Posts Tagged ‘hardest hit’

The Fourth of July, Black Unemployment and Senator Barbara Lee

July 2, 2010                                               
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, released the following statement today after the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued the June jobs report showing that unemployment is down to 9.5 percent:
“Today’s unemployment number continues to show signs that the economy is improving, however, the pace of our nation’s economic recovery is further evidence that government action to stimulate the economy and create jobs must remain a top priority. “The unemployment rate for African Americans remains unacceptably high at 15.4 percent. Likewise, African American and Latino teens are unemployed at 46.4 and 35.7 percent respectively, compared to an overall teen unemployment rate of 29 percent. “These gross disparities continue to underscore the urgent need for Congress to enact measures targeting communities that have been disproportionately hit by the economic slowdown and lag behind in the recovery. [emphasis mine] No specific measures are mentioned in the statement so I have to wonder whether people have just run out of ideas. The more time passes, the problem worsens and hope dwindles which causes some hopes to dwindle. It’s a vicious cycle. I really do not like or intend to comment regarding politicians but I believe it’s our duty to discuss policies that have disparate impact on law abiding, tax-paying ‘minority’ Americans.
“Last night, the House of Representatives approved a supplemental appropriations request that included $1 billion for youth employment programs, which will create 350,000 jobs for young people ages 14 to 24. I urge the U.S. Senate to swiftly approve this measure when they return to Washington D.C. after July 4th holiday. “ [emphasis mine]
Earlier this year, the Congressional Black Caucus criticized the President for not taking enough measures for economic issues affecting the black community. However, the President doesn’t have total control of what’s happening in Congress and to a significant degree it’s Congress’ fault for not being able to reconcile certain differences while children are literally living on the street with parents and families continue to face foreclosures. I find it ironic that one party states that the unemployment measure was not passed because  it would add to the deficit. So does supporting big corporations, with exorbitant tax breaks and the TARP bill bailout, who are the major market participants laying off employees contributing to the increase unemployment, no one wants to discussed how much that added to the national deficit. It’s o.k. to help corporate America, just not American citizens.  Anyway, many believe the President does not address these issues that affects the broader American people and more specifically Black Americans, from the Halls of Congress, to the Black suburbanites, the criticism is voiced:  
June 25: 2010:  Black Congress, critical of Obama, to convene in D.C. to set black agenda : Indybay

March 11, 2010:  Congressional Black Caucus: President Obama’s not listening – Lisa Lerer and Nia-Malika Henderson – POLITICO.com

I can understand the perceived divisiveness that speaking of Black and other minority issues can be. Especially when the broader American economy is suffering, which entails some White Americans who are impacted as well. However, just as Black and other minorities have been impacted the most, treating them with the a broader policy may actually cause them to slip through the cracks without providing a solution. Thus, when confronting a specific problem, it’s reasonable to work towards specific solutions though it will cause others who are not in the target group to feel comfortable with the notion.

As one woman states in July 2, 2010, 13A, USA Today’s paper:

…most years, I took great pleasure in reading the powerful Frederick Douglass speech, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.” [sic] Though delivered in 1852 during slavery the words have rich meaning for me, even today.

“What to the American slave, isyour 4th of July,” he thundered to a crowd in Rochester, NY. “I answer, a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celbration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity…yourshouts of liberty and equality a hollow mockery.” [emphasis mine]

The speech is a scathing indictment of U.S. hypocrisy.  If you called me on July 4, I would probably read you some of its rich and powerful passages. Our nation has come a long way since 1852, but for many African Americans, shouts of liberty are still hollow mockery. Unemployment is a scourge on all Americans, but the black unemployment rate, at 15.3% in May, is nearly twice the white rate. Every economic indicator–income, wealth, home ownership–screams inequality.”  ●●Julianne Malveaux

Harsh, yet truthful words for a harsh reality.

