First Black President Bad For Black America

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.

Why?

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.

With these kinds of stats, it’s no surprise that the black poverty rate now stands at twenty-eight percent, compared to just ten percent for whites.

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?

 

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Open Letter To The President Regarding The Economy

Mr. President-

Mr. President, with all due respect, your record of economic stewardship has been a nightmare and no amount of spin can change or erase this unfortunate fact. Whether this reality is caused by your misunderstanding of basic economic principles, your rigid and religious-like loyalty to political progressivism, or because you simply and intentionally give lip service to an economic situation that isn’t main priority, no one can be sure.  But as the president of the country, credit and fault begins and ends with you.

As such, I’m writing this letter on behalf of America in an appeal to the one thing that didn’t contract during the economic recession and has managed to withstand your economic “recovery” -your ego.  I’m thinking that if we as Americans appeal to that which you hold so dear, which your reactions have proven sensitive when challenged, there may be a possibility that you just might realize the massive error of your economic ways.

The employment situation is continuing to go in a direction that the country rather not, nor cannot afford to see.  Though we saw another month where the employment rates continued to drop- no matter how your administration attempts to spin the news- clear-thinking Americans know- many from personal experience, the economic situation isn’t improving. Statistically, the BLS says the national unemployment rate dropped to 7.3% and the rate for Latinos dropped to 9.3%.  Unfortunately, the rate for blacks has increased to 13% and the rate for black teens is now 38.2%.

Obviously, this isn’t cause for celebratory chest bumps or misrepresentations by your press secretary. The labor force participation rate is at a thirty-four year low at 63.4% and has been under 64% for nineteen straight months. Ninety million Americans are no longer in the labor force; teen unemployment is at record lows and almost a million people have given up hope of finding a job because of the weak job market. This also says nothing about the more than two hundred-fifty companies that have been forced to reduce employee hours and actual employment in proactive attempts to comply with your signature legislation the misnamed Affordable Care Act.

As captain of this rudderless ship Mr. President, more Americans are on disability insurance than there are people living in New York City.  Reinforcing this sad and unfortunate reality, the Cato Institute notes that federal welfare programs in 35 states provide more of a financial incentive than actually working.  In 13 of these states, the welfare equivalent is above $15 per hour.  In your homes state of Hawaii, welfare recipients receive the equivalent of almost $61,000 pre-tax income per year in a state where minimum wage is $7.50 an hour and the median salary is just above $36, 000.

Mr. President, since you were elected in 2008, the median family income has dropped for most Americans- for whites there’s been a 3.6% decline, for Hispanics 4.5% decline and for blacks, a 10.9% decline. But that’s not all. Your economic policies have also resulted in a spike in the poverty rate, particularly distressing for blacks as it’s almost 26%. This is in combination with the black labor force participation rate being at 61.4% and an unemployment rate that has been continually near or at 13% during your presidency. According to the National Urban League’s 2012 State of Black America, in most statistical measures the economic gains that blacks have made during the past thirty years- particularly as a result of the economic policies of Ronald Reagan- have been wiped out as a result of the recession and the so-called recovery that followed.  As a result, though the middle class has been negatively affected by your policies, the black middle class has been particularly hardest hit.

Mr. President, these statistics aren’t abstract numbers; they represent real people who continue to press on despite losing hope- in a real and sustained economic recovery- and faith in you as our leader.  These prolonged, negative economic indicators are a confirmation in many minds of your unpreparedness for office.

Many will continue to excuse your lack of leadership qualities, preferring to lay the blame for the economy on everything from obstinate Republicans to the repercussions of slavery. You yourself have blamed your poor stewardship on the obstruction of “phony scandals.”  Sir, these excuses, characterized by the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’ does you no favors; actually they further expose your inability and reluctance to accept responsibility and embrace leadership. It’s precisely why the American public no longer trusts what you say or what you do.  It’s also why you have been found wanting as a leader in the international community.

These critiques aren’t because of your blackness but rather your ineffectiveness; the frustration is palpable.  In the spirit of Rev. King, you’re rightly being judged on the content of your character- and the actions brought forth from it, not by the color of your skin.

Mr. President, again, we appeal to your ego.  History may not be as kind to you as the bubble you currently reside.  Being the first black president of the United States is historical and it’s a remarkable testament to the character of the American ethos. But being “the first black” simply isn’t enough.  The novelty has worn off and it’s time you actually do something of substance to warrant the reverence in which you see yourself and which American posterity will remember you. You have three years left and the clock is ticking.

Respectfully yours,

America.