Really Dangerous

Via a reader, this story:

A publisher has said it will stop selling a GCSE textbook after it was found to contain stereotypes about Caribbean families.

The paragraph in the sociology of families section of the book reads: “In Caribbean families, the fathers and husbands are largely absent and women assume the most responsibility in childrearing.

Is this true?

The lone parent charity Gingerbread says that in families of Black or minority ethnic backgrounds, 21% are single parent families compared with 16% nationally. The parent’s gender is not stated.

Not quite “largely absent”, then. Anyway:

People on social media have called the text “racist”.

Of course.

Tamu Thomas is from Motherhood Reconstructed, which celebrates black British mothers.

I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like if you were a black child, sitting in class and reading a statement like that.

I suppose it depends on whether the child is in the 21% cohort who has no father at home.

“I do acknowledge that the number of families with absent fathers is higher in the black community, proportionally. But when something is put forward as fact like that without explaining the historical reasons why that might be the case, without any context, that’s really dangerous.”

What historical reasons would they be, then?

“If we had an educational system that actually studied and analysed the black experience, including the impact of the slave trade and racism in society, it would be different,” Tamu says.

So it’s okay to say, quite correctly, that children in Caribbean families are more likely to grow up without a father – but only if slavery and racism are to blame. Now slavery ended in the Caribbean in 1834; I confess I’d quite like to attend a class explaining why this is the cause of men abandoning children they fathered in the past ten years or so.


17 thoughts on “Really Dangerous

  1. The ‘historical reasons’ are bunkem.

    I bet, although would like to see data, that older generations, the ones closer to ancestors who were slaves had fewer absentee fathers.

    I know Thomas Sowell looked into this in the USA and found absentee rates much lower in the generations closer to the time of slavery and thus concluded that the ‘legacy’ of slavery had nothing to do with modern increases in absenteeism.

    Furthermore lots of other groups around the world have experienced similar or greater horrors within living memory and do they show similar levels of absenteeism?

    I hate this dishonest manipulation of history to excuse modern behaviour.

    The experience of racism may have an impact on such things but I fail to see how it’s anything but a minor factors explaining disproportionate rates due to the fact white fathers also go absent and racism isn’t part of their experience and other groups experience racism.

    Mind you a five percent higher rate than average definitely does not translate at all to ‘largely absent’. So I can understand the objection to the wording.

  2. So I can understand the objection to the wording.

    The textbook is stupid, the reaction of those the BBC chooses to profile more so.

  3. What’s not given, in the 79% non-single parent Afro-Caribbean families, is the proportion of parents not related to all or some of the children. Black society has a high incidence of the migratory male. So, although a snap-shot in time might produce that 79% figure, the continuity of the male parent over a longer period is likely to be considerably different & which families are in the 79% & which in the 21% a constantly changing variable.

  4. Worth pointing out that the 21% is for ‘black or minority ethnic’, so not just black and not even just black Caribbean. The real numbers for Caribbean families is merged with Indian Hindus, Pakistani Muslim and other groups who are far less likely to form single parent households than white British people.

    I suspect that means the actual % of single parent Caribbean households is pretty spectacular.

    And that’s why Tamu Thomas has got all shirty and is blathering about slavery. If the real number was 21%, compared with an average of 16%, she would simply and rightly say the book was inaccurate. But she knows it is dead right and shows up the failure of her community.

  5. One also wonders if there’s a difference between single-parent families on paper and the reality of absentee fathers, i.e. how many households are nominally two parent but in reality dad’s never there.

    One also struggles to take seriously the “lone parent charity Gingerbread”.

  6. According to the Runnymede Trust:
    ’59 per cent of black Caribbean, 44 per cent of black African children and 61 per cent of children in mixed race households grow up in single parent families, while the overall proportion of children in the UK living with a lone parent is 22 per cent.’
    It is, of course, politically explosive that the relative collapse of the black nuclear family has happened and that the resulting impact this has on e.g. knife crime is all too predictable.

  7. Robert Harries

    “I know Thomas Sowell looked into this in the USA and found absentee rates much lower in the generations closer to the time of slavery and thus concluded that the ‘legacy’ of slavery had nothing to do with modern increases in absenteeism.”

    Depends on the slavery. I think you will find the correlation between them becoming slaves of the Democrat party and absentee rates very strong indeed.

  8. @Patrick.
    Why are you talking about “the relative collapse of the black nuclear family “? Is there any evidence “the black nuclear family” had any relative prominance to collapse from?

  9. BiS
    Good question. I don’t know to be honest. Were the Windrush generation all single parents too? Maybe. I think we were all a lot more socially conservative 50 years ago – blacks too. But I have no numbers or evidence to prove it.

    And here’s a question: ‘Are lefties viciously anti anyone talking about the shittiness of single parenthood / sexual abandon outcomes because it might reflect badly on blacks or viciously anti anyone talking about average black life outcomes because that might reflect badly on single parenthood / sexual abandon’?

  10. Is there any evidence “the black nuclear family” had any relative prominance to collapse from?

    Yes. At least in the US; Thomas Sowell and Bill Cosby have both written and spoken extensively on this.

  11. Were black families two parent before slavery? I doubt if anyone knows. Are black non-enslaved families two parent? That could be found out. Unless a difference can be shown slavery is irrelevant.
    And why after six or seven generations have black Caribbeans not figured out what’s best for their own children and grandchildren? Could it be connected with what they are taught, in schools and via the media? Perhaps the incentives offered by the welfare state have a bearing?
    I’m pretty sure that two parent families were a lot more common in the fifties than now for people of any colour, as Thos. Sowell documented for the US, so what got worse?
    Finally, we need approaches that will improve things now and for the future, and I doubt harping on things that our grandparents ‘ grandparents never experienced will provide them.

  12. All the black fathers are living with white women, if TV advertising is to be believed.

    Though I suppose, like all advertising, it’s meant to be aspirational.

  13. @Daniel Ream

    Bill Cosby unperson! Thoughtcrime, thoughtcrime! Double-plus-ungood!


    Another excellent point. That 21% statistic was high-quality obfuscation, wasn’t it?

  14. Who cares? what our vibrant community does or doesn’t do has no impact on me given my self induced state of apartheid, plenty of others I know are quite rigorous in their avoidance of the exotic food and dance community.

  15. The African norm before colonialization was single parent families headed by women. This is a result of the fact that the African climate generally permits productive agriculture requiring only light labor—gardening. There is no need for heavy male labor. In Eurasia, the climate requires male labor both in hunting-gathering societies and farming societies, hence the stable nuclear family—the female parent only family is not viable.

    Out of Africa was a speciation event. The norms of Eurasia do not apply to Africa. Everywhere it is possible, Africans revert to the female only parent pattern. This is the genetic norm for Africans. When and where there were African nuclear families, complete with mother and father, it was imposed by Europeans.

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