among blacks. Those bad old days when most black children had (presumably) biological fathers in the home. Let’s not go back to that. Better to replace fathers with the welfare state and maintain the status quo of no-fault divorce while expressing worry over the “definition of marriage.”

UPDATE: Related thoughts here: “It’s just political correctness to blame ‘slavery’ for something that was clearly caused by feminism (you don’t need a man to raise a child) and the introduction of massive welfare programs that pay women to have babies out of wedlock.”