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It’s doubtful whether any accusation of privilege in our lexicon will overtake “white privilege.” But among the crowd of recent upstarts is one exceptional one: “two-parent privilege.”
The term may have originated with a Dennis Prager article in National Review a few years ago, but it has entered the left’s mindset as another indictment of affluent people who just don’t or can’t understand the experiences of people different from them. This is because being raised by your two parents is thought of as an upper-class phenomenon, while being raised by a single parent is thought of as a low-income phenomenon. It features, for example, in lists of questions asked in “privilege walk” exercises.
Privilege - Formulation - Worth
But “two-parent privilege” is an intriguing formulation and one worth exploring. What does it really mean?
What is a ‘Privilege’?
Something - Privilege - Things - Thing - Everyone
When we call something a “privilege,” we generally mean two things by it: It is some good thing not everyone enjoys, and it is unearned and undeserved — especially when contrasted against a “right,” as in, “Driving is a privilege, not a right.”
As to the first component, being raised by both biological parents seems clearly to be the optimal scenario for children. Better educational and emotional outcomes have been found by studies that control for other factors, such as wealth and genetics. For example, as the Witherspoon Institute summarized, “One study found that 37 percent of children born outside of marriage and 31 percent of children with divorced parents dropped out of high school, compared to 13 percent of children from intact families headed by a married mother and father.”
Child - Divorce - Elizabeth - Marquardt - Research
One “child of divorce,” Elizabeth Marquardt, summarized the research of her scholarly book on the subject thusly: “Our parents’ divorce is linked to our higher rates of depression, suicidal attempts and thoughts, health problems, childhood sexual abuse, school dropout, failure to attend...
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