Daniel Patrick Moynihan, as an adviser to President Nixon, promoted a guaranteed minimum income for all families, in part to help unravel the “tangle of pathology” he had famously diagnosed in his report on “The Negro Family.” August 25, 1969.(Associated Press)Influenced by the civil-rights movement, Moynihan focused on the black family.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, as an adviser to President Nixon, promoted a guaranteed minimum income for all families, in part to help unravel the “tangle of pathology” he had famously diagnosed in his report on “The Negro Family.” August 25, 1969.(Associated Press)Influenced by the civil-rights movement, Moynihan focused on the black family.Tags: Best American Science Writing EssaysBoys And Girls Short Story EssayMro Business PlanPride And Prejudice Essay On MarriageMystery Genre EssaysEssays Of Mignon MclaughlinEssay About Smoking Effect
Moynihan began searching for a way to press the point within the Johnson administration.
“I felt I had to write a paper about the Negro family,” Moynihan later recalled, “to explain to the fellows how there was a problem more difficult than they knew.” In March of 1965, Moynihan printed up 100 copies of a report he and a small staff had labored over for only a few months.
In London, he’d cultivated a love of wine, fine cheeses, tailored suits, and the mannerisms of an English aristocrat. A cultured civil servant not to the manor born, Moynihan—witty, colorful, loquacious—charmed the Washington elite, moving easily among congressional aides, politicians, and journalists.
As the historian James Patterson writes in , his book about Moynihan, he was possessed by “the optimism of youth.” He believed in the marriage of government and social science to formulate policy.
Moynihan believed that at the core of all these problems lay a black family structure mutated by white oppression: In essence, the Negro community has been forced into a matriarchal structure which, because it is so out of line with the rest of the American society, seriously retards the progress of the group as a whole, and imposes a crushing burden on the Negro male and, in consequence, on a great many Negro women as well.
Moynihan believed this matriarchal structure robbed black men of their birthright—“The very essence of the male animal, from the bantam rooster to the four-star general, is to strut,” he wrote—and deformed the black family and, consequently, the black community.choosing mom in spite of loving pop.” In the same journal, Moynihan, subjecting himself to the sort of analysis to which he would soon subject others, wrote, “Both my mother and father—They let me down badly …I find through the years this enormous emotional attachment to Father substitutes—of whom the least rejection was cause for untold agonies—the only answer is that I have repressed my feelings towards dad.”As a teenager, Moynihan divided his time between his studies and working at the docks in Manhattan to help out his family.He believed that an undue optimism about the pending passage of civil-rights legislation was obscuring a pressing problem: a deficit of employed black men of strong character.He believed that this deficit went a long way toward explaining the African American community’s relative poverty.In 1959, Moynihan began writing for Irving Kristol’s magazine , covering everything from organized crime to auto safety. Kennedy as president, in 1960, gave Moynihan a chance to put his broad curiosity to practical use; he was hired as an aide in the Department of Labor.Moynihan was, by then, an anticommunist liberal with a strong belief in the power of government to both study and solve social problems. His fear of being taken for a “sissy kid” had diminished.In what would become the most famous passage in the report, Moynihan equated the black community with a diseased patient: of being caught up in the tangle of pathology that affects their world, and probably a majority are so entrapped.Many of those who escape do so for one generation only: as things now are, their children may have to run the gauntlet all over again.American politicians are now eager to disown a failed criminal-justice system that’s left the U. with the largest incarcerated population in the world. Fifty years after Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family” tragically helped create this system, it's time to reclaim his original intent.Clara Newton at her home outside Baltimore, holding a picture of her son Odell, who has been in prison for 41 years for a crime he committed when he was 16.