Police Commissioner Anthony Batts and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake believe that Baltimore is still racist and that racism is the primary factor holding blacks back from income and educational parity with whites in the city ("Baltimore leaders agree: City has a race problem," March 14).

Mr. Batts was quoted as saying "I think we need to be honest on how to move our city forward." By all means, let's be honest, but I disagree with the core premise.


The cause of disproportionate crime and poverty rates among blacks in Baltimore and the U.S. is the continued degradation of the nuclear family.

The out-of-wedlock birth rate among blacks is 72 percent, comparted to 54 percent for Hispanics and 29 percent for whites.

People of all races with high rates of out-of-wedlock births suffer higher unemployment and higher crime rates. Young single mothers in their teens or early 20s start their children's lives digging a hole very few can climb out of.

It doesn't take a village to raise a child, unless you want to rely on government largesse. It takes two committed parents, working hard and sacrificing for our children.

Until black leaders like Mr. Batts, Ms. Rawlings-Blake, President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. face this fact and start to speak out about it, the problem of disproportionate black crime rates and poverty will never be solved.

There was not one mention of the 72 percent of black children born to unwed mothers in your article. Stop blaming racism and police brutality. Police are overwhelmingly good people who are just enforcing the law.

The cultural norms that accept bearing children without benefit of marriage are the true problem facing black America in the 21st century.

Thomas M. Neale, Baltimore