On Fatherlessness

A friend of mine posted the following statement on Facebook.

Fatherlessness is a root cause of many societal ailments.

I would agree that fatherlessness is indeed problematic.

And Black families are more likely to be lead by a single parent than white, Asian, or Hispanic/Latino families.

But what is the root of fatherlessness, specifically in Black families?

Let’s explore.

While Black men sometimes do willingly walk away from their families, I’d argue that the problem at large is less of a result of Black men willingly abandoning their families, but more of a result of systemic racism in action.

Hear me out.

According to pewresearch.org* 98% of criminal charges never see a trial.

This means that if you are arrested and charged with a crime, small or large, there’s a very high chance you won’t have a chance to walk away without serving some time. You’re faced with the choice of accepting a plea deal with a lesser sentence or going to trial and serving the max sentence.

Since more than 90% of all trials end up with a guilty verdict**, folks that have been arrested and charged almost always take the plea deal because they know that if they choose to go to trial, they’re almost guaranteed (greater than 90% chance) to serve the max sentence, whether they committed the crime or not.

While white males have a 1 in 17 chance of being arrested in their life, black males have a 1 in 3 chance of being arrested.

The rate of black arrests is 5x that of white arrests.

So if black males are arrested at a much higher rate, and anyone charged has a 97% chance of never going to trial or 90% chance of a guilty conviction of a trial happens, you do the math.

Our prisons our filled with black men.

Our Black families are left fatherless.

To further compound the problem, once you’ve served time in prison, there’s an 83% chance*** you will return to prison.

The system is very heavily in favor of keeping Black men in our prisons, away from their families.


** https://www.google.com/…/not-guilty…/%3FoutputType%3Damp

*** https://www.google.com/…/once-a-criminal-always-a…/

Posted by Jason Bahl

Principal Software Engineer at WP Engine in Denver, CO. I love problem solving and working with WordPress. I'm the creator and maintainer of WPGraphQL. I'm passionate about Open Source software and the web. When I'm not writing code, you'll find me spending time with my beautiful wife Rachel and my 2 sons Andrew and Blake. I also enjoy playing and watching soccer.

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