An historian weighs in: Ta-Nehisi Coates Gets Daniel Patrick Moynihan All Wrong
The Daily Beast:
In this month’s 17,000 word Atlantic cover story, Ta-Nehisi Coates delivers a poignant but misleading polemic exploring mass African American incarceration. Coates puts a great deal of that blame on one man, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and his 1965 report on the deterioration of the “Negro Family.”
In doing so, he gets both Moynihan wrong and minimizes the seriousness of the crime wave that terrorized Americans of all races starting in the 1960s. Coates blasts “penal welfarism at its finest. Deindustrialization had presented an employment problem for America’s poor and working class of all races. Prison presented a solution: jobs for whites, and warehousing for blacks.”
No, mass incarceration is a response to the Great American Crime Wave that began in the 1960s and leveled off in the 1990s—and Moynihan saw it coming.