June 16th, 2023 Podcast by The Glenn Show

The Glenn Show: The State of the Black Family

This week I welcome my friend the economist Robert Cherry back onto The Glenn Show. Bob has been studying race, labor, and inequality—among many other topics—for decades now. His new book, The State of the Black Family: Sixty Years of Tragedies and Failures—and New Initiatives Offering Hope, diagnoses the ills that have plagued black families since the civil rights era and proposes some policies that could help to alleviate some of the more severe symptoms of dysfunction.

Many of the ideas Bob proposes have fallen out of favor with liberals and the left over the course of the last 20 years or so. But Bob notes that measures like adding reasonable work requirements to welfare—a Clinton-era initiative—ended up helping recipients in the long-term by helping them become self-sufficient, while the push for universal community college attendance have barely made a dent in the problems they attempt to address. As Bob notes, black women are actually doing comparatively well. They’re overrepresented among college attendees and graduates.

Too many young black men, though, continue to languish, and when they fail to enter the workforce and attain stability and financial security, they too often end up as the victims and perpetrators of crime. Bob stresses the need for both police and community intervention in violent crime and notes that some joint efforts have seen success. But he is a moderate unconcerned with hewing to partisan lines when it comes to policy, and so, predictably, he’s found it hard to attract support even for initiatives that stand a good chance of working.

Bob’s book proposes some sensible solutions to some of our most urgent problems. That's why I agreed to contribute a short essay as a foreword. I hope you enjoy this conversation, and do pick up a copy of The State of the Black Family if you feel so moved.

Follow Glenn Loury at The Glenn's Show on Spotify

Subscribe for more at glennloury.substack.com