* 1965 *
The Moynihan Report
The Moynihan Report
Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a liberal democrat who was appointed by President Kennedy to be Assistant Secretary of Labor and stayed on during the Johnson Administration. In 1965, Moynihan produced a report on the then current state of the Negro family in America. The primary purpose of the the report was to inform America that the Negro family was in major crisis, due - as Moynihan saw it - to the cycle of poverty bred by an unstable family unit (specifically in urban America). Moynihan also decided to use his report to provide an explanation for the economic differences between the white race and the black race (white people's standard of living was, obviously, much higher than blacks). In Moynihan's subjective opinion , he basically attributed the lower standard of living by black people in America to the legacy of slavery. Yes, this was nice safe ground, as no one could prove him wrong. But rather than staying within the safe ground of the legacy of slavery, Moynaihn decided, no doubt in an effort to appear to be fair-minded, to venture into the realm of "competence testing," suggesting that nature itself could very well be playing a part in creating the economic disparity between the two racial groups. That is, white people may be endowed with a higher degree of intelligence than blacks. Of course, self-anointed leaders from the black race were furious. Moynihan's suggestion also contradicted the ideology he inferred the gov’t was now committing itself to regarding black economic desolation (the legacy of slavery was the root caused for the economic problems of the black race).
The report ended up costing Moynihan his job. 1
End of the Beginning : The Report began with a declaration that America was now in a new state of affairs, that there had been a “Negro American revolution”. Negroes had achieved their integration (with the help of the Johnson and Kennedy Administrations). Now there was an “End of the Beginning”. They (blacks) had won something no male group had ever won : the “right” to be integrated into another race’s social stratification system - though it need also be mentioned that no other male group ever demanded such a thing in human history. The next step for blacks (actually the federal government's next step) was “equality.” But equality for the blacks was to have a different meaning. According to the Moynihan Report:
“The demand for Equality of Opportunity has been generally perceived by white Americans as a demand for liberty, a demand not to be excluded from the competitions of life - at the polling place, in the scholarship examinations, at the personnel office, on the housing market. Liberty does, of course, demand that everyone be free to try his luck, or test his skill in such matters. But these opportunities do not necessarily produce equality: on the contrary, to the extent that winners imply losers, equality of opportunity almost insures inequality of results.
The point of semantics is that equality of opportunity now has a different meaning for Negroes than it has for whites. It is not (or at least no longer) a demand for liberty alone, but also for equality - in terms of group results.”
In other words people, blacks, as a racial group, must be equal in all things with white people. That is, all statistical economic differences must be racially level. And how was this new definition of equality to be achieved for the American Negro? By integration , taxation and new government programs.
Monyihan then points out the true crux of the failings of the black race in America (as the white liberals saw it) : the disintegration of the black family unit.
“The evidence -- not final, but powerfully persuasive -- is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling. A middle-class group has managed to save itself, but for vast numbers of the unskilled, poorly educated city working class the fabric of conventional social relationships has all but disintegrated. There are indications that the situation may have been arrested in the past few years, but the general post-war trend is unmistakable. So long as this situation persists, the cycle of poverty and disadvantage will continue to repeat itself.”
“The white family has achieved a high degree of stability and is
maintaining that stability. By contrast, the family structure of lower
class Negroes is highly unstable, and in many urban centers is
approaching complete breakdown.”
And what caused this family breakdown? Well, Moynihan (and the Johnson Administration) couldn’t very well blame the black males (or their cultural constraints - their non-Occupational Ranking nature), so he cites:
“…three centuries of exploitation [slavery and, after 1865, the white man‘s failure to commit to race-nullification] …” “Here the consequences of the historic injustices done to Negro Americans are silent and hidden from view. But here is where the true injury has occurred: unless this damage is repaired, all the effort to end discrimination and poverty and injustice will come to little.”
But how is the Negro family going to be repaired so they could achieve “equality as a group” with the white population?
In Moynihan’s summation he makes it clear that his report is only about “defining a problem” (all related to slavery) and not to “propose solutions to [fix] it.” However, the solution is obvious: massive government intervention into urban black life. What else could possibly be the reason to produce such a report?
Then Moynihan decided to bring up two issues, undoubtedly in an effort to be fair-minded.
The first issue concerned "competence".
“The ultimate mark of inadequate preparation for life is the failure rate on the Armed Forces mental test. The Armed Forces Qualification Test is not quite a mental test, nor yet an education test. It is a test of ability to perform at an acceptable level of competence. It roughly measures ability that ought to be found in an average 7th or 8th grade student. A grown young man who cannot pass this test is in trouble. Fifty-six percent of Negroes fail it. This is a rate almost four times that of the whites.”
The second issue concerned the Negro male's abandonment of his children.
“It may be noted, for example, that for most of the post-war period male Negro unemployment and the number of new AFDC cases rose and fell together as if connected by a chain from 1948 to 1962. The correlation between the two series of data was astonishing. (This would mean that 83 percent of the rise and fall in AFDC cases can be statistically ascribed to the rise and fall in the unemployment rate.) In 1960, however, for the first time, unemployment declined, but the number of new AFDC cases rose [black males had more jobs but black females with children were filing for more government assistance]. In 1963 this happened a second time. In 1964 a third. The possible implications of these and other data are serious enough that they, too, should be understood before program proposals are made.”
The inference in these final two observations here are important as they are ominous. (1) How can the educational system be the suggestive route to opportunity and advancement for the black race if less than half of the black males - for whatever reasons - are only able to reach the performance level more indicative of a child than an adult? (2) How can the government expect to “fix” the Negro urban family (by employing black males and forcing integration into white male-created work groups) if the monies from these jobs are not going to be used - by the Negro males - to support his family?
Time would tell...
1. After this report was made public, and even though members of the media (print or TV) and academia refused to delve into the inferences made by Moynihan, nevertheless, President Johnson immediately banished him from his administration. Black self-anointed leaders claimed he was being racist.