Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Great Depression for African Americans. So where's our FDR?


"Black men were less likely to receive a call back or job offer than equally qualified white men," says a Princeton University sociologist. "Black men with a clean record fare no better than white men just released from prison."

It's tough to convince white people to open their ears and brains and shut their mouths with this Ellis Close-esque Rage of the Privileged Class stuff. Especially when they see Lebron, Beyonce, Lil Wayne and OchoCinco and Oprah, of course living well. Now, 20 years ago, during fact-finding on the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and anti-redlining hearings (uh-oh, better cut down ACORN!), similar trends came to light, backing up what we already discussed around the dinner table: blue collar uneducated white couples where getting bank loans easier than professional, uppity blacks (must be our extravagant spending on cars and hair weaves?). In other words, banks were more likely to "work with" them folks. Even them folk with credit blemishes. That stuff's long buried. Reviled, even, by GOP zealots and a citizenry that still wants to blame everything on behavior, not structure, because that's easier to swallow.

The Washington Post has ressurrected this monster and put it on the front page. Uncaged, here it is: per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, joblessness for 16-to-24-year-old black men has reached Great Depression proportions, 34.5 percent in October, more than three times the rate for the general U.S. population, The Washington Post reports Young black women have an unemployment rate of 26.5 percent, while the rate for all 16-to-24-year-old women is 15.4 percent. If you've listened to NPR today, you see things are horrific for Latinos as well--the folk who supposedly will take jobs blacks won't. There's another myth, broken.

Of course there is a broader problem of under-employment, dependence on part-time or temp work. That's not counted in unemployment figures even for white males--our prize and solely competent demographic, correct? Feed that into the formula and the numbers are more frightening than "2012."

To paraphrase the Post's sources: For young blacks, race statistically appears to be a bigger factor in their unemployment than age, income or even education. Lower-income white teens were more likely to find work than upper-income black teens. Even blacks who graduate from college suffer from joblessness at twice the rate of their white peers. Some studies examining how employers review black and white job applicants suggest that discrimination may be at play.

Does this absolve the legions of young men we see loitering around, getting into trouble, bartering in an undeground or criminal economy that only discriminates against the weak, the unarmed, the upright and moral? No. But nor does it absolve the hypocritical, even nonsensical view--now even feeding stereotypes of others around the world (see the Chinese reaction to Obama and black folks)--that there are always bootstraps to pull up. And when even the best of us are sneered upon, feared, pushed aside for Joe the Plumber or (or a Sarah Palinesque lamebrain) then why should the least of us even try?

I don't hear our supposed FDR in this Great Depression Redux, Mr. Obama, even mulling over the answers to those questions, not to mention parsing brave and creative answers. Rather than battle these economic Grendels, Beowulf style, he's gone and created even more bugbears with the healthcare fight. People need jobs, hope, channel to work toward engineering a future...then when can talk about free/public or affordable and common sense health options. The Great Depression almost destroyed us. Then again, so did the end of Reconstruction. How many body blows can we take? Oh I forgot...it's supposed to make us stronger, less indolent, less violent, less bawdy and pumping out kids (but no birth control or abortions, please), fewer demands of civil rights special preferences, less "handouts." All that evil crap they say we demand. My bad. Then it's "Happy Days are Here Again." Nothing to fear but fear itself...

Read the article and hit Nat with comments.

18 comments:

Mark said...

Well said Chris...

Citizen Ojo said...

So much for Post Racial America..ha ha ha

Bee-Man said...

Amen, but do you think Bob McDonnell, who hid the fact that he's a right wing racist, or maybe white people didn't care, will address this in Virginia as the new "jobs governor?" Hell no.

Anonymous said...

Where's the "change?" Or the "hope?"

Lisa said...

We're all down with the sickness. The focus in the article on young females is telling. We (when I was young) who have traditionally been able to slip under the cracks when doors have been slammed in our men's faces are now shut out as well. White people are dealing with a powder keg. It can also blow up in Barack's face as well.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

When I heard that unemployment was at 8% among whites, I figured it would be 16% among Blacks. That's usually how it works. But I can't remember this level of unemployment among Black young people since I was a kid, particularly considering that some of those counted as "employed" are doing that "3 hours today and 4 hours the day after tomorrow" crap at McDonald's.

Knute Rife said...

What comes immediately to my mind is Malcolm X's "On Black Power" speech. These figures are a warning, but is anyone paying attention?

lincolnperry said...

Brother, when are you guys going to update the black retort???

Anonymous said...

Until Black people are willing to purchase goods and services from Black people, this trend will continue.

