Pat Moynihan’s Non-Vindicating Vindication

Monday’s front-page New York Times piece, “‘Culture of Poverty,’ Long an Academic Slur, Makes a Comeback,” is about how it’s okay again for scholars to talk about the “culture of poverty” and to study “cultural” aspects of the subject. It’s a trend reporter Patricia Cohen suggests vindicates Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who popularized the term in the mid-’60s when he infamously wrote that much of black America was caught up in a “tangle of pathology” resulting from “the weakness of the [black] family structure,” which he called “the principal source of most of the aberrant, inadequate or antisocial behavior that did […]