By J. Smith
While the Congressional agenda has been focused on the federal budget and spending cuts, the National Urban League’s State of Black America report is focused on the same thing the 15 percent of black America (in some cases 50 percent) is focused on — jobs.
The reports cover topics like education and health care, but each summary is connected by a common thread — jobs. The League is not responding to a new phenomenon, but instead calling attention to a consistent pattern of black unemployment that transcends the country’s overall economic condition.
“The most cursory look at the job numbers for African-Americans, tells the grim reason for that assertion. The black jobless rate is still nearly double that of whites. The rate for young black males is far worse. In some urban areas one out of three young blacks are unemployed. The chronic high jobless rate is not soley the result of the economic downturn of the past two years. During the 1990s, a boom time for the economy, the black jobless rate was still double that of white males,” The Grio reports.
In their report, the League details “A Dozen Ideas for Putting Urban America Back to Work” and points to two “grave dangers” in the high unemployment rate for black men: It creates a permanent underclass within black communities and it drains the social services resources within the already under-funded communities.
The Grio reports that the League, the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus have pushed the Obama administration to make black unemployment a priority, but alas, it has escaped the president’s purview.
Fortunately, I knew better than to think the black community’s problems would get some shine once our ray of hope — Barack Obama — was elected to the White House. But for the outpour of “urban” voters who thought he would take particular care of the black community’s needs will remember this come re-election time.