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The Current Recession: Newsweek: The Race Gap in the Economic Recovery

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On June 15, 2010, I posted concerning continuous coverage of U.S. Black unemployment across all sectors. [See June 15, 2010: 

Unemployment Programs; Black Unemployment… «].  Here, the Economic Policy Institute provided statistics on black unemployment.  On June 18, 2010, Newsweek referencesInstitute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP): A Research Institute of the Heller School which conducted its own numerical study regarding wealth gap that Blacks and Hispanics confront with regards to the general economy.

Although it may be argued that these blogs are always attacking statistics of law schools and their alumn employment rates; these polls and statistics are different. One they involved different institutes and federal government agencies analyzing the financial data with personal/identifying information that must be including when filing for unemployment benefits. These institutes and agencies have no apparent financial benefit by boosting the numbers, it actually makes America and the system by which it operates by look pretty awful.

The gap between the accumulated wealth of white and black Americans (excluding home equity) stood at $20,000 in 1984; by 2007 it had grown to $95,000. “The growth of the racial wealth gap significantly affects the economic future of American families.  For example, the racial wealth gap in 1984 amounted to  less  than  three  years  tuition  payment  for  one  child  at  a  public  university.  By 2007, the dollar amount of the gap is enough to pay full tuition at a four year public university for two children, plus tuition at a public medical school,” the researchers wrote.

For Shapiro, such findings raise the question of whether America’s racial progress will collapse under the weight of financial insecurity.  It also makes him question whether public policy has been effectively employed.  In the aftermath of Katrina, he argues, there was an opportunity to undo the effect of generations of extreme residential segregation.  That opportunity, he says, was lost, as New Orleans recreated the segregation the hurricane had destroyed.  Now, he believes, we have another opportunity: to use tax and fiscal policy to create a more egalitarian society.” [emphasis mine] Umm I think we can conclude by various empirical evidence that it already has.

“The wrinkle, I point out, during our conversation, is that many Americans don’t see economic egalitarianism as a particular priority—or even as a desirable goal.At a time when so many are struggling, the idea of targeting minorities for special help seems a difficult notion to sell.” I’ll just insert a quote from John Howard Griffin’s book Black Like Me (p.44) : They put us low, and then blame us for being down there and say that since we are low, we can’t deserve our rights.”

You mean the average American citizen does not believe in equality or being treated fairly–doesn’t surprise me at all. Why does it have to be special help, just provide retroactive compensation for damages to those affected by discriminatory practices and ensure objective regulatory agencies that have experience and foresight in monitoring these occurrences. That’s the problem, the system creates the circumstances which causes certain target populations to be in situations that somehow have to be “resolved” instead of prevention or actual enforcement of laws that would protect them and treat them like the American they are. Instead, certain persons desire to carve out ‘special’ programs which implies these populations are defective and generally are unable to thrive, providing imagery to broader civic society that these populations are ‘a problem.’ Sounds like a set up. No, change the environment of racism by enforcement of the laws and you wouldn’t need special programs. It’ll probably save taxpayers money too.

With higher rates of undergraduate education, continued discrimination in both employment and lending practices, it makes sense for Black Americans to not attend law school. You’re worthy enough to contract debt such as mortgages with subprime rates though you had equal or better credit than your white counterpart (yes, there are published studies from the Federal Reserve and OPI regarding the mortgages issued to blacks, whites and hispanics stemming from the 1990’s which evidences this) for homes built with cheap Chinese materials,* and student loans for an education that gets you a door slammed in the face, but as far as the system is concerned you are not worthy to be treated equitably. I will provide an altered quote (my alteration in yellow) from John Howard Griffin’s book again:

 We’ll do business with you people. We’ll sure as hell screw your people over in nearly every facet of your life so you will not be able to achieve the American dream. Other than that, you’re just completely off the record as far as we’re concerned.

I could care less if someone called me bitter, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you spew names. Though a great sense of pride existed when teaching a Black man, woman, child how to read, and finally gaining access to institutions of learning, a shadow system was prepared to knocked down any progress that minorities built. It’s a disgrace.

*most new homes were built with these construction materials, though my primary point was regarding criminal lending practices.