“Are These Great Days Or What?”
Are you concerned in any way that the economic plight of Blacks in America remains such a low priority for the Barack Obama administration? The numbers tell a story that needs to be heard. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in November 2010 the number of unemployed African American increased to 2.8 million. Be it a Black American President, or White, Black Americans are always languish in employment. November’s numbers show the nation’s unemployment rate having climbed to a seven-month high – 9.8 percent. Fifteen million Americans are currently out of work: 7.3% of them are Asians, 8.7% are Whites, 12.4% are Hispanic and 16.1% are African Americans.
Black Americans have been out-of-work so long they willingly accept the Obama Administration’s benign neglect. Blacks support Obama 90 percent, yet their employment opportunities have suffered the worse of all. When Obama took office in January 2009, Black employment stood at 12.6 percent. By December 2009, African American unemployment had increased to 16.2 percent and to the highest rate since July of 1984. The nation’s jobless rate has now topped 9 percent for 19 straight months. The lack of activity and job production is causing the majority of Americans great angst, but there’s few complaints among African Americans about Obama sad performance.
A recent Associated Press poll showed 61 percent of people believe the economy has “stayed the same” or “gotten worse” under Obama and are “frustrated with the slow rate of progress”. Less than half of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the economy. Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele says that “President Obama’s agenda of out-of-control spending, higher taxes, and bigger government has the economy moving in the wrong direction”. Obama says that recovery is coming slowly but surely. “A lot of it is like recovering from an illness. You get a little bit stronger each day”. Obama asserts that we are moving in the right direction. The economy is getting stronger”.
When will Blacks cease being political partisans and call Obama out and tell him that “the economy is not going in the right direction for us? Look at these numbers: according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Black unemployment under George W. Bush was lower than it has been at any time during Obama’s presidency. Those actually interested in improving economic conditions for Black Americans will have to sever political alliances unproductive to us.
Since slavery, “unemployment” has been a major part of the African-American experience. The numbers show Obama’s administration disturbingly silent on this important economic issue. When will Blacks pose questions regarding Obama’s personal competency on these issues and ask “why” that key Obama economic advisors are unable or unwilling to process and empathize with the depths of Black economic misery in America? Most of Obama’s people don’t relate to economic inequality and seem to have little or no desire to make this a priority issue.
Unemployment is when a person is willing and available to work but is lacking work. The unemployment rate is defined by the percentage of people in the labor force who are currently unemployed. According to history and national statistics, the unemployment rate among Blacks is traditionally twice higher to that of whites. Throughout history, African Americans have been discriminated against in workplaces and in cases when they are able to gain employment it is normally at lower pay rates.
The numbers say Blacks are being played by Obama and the Democratic Party. If Blacks keep voting in mass for Obama, maybe in his second term, he will lend presidential powers toward confronting economic inequalities in America. But in reality, how long will it take for Black Americans to demand the creation of White House initiatives which provide much-needed national conversations and actions on race? There needs to be economic policies targeted to deal with chronic unemployment among Black teens and the nation’s African American communities. Chronic Black unemployment cannot be ignored because it undermines community safety and deteriorates African American families.
(William Reed is available for speaking/seminar projects via BaileyGroup.org)