Baltimore needs Dads

A Facebook friend posted two startling statistics the other day in light of the mess in Baltimore:

  1. Young men with absentee fathers are twice as likely to wind up in jail.
  2. An astounding 83% of black kids in America will reach their 17th birthday without a father in the house.

There certainly may have been justified anger in Baltimore, but manifested itself as unjustified behavior. In this week’s “By the Numbers” post at Communities Digital News, I note that the 2010 census showed that 53% of Baltimore’s children under six are in fatherless families (and 63% are in single-parent households).

There are plenty of questions for the City of Baltimore to answer in how it handled Freddie Gray, and there are reasons for the citizens to be reproachful of the police. But maybe the anger, distrust, and frustration could have come out differently than the ugliness of destruction.

In the coming weeks, plenty of policy experts will have political solutions to help – things like police reforms or community initiatives to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and their constituents. These proposals might help the problem. Still, there are deeper rooted issues whose solutions simply go beyond the relatively limited realm of politics.

There is no substitute for Dad.

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