A liberal columnist at The New York Times admitted Thursday that some on the left have ignored how the breakdown of the family has greatly contributed to the wealth inequality and child poverty they fight to fix.
Times opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof stated in his piece that the issue is liberals’ “blind spot” and that ignoring the “existence of two-parent privilege” for children furthers “the apparatus of inequality in the United States.”
Kristof described the reluctance liberals have for discussing the breakdown of the family unit.
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“American liberals have led the campaign to reduce child poverty since Franklin Roosevelt, and it’s a proud legacy. But we have long had a blind spot,” he declared, adding, “We are often reluctant to acknowledge one of the significant drivers of child poverty — the widespread breakdown of family — for fear that to do so would be patronizing or racist.”
Kristof continued, saying, “It’s an issue largely for working-class Whites, Blacks and Hispanics, albeit most prevalent among African Americans. But just as you can’t have a serious conversation about poverty without discussing race, you also can’t engage unless you consider single-parent households.”
The columnist then broke down how single-parent homes contribute to poverty. He wrote, “Families headed by single mothers are five times as likely to live in poverty as married-couple families. Children in single-mother homes are less likely to graduate from high school or earn a college degree. They are more likely to become single parents themselves, perpetuating the cycle.”
The column cited University of Maryland economist Melissa Kearney, who acknowledged that “The data present some uncomfortable realities,” but observed, “two-parent families are beneficial for children. Places that have more two-parent families have higher rates of upward mobility. Not talking about these facts is counterproductive.”
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He also cited the late former U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s warning that “family breakdown would exacerbate social problems.”
Kristof chastised liberals for turning a blind eye to such points, noting Moynihan was denounced by liberals for racism and victim-blaming.”
“But even today there is a deep discomfort in liberal circles about acknowledging these realities,” he added. He also cited an upcoming report by the Institute for Family Studies noting that “only 30 percent of college-educated liberals agree” that children are better off having married parents.
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