Dorothy Roberts Following Thomas Sowell “Over The Cliff” !!!

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December 2, 2020
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johnkarls
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Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:43 pm

Dorothy Roberts Following Thomas Sowell “Over The Cliff” !!!

Post by johnkarls »

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During yesterday’s weekly multi-hour gabfest now in its 33rd year and counting with George Kunath (a former NYC partner who was our worldwide coordinating tax partner on Mobil Oil and on a major private equity fund), George noted that a Wikipedia article entitled “Aid to Families with Dependent Children” stated in the second paragraph of its Section 1 entitled “History” –

The Aid For Families With Dependent Children (AFDC) Program, which as noted in Sec. B of our Suggested Answers to this month’s Short Quiz (viewtopic.php?f=614&t=1992&sid=950cc4cf ... 4ee63285ed) was enacted in 1935 as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal --

“was primarily created for white single mothers, who were expected not to work. Black mothers, who had always been in the labor force, were not eligible to receive benefits. Footnote 5.”

George and I have always agreed over the years that Wikipedia articles are only as good as their footnotes.

Accordingly, we agreed this claim was so odd that it should be investigated.

After all, it bears tangentially on the fatuous claim of Thomas Sowell that --

“The plain fact is that the black poverty rate declined 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent in 1960, prior to the great expansion of the welfare state that began in the 1960’s under the Johnson administration. There was a far more modest decline in the poverty rate among blacks after the Johnson administration’s massive ‘war on poverty’ programs began.”

We debunked Sowell’s fatuous claim which was obviously based on Sowell’s false assumption that the AFDC Program was part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Program enacted in the mid-1960’s rather than as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal enacted in the 1930’s.

The 87% decline in black poverty 1940-1960 cited by Sowell was actually A TESTAMENT TO THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE AFDC PROGRAM WHICH HAD BEEN ENACTED IN 1935!!!

Rather than the 87% decline being something that occurred prior to the enactment of the AFDC Program which Sowell obviously but erroneously thought happened in the mid-1960’s.

Details of our debunking Sowell’s false claim are available at viewtopic.php?f=614&t=1993&sid=950cc4cf ... 4ee63285ed.

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The Relationship of the Incredible Wikipedia Claim to the False Sowell Claim

The Wikipedia article’s quotation set forth above contains the incredible claim that Black mothers were not eligible to receive benefits under the AFDC Program.

Accordingly, if Wikipedia’s incredible claim is correct, then Sowell’s fatuous claim might yet be proved correct.

In other words, if black mothers were NOT eligible to receive benefits under the AFDC Program, then perhaps Sowell was right that the 87% decline in black poverty 1940-1960 occurred in the absence of any federal welfare for black mothers.

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Footnote 5 on which Wikipedia’s Incredible Claim was based, reads --

“5 Roberts, Dorothy (1997). "Chapter 5". Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty. Pantheon Books.”

With all of the foregoing information as background, the following exchange of e-mails should make sense --


---------------------------- Original Message -----------------------------
Subject: Another Faulty Wikipedia Article
From: ReadingLiberally-SaltLake@johnkarls.com
Date: Mon, November 30, 2020 10:17 pm MST
To: George Kunath
Attachment:
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Dear George,

I have checked the text of Title IV of the Social Security Act of 1935 (which created the AFDC Program) and it contains no language that would give rise to a racial bias.

Moreover, it does NOT seem credible that there could be racial discrimination in the program without violating the "Equal Protection" requirement of the U.S. Constitution.

In addition, Sec. 402(a)(1) of Title IV required vis-à-vis any “State plan for aid to dependent children” (which required initial and continuing approval by the U.S. Social Security Board) must “provide that it shall be in effect in all political subdivisions of the State, and, if administered by them, be mandatory upon them.”

In other words, the AFDC Program could NOT skip areas populated by blacks.

And equally importantly, Sec. 402(a)(4) required that any State plan for aid to dependent children “provide for granting any individual, whose claim with respect to aid to a dependent child is denied, an opportunity for a fair hearing before such State agency.”

Obviously, the denial of such a “fair hearing” would give rise to the right to sue in a U.S. District Court.

[And we have studied on numerous occasions how the NAACP was constantly looking for black people whose wrongs could be addressed in litigation in which the NAACP would represent the plaintiffs free of charge.]

Nevertheless, CHUMP that I am, I have ordered from Amazon.com for $14.96 the book by Dorothy Roberts that was cited in the Wikipedia article.

