In the 2008 election cycle, America proceeded to elect her first black president. Predictably, blacks euphorically voted for Barack Obama in hopes of seeing what many considered a dream, become reality. The historicity and symbolism of that election were things that most blacks wanted to participate in, evidenced by ninety-six percent of blacks casting their votes in favor of Obama. The significance of his election on the psyche of black America couldn’t be minimized nor ignored. Many anticipated that the implications of such an historical event would be- and could be- channeled by millions of individual black Americans for their socio-economic benefit.
Four years later, with most of his self-created and externally-projected veneer having worn off, Barack Obama won his re-election bid to the presidency. Even considering his poor economic stewardship and socially-divisive record, particularly the constant level of high unemployment and its impact on black America, exit polls showed that ninety-three percent of blacks voted for Obama anyway.
That blacks voted for Obama in 2008 was understandable; in 2012 it was inexcusable, an example of irrationality.
Because the economic situation for black Americans under the country’s first black president has been nothing short of atrocious.
Since January 2009, the first month of Obama’s first term in office, the black unemployment rate was 12.7%. It wasn’t until December’s 2013 unemployment numbers were released that we saw black unemployment fall below twelve percent. The black unemployment rate was been at or above 13%, fifty-five times; at or above 14%, thirty-nine times; at or above 15%, twenty-nine times and at or above 16%, eleven times. Black unemployment hit its peak under Obama at 16.9% in March, 2010.
Black teen unemployment has been worse- much worse. It’s been below thirty-five percent only twice during Obama’s reign- August, 2009 and February 2012. It’s been at or above 40%, thirty times. Black teen unemployment hit a high of 49% in September, 2010. This is a catastrophic look into the socio-economic future of black America.
And no one says “boo” about it.
Last month, the overall unemployment rate for blacks and black teens was 11.9% and 35.5%, respectively.
As we know, the drop in the unemployment rate among blacks isn’t the result of a growing and expanding economy but because, like the national unemployment rate, blacks are leaving the workforce as hope of finding work continues to fade.
According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, December 2013 saw the overall black labor participation dip .3% to 60.2%. This reflected the lowest rate in thirty-seven years (December, 1977). For black men specifically, the rate fell .7% to 65.6%, which is the lowest record to date.
Sentier Research reported that between June 2009 and June 2012, median annual household income for blacks fell 11.1 percent to $32,498 (from $36,567). The drop for whites was 5.2 percent; for Hispanics, it dropped 4.1 percent.
The Census Bureau reports (2010), via CNN Money, whites ($110,729) had twenty-two times more wealth than their black counterparts ($4,995).
Also, according to the same report, of all the homes that report receiving food stamps, 26.4 percent are black; yet blacks are only 13 percent of the total population. For the record, forty-seven million Americans representing twenty-three million households now receive assistance through SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
And this year, black homeownership has hit an eighteen-year low.
And yet, the Congressional Black Caucus is still not marching around the White House. Actually, they’re not doing much of anything noteworthy.
This bleak economic picture and outlook is sad and at one point in time would’ve stimulated a quantifiable amount of sympathy for- or toward- blacks.
But, not anymore because it’s very difficult to inspire sympathy when blacks intentionally contribute to that which ails them.
It’s awful but it’s also inexcusable.
Blacks that voted for Obama did so at the expense of their own best interests, period. Again, voting for Obama in 2008 was understandable- disagreeable, but understandable.
But for blacks to vote for him again in 2012 and then continue to support him and his legislation that has set blacks back a generation, socio-economically, is simply indefensible. Blacks need to think about how they look when they overwhelmingly support a man (and party) who, when questioned about his lack of attention to the economic plight of millions of black Americans- his most unquestioningly loyal demographic, responded by saying “I’m not the president of black America.”
Blacks supported this president in word and deed to the point of embarrassment- again, at the expense of their socio-economic well-being and credibility- and he says, in essence, “Take a hike!”
The sad reality is that Obama got exactly what he needed from blacks- electoral support and continued racial defenses of his increasing number of inadequacies, mistakes and lies. Blacks are also getting exactly what they voted for in Barack Obama- a black mascot, and nothing more. Barack Obama is a false god, a symbol of a projected but poor representation of black power who has turned out to be power-less, not only for black America, but America as a whole, openly ridiculed both here and abroad.
Continued support of Barack Obama by blacks demonstrates to the country that blacks still prioritize and commodify race at the expense of all else that’s important. If worshipping at the altar of racial pride and solidarity is what blacks want, choose and continue to do, they are responsible participants of their own reality while sacrificing their future. Blacks also severely undermine the future of their children, resigning them to a life of substandard living, government dependency or both. These are painful truths, but blacks must face them nonetheless.
Is “race” still that important?