Race, Poverty, and The Moynihan Report 50 Years Later
Susan Greenbaum’s new book, BLAMING THE POOR, examines the negative impact on social policy, race relations, and the poor of the highly controversial report, The Negro Family:The Case For National Action, written in 1965 by assistant secretary of labor Daniel Moynihan for the U.S. Department of Labor. In the report Moynihan wrote, “At the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family. It is the fundamental source of the weakness of the Negro community at the present time.” Moynihan, a Democrat, was later elected to the U.S. Senate to represent New York.
Greenbaum rejects Moynihan’s main argument, that the so called matriarchal structure of the African American family feminized black men, making them inadequate workers and absent fathers, resulting in what he called a tangle of pathology that led to a host of social ills. She reveals how his questionable ideas have been used to redirect blame away from societal sources and to the poor and African Americans.
SUSAN D. GREENBAUM, a professor emerita of anthropology at the University of South Florida, is a leading authority on poverty and racism in the United States.