I'll report further after the book arrives.

Your friend,

John K.


---------------------------- Original Message -----------------------------
Subject: Re: Another Faulty Wikipedia Article
From: ReadingLiberally-SaltLake@johnkarls.com
Date: Tue, December 1, 2020 10:41 am EST
To: George Kunath
Attachment:
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Dear John, your analysis is magnificent! G

Sent from my iPad

johnkarls
Posts: 1668
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:43 pm

The Promised Final Report on the Fraudulent Wikipedia Claim

Post by johnkarls »

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---------------------------- Original Message -----------------------------
Subject: Re: Another Faulty Wikipedia Article
From: ReadingLiberally-SaltLake@johnkarls.com
Date: Thu, December 3, 2020 9:48 am MST
To: George Kunath
Attachment:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear George,

My e-mail of last Monday, had closed with --

“Nevertheless, CHUMP that I am, I have ordered from Amazon.com for $14.96 the book by Dorothy Roberts that was cited in the Wikipedia article. I'll report further after the book arrives.”

This is my report on the portion of Dorothy Roberts’ book cited by the Wikipedia article.

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The Wikipedia footnote had said –

“5 Roberts, Dorothy (1997). "Chapter 5". Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty. Pantheon Books.”

Chapter 5 is entitled “The Welfare Debate: Who Pays for Procreation” and occupies pp. 202-245 of the book.

However, Chapter 5 has a brief one-page intro followed by numerous subdivisions which are entitled –

The Racist Origins of The Welfare System – pp. 203-208
The End of Welfare As We Knew It – pp. 208-209
Stopping Welfare Mothers From Having Babies – pp. 209-211
The First Family Cap Law – pp. 211-213
Race and Family Caps – pp. 213-217
Refuting Myths About Welfare and Reproduction –
Myth No. 1 – Welfare Induces Childbirth – pp. 217-219
Myth No. 2 – Welfare Causes Dependency – pp. 219-222
Myth No. 3 – Marriage Can End Children’s Poverty – pp. 222-225
Welfare As a Waiver of Privacy – pp. 226-229
Government Funding of Abortions – pp. 229-232
Silencing Poor Women’s Doctors – pp. 232-236
Who Should Pay For Procreation – pp. 236-243
Race and the Limits of Social Reform – pp. 243-245

Obviously, only the first subdivision (pp. 203-208) has anything to do with the Wikipedia claim about The Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) Program, which was enacted in 1935 as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal --

that the AFDC Program “was primarily created for white single mothers, who were expected not to work. Black mothers, who had always been in the labor force, were not eligible to receive benefits.”

[The second subdivision, The End of Welfare As We Knew It, deals with President Bill Clinton’s campaign for re-election in 1996 on the basis of repealing AFDC for which “Ending Welfare As We Know It” was his campaign slogan and which repeal he triumphantly signed into law. The third and subsequent subdivisions either deal with post-AFDC repeal or political arguments that still rage.]

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Dorothy Roberts’ “The Racist Origins of The Welfare System” – pp. 203-208

The first 3 pages of this 5.5-page subdivision focus SOLELY on the pre-AFDC “Jim Crow” era following the Civil War during which the only governmental welfare programs in America were state or local programs.

She then makes a claim at the bottom of p. 205 that carries over to the top of p. 206 –

AFDC clients “faced caseworkers, supervisors and administrators with discretion regarding who got aid and how much they got. Footnote 11.”

First, this claim DIRECTLY REFUTES the Wikipedia article’s claim that “Black mothers, who had always been in the labor force, were not eligible to receive benefits.”

Second, Footnote 11 says “11 Gordon, Pitied But Not Entitled, p. 295.”

If Dorothy Roberts had been forthcoming, Footnote 11 would have admitted that the full title of Linda Gordon’s 1994 book was “Pitied But Not Entitled: SINGLE MOTHERS AND THE HISTORY OF WELFARE 1890-1935.” [AFDC was enacted in 1935.]

Since this quotation directly refutes the Wikipedia article and, in any event, cites a book about the pre-AFDC “Jim Crow” era, I did NOT “chase that rabbit” any further.

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Wikipedia MIS-QUOTING Dorothy Roberts

Toward the bottom of p. 206, Dorothy Roberts makes the claim –

AFDC “was created primarily for white mothers, who were not expected to work. Black mothers, who had always been in the paid-labor force in far higher numbers than white mothers, were considered inappropriate clients of a system geared to unemployable women.”

