Black Public Scholars

October 9, 2010

Dr. King vs. Obama: What Would One Say About the Other?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Staff @ 1:40 am

by Mike Green, Huffington Post

When unemployment in Black America topped 16 percent and Black teen unemployment skyrocketed to an outrageous 45 percent this summer, the voices of outrage were muffled in the pockets of a few media that cared to cover the crisis. The majority of media wrung their collective hands over 9 and 10 percent unemployment challenges in White America, with overall teen unemployment hovering at 23 percent.

Dirty Secret

"A dirty little secret is that many jobs are not going to come back," says Johnathan Holifield, founder of Trim Tab System, LLC, a personal development and organizational leadership methodology, which applies innovation concepts and tools to generate exponential impact.

"Under the old model, recovery meant increased productivity, which meant increased hiring, Holifield said. "That is no longer the case. Because of the ingenious uses and applications and adoptions of new technology throughout our economy, we will continue to experience productivity growth but we will not have the level of job replacement and hiring that our recoveries in the past have been accustomed to."

Dear President Obama …

Dr. Boyce Watkins, founder of Your Black World, underscores Holifield’s point. He wrote a public letter to President Barack Obama that stated in part:

"In addition to massive unemployment, wealth inequality in America remains a persistent problem, causing African Americans to bear the brunt of this economic crisis in ways that are unimaginable to other Americans. Our homes are facing foreclosure more often and we are less able to rely on a source of background wealth to help us get through the toughest times.

"Yet, while we are the least prepared for the recession, we are being hit with a downturn that is twice as forceful as that being experienced by the rest of America. In fact, even after the recession is over, our unemployment rate will probably be as high or higher than the rate that white Americans are agonizing over right now. The United Nations has investigated this issueas a human rights violation, because it appears that we live in a nation that accepts a black underclass as a default way of life.

"To this point, your administration has remained disturbingly silent on the issue of black unemployment. The silence is deafening, but the economic hardship is loud and clear. I am concerned that many of your key economic advisers are unable or unwilling to process and empathize with the depths of black economic misery in America."

Never-Ending Recession

Dr. Watkins called on President Obama to institute political efforts and policy measures that would help create urban jobs through congressional legislation and generate more government contracts with African American companies.

At theLoop21.org, Dr. Watkins made a compelling case that suggests even when the economy recovers, the burden of unemployment for Black America will still be in double digits while the nation celebrates a long-awaited return to prosperity. He states:

"Our country spent 400 years firmly placing black folks at the bottom of the social totem poll, only allowing us to recently participate as laborers in the American economic system.

"The conclusion is that even during good economic times, it is acceptable in the eyes of the Obama Administration for black unemployment to be worse than it is for whites during a recession. The recession will never end for us."

 

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