I was over at Very Smart Brothers tonight, and the topic title is "1984 and More: How Important Is It To Spread The Right Seeds?"
The question was: "Do you think that “people like us” [literate blacks, compared to the uneducated] are obligated to start having more children, or is this too eerily similar to the “selective engineering” that Hitler was in favor of?"
To put this in better context, one thought was that we aren't pulling our weight while the underclass is outdoing us in the baby-making department.
One comment brought back memories:
"You all saw the first 10 minutes of “Idiocracy”, right?"
That person had a point. My Dad used to talk about this, decades before the movie or my birth. I thought he was terrible for thinking like this, but he explained it this way:
"Before welfare or desegregation, everyone (all blacks) were clustered in one area in any given town or city... the smart with the dumb, and the good with the bad apples. Kept things and the population more balanced."
As I see it, five major cultural changes tipped that balance:
1. Huge low income housing tracs for clusters of the impoverished (which became ghettos, for the most part), rather than sprinkling in low income housing throughout a city,
2. Flight of the educated (black) middle class to their own enclaves,
3. Better birth control & the feminist drop-yo'-panties-before-marriage movement, and
4. The legalization of abortions in 1973 and initial placement of 80% of the clinics in predominantly black areas, and
5. The increase of drug use (which indirectly increases babies by drug abusers or addicts, who, along with poverty, often have too much drama in their lives to put their kids first).
By the 1980s, educated blacks, usually middle class or heading there, were not reproducing themselves. Meanwhile, the huddled masses of the poor and uneducated were, to the point of over-representation.
Poor folks tend to fall in two categories: the working poor, so they're off at their one or two jobs with shitty, rotating hours, or the chronically-on-welfare poor, who are often too dysfunctional to work. Kids from either type of families have it tough, and it's no secret that it's harder to learn in school if your parents can't teach you the basics at home.
White folks have not been immune to this trend either; like all of American cultural pathology, as a rule they're only 10 to 15 years behind us. Their numbers of poor, uneducated, and unmarried baby mama situations are catching up fast with us and have been since the scale tipped in the 70s.
Think of black folks as canaries in a coal mine, and you'll get an idea of what's ahead for America.
It's all a consequence of the five basic things that tipped the scale and changed not only black American culture, but white American culture too.
The sticky part comes with trying to link genetics with innate intellectual abilities.
Europe, overwhelmed with the poor and class issues, shipped their dummies (serfs and peasants to become servants), and trouble-makers (rebels screaming for freedom) and hoodrats (the destitute who turn to crime) to the new frontier, America.
Now compare them to us. We certainly have our share of alleged dummies, trouble-makers, and hoodrats, too, don't we? Ain't that coincidence!
Was it the "questionable genetics" of their offspring that made our country great, or the opportunities to buy (or steal) land cheap, and make a living off their own sweat (and ours, for free)?
Call it Kit's Social Experiment, but frankly, I wish we could all afford to and had the nerve to move back to the last frontier, our motherland, Africa, and have 150 years of non-interference from the U.S. and other countries and corporations hell-bent on exploiting and raping that continent.
I think most of our progeny would be as awesome as the America that evolved before poorly regulated corporate greed completely took over. But this is just a fantasy.
As for our reality, I think the black, educated middle class needs to marry more, and at the least, replace themselves.
Only about 1/4 of my childhood friends and college classmates, both male and female, have done so. One old friend (as in platonic) from my teen years comes to mind. He's now a high ranking military guy. Many years ago, he was a much lower rank and he married his high school sweetheart, a black med student. They were both from middle class families.
She couldn't settle into their marriage. He thinks their education turned into an unexpected class issue between them. In other words, she really wanted her professional equivalent. Just before they married, he was toying around with the idea of going to med school too, but changed his mind. Even though she thought she loved him, his decision was a deal breaker for her.
It's tough for a black female physician to find a social equivalent in a dating partner, and most of the ones I know never got married, including two BFF's. His wife, not understanding this, left him within a year. She never remarried or had kids.
Neither did he. He threw himself into his work and became successful in everything except finding a new love. It was partly a case of once bitten, twice shy.
Ten years ago I asked him why he thought the no-marriage, no-babies script happened to us and so many of our friends, all educated and middle class.
He said, "Our generation was very selfish. We put education and career and before everything else, which was easy because getting sex was too easy and required little or no commitment."
Call me sexist, but hearing this from a man was stunning.
"Do you regret not trying marriage again?"
"Absolutely," he said, looking fondly at my adopted daughter who was small at the time. "I'd have been a great father."
I'll squeeze in here that a lot of black professional women in the helping fields don't marry either. For one, these fields are dominated by women, so meeting eligible men in the workplace or at conferences is unlikely. And two, they're so busy helping the disadvantaged, their students, clients, or patients improve their lives that they're tired after work and neglect their personal life. By the time they hit their mid-30s, and God forbid, 40, they also attract fewer men, so ladies, take that as a hint.
It's about dawn now, and I shake my head at my generation's mistakes, and I wonder what the black socio-economic-cultural landscape would look like now, if we had done things differently then. There would certainly be more of us in their 30s and younger, and for those who were born with opportunities, many are repeating our mistakes.
Again, it makes me long for a fresh start for American blacks... and for Africa.
"Once Upon A Time In Kenya"
By artist/photographer/blogger, Ben Heine