When the Black Community brings their money back to that community by creating local businesses, farms, and local banks that based their lending principles on creating value, nothing will change.

The Black Community has more money as a group than practically any other group of the African Diaspora. We do not use this economic advantage to the benefit of the BC, instead we make everyone else rich.

Somehow after the Civil Rights era the message became warped and anything Black-owned was not good enough.

Unless we start creating jobs within, things will continue to deteriorate. The principles of micro-economies in the Third World, could be used in the BC to bring about an economic renaissance.

However, the underlying issue is will Blacks purchase and support other Black businesses whether it is lawn maintenance, to produce stands, to major companies???

Chandra Kamaria said...

Anonymous stole my thunder. So I'll be the lightning and add to their comments. There are enough qualified Blacks in our community that can start thriving enterprises. If we could get out of the mindset of trying to work among Whites in corporate positions and concentrate on building successful establishments ourselves, then we can become employers of our own.

You see, the current economy only pushed this phenomenon further; this mess actually started with desegregation. Once we realized that we could walk in the front door, apply for the same jobs, and work alongside white people, then we started to neglect our own, thus running them out of business for lack of support. There were more black banks prior to integration than it is today.

Thanks to Reaganomics and the GOP's 'small government' tactics with corporate America, many American jobs have been outsourced, leaving a smaller job pool for a larger crop of the population. Now that white people are struggling to find work, you know that it's gonna be doubly tough for us. So that's why the clarion call for the black community right now is ENTREPRENEURSHIP!

These new trends of social media and the so-called green economy have not been capitalized yet and it's still anybody's game, for the most part. Besides, there is tremendous opportunity for Blacks in the Digital Age. If we approach our black grads (who are already tech-savvy) to develop good business models instead of good resumes, we may be a lot better off in the long run.

Hathor said...

Chandra Kamaria,

Do you know where I could get Black experienced, machinist, tool and dye makers and 4 millions dollars capitol, along with a million dollar loan?

Anonymous said...

Funny, the way the asians solve the problems with lending is by establishing lending funds within their community.

In terms of learning a trade, there are enough retired people who would love to share their knowledge. Check out the local unions and they can direct you to people who can teach/pass on their knowledge...

The easiest thing in the world is to focus on what cannot be done.

Who needs to start on a grand scale, you have to walk before you can run. There is enough "retired" equipment that still has enough useful life.

I have learned much from retired persons including how to work/operate a bridgeport milling machine...

Bottom line, NO ONE is going to help Black folks now. We have had 40 years since the Civil Rights movement to maximize on White folk's guilt, we wasted it by not focusing on establishing economic independence (walking away from established well-run Black Banks as one example).

The post-Civil Rights days are over, too many people are struggling now and too many of us have decided that even basic education or learning a trade is "not cool".

It is not a pretty picture but the sooner we accept it and start taking control of our own destiny, the better off we will be as a collective.

It is why I am a self-employed person and no longer an employee. I saw the writing on the wall...

Hathor said...

anon 6:32,
I do know where to get used equipment, not sure about machinist that would be willing to work in an area where I could get a cheap lease. I guess financing would be the major obstacle. Have figured out the market, that I would want to go after for precision machined parts and some manufacturing.

I am retired, I am not physically fit, to market myself, but would like to do something that would create a few jobs.

Anonymous said...

My friend and I were recently discussing about how technology has become so integrated in our day to day lives. Reading this post makes me think back to that discussion we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.


I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside... I just hope that as technology further develops, the possibility of copying our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could see in my lifetime.


(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=http://cryst4lxbands.sosblog.com/-b/Will-the-R4-or-R4i-work-b1-p2.htm]r4i dsi[/url] DS scPost)

Anonymous said...

Hold up Chris you are WAY off! Why weren't you and the NBC and all other black folks hooting and hollering when 'slick Willie' Bill Clinton was in office?!! Wasn't HE also suppsoed to be a 'black' president why no holding HIS sorry sleazy ass accountable?! Unless you truly believe that black men were better off with Clinton in office which they weren't. Nor was he held to task for it even though he 'happily' took the moniker right but only because he knew black people were the dupedest of dupes he could play like a damn harp! Please until we stop fawning over white male politicians while NEVER holding their feet to the fire this kind of thing will continue. And maybe people like the NBC need to stop being a crabs in a barrel or demanding change overnight which wasn't gonna happen anyway. You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear and Mr. Obama has enough dumb bleeps making his life miserable for black people to keep piling on as well. Especially when we don't do that to 'other' folks.

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