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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: September 2009

2 - The lost boys

from Part II - Blacks and the pursuit of happiness


The sole evidence that it is possible to produce that anything is desirable is that people do actually desire it.

(John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism)

There's a great text in Galatians

Once you trip on it entails

Twenty-nine distinct damnations

One sure if another fails.

(Rudyard Kipling, Stalky & Co.)

We must distinguish between endorsing the market and using the concept of a market as a powerful tool of analysis, one that lays bare the likely behavior of human beings subject to market constraints. I think that market behavior explains why black women either find or do not find a suitable partner with whom to raise children. The fact that there is a shortage of suitable partners in that market leads us to a description of the life histories of black men. How black men and women interact sexually is the best starting point to comprehend the state of black America. This is to say that black families are the central problem of black America and the state of black families is this: 63 percent of black children are being raised in solo-parent homes and those homes are often poverty homes.

The data herein are recent in the sense of being based on surveys conducted between 2003 and 2005. Unlike most of the literature, they take into account all black men: not only those who are resident in households but also those in the military population (not too important) and the prison population (very important).