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Nhat Anh Ngo DanSOCI 236: Inequalities in the United StatesProfessor SteinbuglerMarch 5, 2018 The Moynihan Report and President Johnson’s Federal Programs and Policies:A Causal RelationshipOften described as one of the most controversial reports on race and family in America, Daniel P. Moynihan’s The Negro Family: The Case for National Actionsought to provide insight on the effects of the black family structure on pervasive black poverty. Commonly known as “The Moynihan Report,” the study became known for its argument that the matriarchal black family structure was the root of black poverty. The findings from Moynihan’s data suggest that the black family structure, especially those of African Americans in lower class neighborhoods, only created a cycle of unskilled and barely educated people.He urged that the Federal Government adopt a national policy for the reconstruction of the African American family, arguing that the real cause of the American Negro's troubles is not so much segregation, or a lackof voting power, but the circumstance that the structure of the Negro family is highly "unstable and in many urban centers…approaching complete breakdown." This is so, stated Moynihan, because of the increasingly matriarchal character of American Negro society, a society in which ahusband is absent from nearly 2 million of the nation's 5 million Negro families and in which, too, some 25 per cent of all births are illegitimate. Moreover, Moynihan pointed out, children, especially boys, who grow up in fatherless homes tend not to adjust to this country's essentially patriarchal society, particularly when their problems are complicated by poverty and racial prejudice. He writes in his report that, “At the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of Negro
Ngo Dan 2society is the deterioration of the Negro family. It is the fundamental source of the weakness of the Negro community at the present time” (Moynihan, 5). Not only does the Moynihan Report studies the cultural aspects of the African American community, it also critiques the “matriarchal” black family structure and suggests that the constant sense of dependency on mothers in the family weakens black men, ultimately making them less able and less inclined to become the providers for their family. Moynihan also asserts that this pathological structure perpetuated a sense of dependency from children and men on women and thus created a cycle of black poverty: In essence, the Negro community has been forced into a matriarchal structure which,because it is so out of line with the rest of the American society, seriously retards theprogress of the group as a whole and imposes a crushing burden on the Negro male and,in consequence, on a great many Negro women as well (Moynihan, 29).