Other Democrats seem woefully ignorant about what Moynihan’s warnings mean for us today. At an April hearing of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald testified that while unjustified police shootings were an outrage, the problem of the black crime rate was an equal problem “at the very least.” “There are young black men who are being killed at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic young men combined,” she said. “Any discussion of policing crime and race cannot ignore the black crime rate, and if you want to look at causes, I think family breakdown is . . . the most salient.”
Commissioner Karen Narasaki, an Obama appointee, promptly dismissed Mac Donald’s analysis. “Communities need to feel like they’ve been treated fairly, and at some point it doesn’t actually matter whether the reality is of what police are doing. The perception becomes reality, and that’s what we have to address. So I don’t want to engage on that. I have other questions that I want to ask, but I just wanted to lay that out. And I’m sorry that I’m not giving you a chance [to respond].” When another commissioner objected that Mac Donald wasn’t being given a chance to respond, the commission ignored her and went on to other matters.
We engage in such ostrich-like behavior at our peril. Gregory Acs, a scholar at the progressive Urban Institute recently released a new review of the findings of the Moynihan Report. In a podcast for NPR, he discussed some of the conclusions in his review, warning: “If we let kids grow up in poverty, in single families, going to bad schools, they’re going to grow up to become dependent adults. The cycle will just repeat.”