She blames poverty on ‘collapse of marriage, diminished morals’
Blacks and other venerable groups have been misled for decades and “trapped in a moral state of liberalism,” said Star Parker, the founder and director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), a public policy think tank. She spoke to a sold-out mostly White audience at a November 7 American Experiment lunch forum in downtown Minneapolis.
“I look at data from states and neighborhoods from all across the country [by] race, age and family structure. It doesn’t matter that you’re urban [or] rural — all the data show the exact same thing, that the socioeconomic challenges that these communities are facing are the result of two things: collapse of ethics and collapse of marriage.”
Parker, a former welfare recipient, pointed to President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” policies and programs in the mid-1960s as a possible starting point for the collapse. “There is an emotional cost and an economic cost that has taken a toll on our neighbors.” She stressed that “diminished morals” have adversely affected the Black community.
“Slavery [and] Jim Crow didn’t destroy Black America, but welfare [did],” she told the MSR. “Blacks have to stop denying the reality that some of us are successful and are in the middle class.
“Everybody hates government and big government programs unless it is the one they want,” said Parker, who takes a strong stance against federal government assistance and public funding of abortion, education, housing and other programs. She said these should be functions of local and state governments.
She also advocated for workers to set up their own individual retirement accounts (IRAs). “Rich people are not dependent on Social Security. Social Security is for poor people,” she said. “People should build a stake in their own lives.”
During an audience Q&A, asked what she might say in a private meeting with President Donald Trump, Parker replied she would emphasize the need “to reduce the size of government. It has impacted all of us.”
Asked what her inspiration or role model is, she told 16-year-old Mykel Stewart of North Minneapolis that Harriet Tubman is an inspiration to her. “She [went] against all odds and was resolved,” said the speaker. “I know that I am on a mission. The question is not what White people did to us and we want payback. This generation wants redistribution and revenge. That’s not healthy for anyone.”
Parker’s speech was a hit as her remarks drew frequent applause during and afterward. “It was a little shocking” to hear a Black woman speak out so boldly, Stewart told the MSR.
She said that she had only learned about Parker a couple of weeks earlier when her teacher urged her to research the speaker. “It was a lot to take in,” said the Hope Academy student. “I would definitely hear her again.”
“I think she needs to bring that message to [West] Broadway, to [St. Paul’s] Frogtown,” Rev. Brian Walker said. He, his wife and Stewart were among a handful of Blacks who attended Parker’s speech last week.
“I’m glad there were as many [Blacks] as there were,” Minnesota-based American Experiment President John Hinderaker told the MSR. “We are in the business of reaching people.”
A staff person estimated that students from six local private high schools were among the estimated 230 people who attended last week’s American Experiment event. Parker told the MSR how impressive the students were in the audience.
“I think we had a great mixture of people, particularly from the schools, to see as much African American presence that I saw,” said Parker. “What I hoped that my visit will do is open up more dialogue about what we need to do to fix what’s broken down for our most vulnerable. I hope Blacks and Whites will come to the table for that and share what we need to do to fix what is broken.”
Parker sees too many “broken” policies today in this country and believes the Trump administration can fix them. “It is a major opportunity on hand for us to get this done, and it should be done.”
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.
Charles Hallman is the senior staff writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org