Jewish World Review June 24, 2002 / 14 Tamuz, 5762
On page 62, Moore opines: "African-Americans have been on the lowest rung of the economic ladder since the day they were beaten and dragged here in chains -- and they have never made it off that rung, not for a single damn day."
Moore then goes on to say that the average income for a black American is 61 percent less than for a white American, and that white society is the reason why. He states that he is angry with this and we should all be teed off, and, well, you get the picture.
But the picture painted by Michael Moore is not sitting motionless on the wall. No, the picture is spinning like crazy, because what Mr. Moore sees is not what responsible black Americans get.
According to the latest census, black married couples earn 82 percent of what white married couples make. For married blacks, the median income is $50,729. For married whites the median is $60,080. And because the majority of African-Americans live in the South, where salaries and living costs are lower -- that income figure gap is really closer in reality than it is on paper.
What skews the overall black income statistics down are black single mothers. An astounding 70 percent of African-American babies are born out-of-wedlock, as opposed to 27 percent for whites. Government statistics show that a single mother heads 53 percent of black families, and most of those families fall below the poverty line.
So Michael Moore has spun the stats to make it look like the United States is a place where opportunity is denied to responsible, stable black Americans. This is absolutely false.
Now, there is no question that the black family structure was devastated by slavery and that catastrophe continues to this day in some situations. But wallowing in the past will not raise anyone's income. It will, however, provide an excuse for irresponsible behavior and serial failure.
What Michael Moore and many other social commentators do is to present a doomsday scenario to Americans who desperately need encouragement and hope. If you work hard and live an honest life, free of crippling mistakes like having babies in your teens, you can earn a good living in America no matter what color you are. That's the truth. There are jobs and opportunities everywhere. But you must develop discipline to succeed in those jobs.
Instead of pandering to the "reparations" crowd, Mr. Moore should be laying it on the line. There are plenty of stupid white men, but stupidity is not inhibited by color. If you are going to drop out of high school, have kids without a spouse and fail to develop a commercial skill, you most likely will be poor. That's capitalism. The strong and well educated compete, the weak and poorly educated fall. Color is no longer a factor.
But it is a crutch. I get angry when people like Michael Moore use the "whitey" excuse. Sure there is bigotry in this country. Of course it is difficult to emerge from an inner city. But it can be done, and millions of African-Americans have proved it. Don't insult their hard work and determination by denigrating an economic system that rewards diligence and persistence.
I know Michael Moore, and I like him. He's a guy who challenges corrupt authority and uses skepticism like a blowtorch. But Moore has an agenda. He believes that corporate America is rotten and that the working class gets screwed. That is true in part. But take it from me -- you can outsmart the corporate weasels, and you can market your natural talent if you understand the system. Fighting the power is mostly a waste of time if you want to improve yourself financially.
Instead of blaming stupid white men for the ills of black society, Moore and others should be asking all African-Americans to wise up and get in the game. Education, skill and pride in your work will overcome entrenched stupidity in the long run. Stable black American couples all over the United States are demonstrating that America remains the land of opportunity if you understand the geography. Forget the defeatist spin -- every American can earn a good life.
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06/170/02: Blank those Europeans!