Today is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day — a day to remember the man who fought peacefully for the full civil rights of black Americans.
Last Saturday evening, Michelle Obama took to the stage at a black awards ceremony to exhort her fellow blacks to re-elect Skippy for another four years.
The ceremony was the BET Honors, hosted by Black Entertainment Television at the historic Warner Theatre in downtown Washington, D.C. The ceremony was chock full of the Top One Percent of African Americans, including honoree Maya Angelou; entertainers Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Queen Latifah, Spike Lee, Cicely Tyson and Stevie Wonder; and political figures former Bush administration’s secretary of state Colin Powell and current attorney general Eric “I-won’t-prosecute-the-New-Black-Panthers-’cause-they’re-my-people” Holder.
As speaker after speaker at the ceremony praised the Obamas for being the first black family in the White House and told the audience to “vote like your life depends on it,” Moochelle grandiosely proclaimed to black America:
“It is not enough merely to seek greatness for ourselves, we must help others discover greatness within themselves. We need to reach down and reach out, and give back and lift others.”
That led us to wonder just how black Americans have fared under Obama and why they should, once again, obediently trudge to the polling booths to reelect him to four more years. Here’s what we found:
Unemployment of black Americans was 10% under Clinton — whom blacks had called their “first black president” until the half-black Obama came along — and 9% under George W. Bush. But, under the reign of “the first black family in the White House,” although unemployment among the general U.S. population is about 9.1%, black joblessness is a whopping 16.2%. CBS News calls it a Great Depression-era level of joblessness:
[H]istorically, the unemployment rate for African Americans has always been higher than the national average. However, now it’s at Depression-era levels. The most recent figures show African American joblessness at 16.2%. For black males, it’s at 17.5%; And for black teens, it’s nearly 41%.
You may say: “B…but, it’s not Skippy’s fault! It’s the Great Recession, and everyone’s been hit, not just blacks!”
Ahhh, but we say: “If it’s the economy, why are blacks doing so much worse than the general population?”
The U.S. Department of Labor chart below shows the unemployment rates from the 4th quarter in 2007 to the second quarter in 2011. The unemployment rates for white men went from 4% to 7.9% (an increase of 3.9%), whereas those for jobless black men rose from 8.4% to 16.1% (an increase of 7.7%). That’s a difference of 3.8% between blacks and whites.
Furthermore, why is black unemployment stagnant when overall U.S. unemployment got better (supposedly) in 2011? CNN Money reports, Jan. 6, 2012:
For the country as a whole, the unemployment rate fell in 2011…. Not so much for African Americans.
As the economy slowly improved last year, the unemployment rate fell for both whites and Latinos. But at the end of the year the black unemployment rate was 15.8%, exactly where it started out 2011, according to the government’s December jobs report released Friday. That’s a sharp contrast to the white unemployment rate, which fell to 7.5% last month….
Black men still have a higher unemployment rate overall, but their’s at least improved — while for black women, it got worse. Rodgers attributes this trend to massive government job cuts during the year. “Minorities and women are heavily concentrated in public sector jobs,” he said….
Overall, blacks accounted for only 9% of the nation’s job gains during the year, even though they make up 12% of the civilian population, according to Department of Labor.
Last August, the Obamas took two separate government planes to Martha’s Vineyard for their 10-day summer vacation, which cost taxpayers thousands $ in additional expenses because Moochelle just couldn’t, wouldn’t wait FOUR hours for Skippy.
While the Obamas were golfing, bicycling, shopping, and eating ice cream in that playground-of-the-rich, on August 18, 2011, thousands of mainly black jobless Americans camped out overnight for a job fair in Atlanta. The next day, dressed in their full business suits, they waited in a seemingly endless line in the baking heat. 20 people were treated for heat exhaustion.
But Moochelle and her fellow black One Percenters want you to “vote like your life depends on it” for four more years of Skippy.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said:
“All I’m saying is simply this, all life is interrelated, that somehow we’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
Do you think Skippy and Moochelle believe that?
~Eowyn & Steve