Please contrast this with the statement in the Wikipedia article that we are investigating –

AFDC “was primarily created for white single mothers, who were expected not to work. Black mothers, who had always been in the labor force, were not eligible to receive benefits.”

This is why you and I have always agreed that Wikipedia articles are only as good as their footnotes. Wikipedia changed the tail end of the sentence they were quoting (without quotation marks) –

from “were considered inappropriate clients of a system geared to unemployable women” to “not eligible to receive benefits”!!!

As documented in my original e-mail last Monday, black women were eligible for AFDC and they had rights to a “fair hearing” following a denial of benefits which, of course, could be appealed to a U.S. District Court (noting that the NAACP had historically searched for black people whose wrongs could be addressed in litigation in which the NAACP would represent the plaintiffs free of charge).

But back to Dorothy Roberts’ claim that Wikipedia mis-quoted.

Dorothy Roberts cites as the only support for her claim a statement by (her words) “one Southern public assistance field supervisor.”

Dorothy Roberts then proceeds to “the civil rights movement” without hinting what years she is talking about.

[As we have studied many times, including recently, “the civil rights movement” has been quite robust since the 1930’s with many of its early leaders, such as Paul Robeson who became “woke” 1933-1937, facing persecution 1946-1949 during the era of the U.S. Attorney General’s “list of subversive organizations” and then facing being blacklisted in the 1950’s during the heyday of McCarthyism.]

Nonetheless, the only relevant comment about welfare rights and "the civil rights movement" (p. 287) is that during the 1960’s, an NGO entitled “The National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO)” came into being and focused specifically on welfare rights.

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Conclusion

Not surprisingly, the Wikipedia article was atrocious – contradicted by the material it cited in its footnotes.

But what about the basic issue of whether black women had unfettered access to AFDC benefits 1935-1960???

First, Dorothy Roberts did NOT “prove her case” by citing SOLELY (using her own words) “one Southern public assistance field supervisor.”

HOWEVER, just because Dorothy Roberts did NOT “prove her case” does NOT mean that the case can NOT be proved with adequate research.

You’ve heard me say more times than you care to remember that I was married for 33 years to the co-author of the nation’s most popular high school World History textbook (McGraw Hill with National Geographic illustrations) and my real job (vs. my “day job” as an attorney) was to read every year 12-15 thick biographies and historical tomes to present “overlooked nuggets” to my wife for possible inclusion in the next edition, of which there were six during the 33 years.

[And since “old dogs” do NOT “learn new tricks” there have been another 500 thick biographies and historical tomes since "the gavel went down" 20 years ago to add to the 400 read during the 33 years.]

I am not aware of any decent study of how black women were treated by AFDC 1935-1960.

Dorothy Roberts’ citing “one Southern public assistance field supervisor” shows the way for an “oral history” study that identifies all of the “public assistance field supervisors” North AND South 1935-1960 AND INTERVIEWS AS MANY OF THEM AS ARE STILL ALIVE AND CAN BE LOCATED.

Another (or concurrent) approach would be to examine all of the reports 1935-1960 that EVERY state or local AFDC Program was required to submit to the U.S. Social Security Board for their review in order to continue their AFDC funding.

And yet another (or concurrent) approach would be to examine the records of the NAACP (founded 1909) and any other civil rights organizations that were active 1935-1960 to ascertain what they did. [The NAACP was very active throughout its existence in voter registration/rights and it would seem reasonable to assume that welfare rights would have been the second-most (if not most) important area for their focus.]

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I trust you will agree that I am too busy with other matters to undertake such a project myself.

Nevertheless, the results could be interesting.

After all, I have had first-hand experience with a “deep state” vis-à-vis civil rights when I served on the first U.S. governmental task force during the summer of 1966 to eliminate the de jure dual school systems of the 11 states of the Old Confederacy and the 6 Slave States that did NOT join the Confederacy because of President Lincoln’s constant claim that the raison d’être of the Civil War was to “preserve the union” and DEFINITELY NOT to abolish slavery.

[Details of that 1966 civil rights experience during which, according to the N.C. State Police, I was within 60 seconds of being assassinated are contained in Q&A C-1 through C-10 in the Suggested Answers to this month’s Short Quiz at viewtopic.php?f=614&t=1992&sid=204a3132 ... 45ce8eb96a.]

Your friend,

John K.

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