BET Is Part of the Problem
Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson recently angrily lamented the black unemployment rate in the U.S. "This country would never tolerate white unemployment at 14 and 15 percent... somebody's going to have to pay- 34 million African-Americans are not going to leave this country...Somebody's going to have to pay for them. Somebody's going to have to take care of them, and if somebody's going to have to take care of them that money's got to come from somebody. And whoever's paying for it is going to be upset about it, and they're going to start looking for somebody to blame," said Johnson.
Johnson recently (late February) commissioned a poll of just over one-thousand black Americans. In spite of lingering high black unemployment, blacks have an overwhelmingly (91%) favorable opinion of President Obama. Though the poll does not ask about Democrats in general, blacks, as they have now for decades, continue to vote almost exclusively for Democrats.
In other words, in spite of constantly railing other groups in virtually every economic metric, blacks continue to support a political party and its liberal policies that have significantly contributed to perpetuating poverty within the black community and across the U.S. in general.
The poll also revealed that half of black Americans blamed high black unemployment on the failures of the American education system. While it is good to see blacks acknowledging the failures of America's public school system, it seems that too many -- Bob Johnson included -- are blind to the most significant problem within black America: the breakdown of the family.
Today an obscene number -- 72% -- of black children are born to unwed mothers. "The single biggest predictor of poverty is family structure," wrote Gary Palmer of the Alabama Policy Institute. According to Census data, marriage drops the probability of child poverty by 82%.
Yet what does Bob Johnson's network glorify and promote? (Though no longer owner or CEO of BET, Johnson is heavily responsible for making BET what it is today.) BET's programming is replete with sexual, profane, and violent content. BET music videos are especially degrading to women. What's worse, much of this content is aimed at children and teenagers. Bombarded with such imagery, what are many young black men going to replicate as they mature into adulthood? This is especially true if they don't have a father in the home to teach (and model for) them the truth.
BET could help fill this void, or, even better, help reduce it. Instead, they are part of the problem.
Trevor Grant Thomas, At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason. www.trevorgrantthomas.com