Actor Denzel Washington stepped on a few toes recently when he said that black people need to quit blaming the system for the high rates of incarceration among black men.
He made the statement at the première of his most recent movie, “Roman J. Israel, Esq,” where he plays a young lawyer fighting the system.
“It starts at the home. It starts at home. It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure. So you know I can’t blame the system. It’s unfortunate, that we make it such easy work for them.”
In an earlier interview with Reuters, Denzel, who grew up in a Christian home with a father who was a pastor, said that people are not “born a criminal.” He had friends who started going down a certain path at ages 13 or 14 and while he stopped, his friends continued and today many are in prison.
It was the same message being shared by another Black man, Larry Elder, a lawyer, writer and popular conservative radio host in Los Angeles.
In an interview with Dave Rubin (watch below), Elder said the problem with Black men filling prisons rests squarely on the fact that many are raised in fatherless homes. He said 75% of black American youth today are born in homes without a father.
He added that it wasn’t always that way. The statistics showed that in 1890s and early 1900s children in black homes were more apt to have a father around than even white children.
But that began to change when President Lyndon Johnson started his war on poverty which ultimately was a war on the family. Elder said:
“We launched this so-called war on poverty in the 60s, where literally Lyndon Johnson sent people knocking on doors …. apprising women of their availability to welfare provided there was no man in the house and we went from 25% of blacks being born out of wedlock in 1965 to 75% right now.
Elder added the problem is even affecting white families where at one time 5% of white children were born out of wedlock, today it is 25%. He said that fatherless families is the number one problem in society describing it as a “neutron bomb dropped on this country.”
“We’ve economically incentivized women to marry the government, and we’ve allowed men to abandon their financial and moral responsibility and now we have this.”
The prophet Malachi warned of the curse that will fall on a society if fathers don’t play an important role in the lives of their children:
6 He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6 NASV)
The Hebrew word “herem” translated “curse” has a couple of connected meanings. It refers to a net for capturing fish or birds (Ezekiel 47:10). At its very root, the word refers to a trap. This leads to the second meaning of the word where it is also translated “utter destruction” (Zechariah 14:11), the result of being trapped or snared.
However, this verse is not describing a trap set for an individual, but one set for a culture and the utter collapse of society if fathers are not involved in raising children.
- Denzel Washington speaks out: Don’t ‘blame the system’ for black incarceration, ‘it starts at home’: The Blaze
- Denzel Washington: Don’t blame the prison system, ‘It starts at the home’: New York Daily News
- As ‘Roman J. Israel, Esq.’ Denzel Washington explores social injustice: Reuters