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December 2, 2009

African Americans are suffering disproportionately during these depressed economic times.  The Washington Post reports that the jobless rate for black men ages 16 to 24 was 34.5 % in October, a number equal to the black unemployment during the Great Depression. Further, the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University reports that lower income white teens are more likely to find work before upper income blacks do, and that African Americans who graduate college experience joblessness at double the rate of white college graduates.

These statistics are deplorable. But, seemingly being ignored. Most mainstream media haven’t discussed this metric in any detail, and what of our Federal response…nothing. It would appear that the old adage “when America gets a cold, black America gets the flu” is still true.  Exactly why has this extraordinary leap in the national statistic  gone essentially without a thorough discussion in the seat of debate – prime time news programming?  I am loathe to say, but must invoke the concept that the Rev. Walter Fauntroy once used to determine the reason why the District of Columbia was being and is still denied adequate voting representation in Congress. He said it was because the city was

“too urban, too liberal, too democratic and too black”

I would revise Rev. Fauntroy’s statement a little in this instance to say bluntly, it is because the effected unemployed is

“too urban and too black!”

The facts are the facts, race statistically appears to be a bigger factor in the morbidly high rate of unemployment for black America than any other group, even more than EDUCATION! Here are the facts:

  • Lower-income white teens were more likely to find work than upper-income black teens, according to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University;
  • blacks who graduate from college suffer from joblessness at twice the rate of their white peers;
  • Young black women have an unemployment rate of 26.5 %, while the rate for all 16-to-24-year-old women is 15.4 %.
  • Black male job applicants with clean criminal records fare no better than white men just released from prison.”

Those are the facts. In each case the common denominators are the same, if you are black and unemployed, regardless of being on an equal playing field educationally, or a advantaged position economically, you are more likely to find yourself in an unemployment line. (Still think affirmative action is bad Justice Thomas?)

We need to put a magnifying glass on the issue of unemployment in this country, but in the black community it is especially necessary, and if the silence of the MSM is any indication – we, the African American community will have to shine the light on this egregious state of affairs by ourselves, and for ourselves.

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