Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Get a job and make your vote count!

June 28, 2008 by  
Filed under News, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.com) Like legendary Roman Fiddlers, African Americans stood starry-eyed in June when the numbers showed Senator Barack Obama would be the Democrat Party’s presidential nominee.

In unison with the race-neutral Obama campaign African Americans too have turned a blind eye to the fact that black joblessness is twice that of white Americans.

The devastating effects of crime, family dissolution, welfare, and low levels of social organization among African Americans are fundamentally a consequence of the lack of work that blacks endure because of institutional racism and a lack of attention to public policies on this issue.

Too many blacks can’t get a job and any candidate wanting African American votes should be made to outline economic plans that provide more jobs for us and all Americans.

The latest business conditions show reason why African Americans should make their vote work for them. We are in a deeply troubled economy, and again, blacks are the last and least of workers. The number of unemployed people grew by 861,000 in May – rising to 8.5 million. The over-the-month jump in unemployment reflects more workers losing jobs and an increase in those coming into the job market – especially younger people – to look for work.

When Obama stared his “Impossible Dream,” the number of unemployed stood at 6.9 million and the jobless rate was 4.5 percent. Since then, a trio of crises – housing, credit and financial – have rocked the economy.

While African American voters are knee-deep with Obama in “putting race behind us,” black youngsters face racial discrimination in hiring facts of life in that will only get worse. Both the nearly 260,000 African American teenagers actively seeking employment in May 2008 and didn’t find any; and the 4 million black kids just “out of work” are fodder for America’s criminal justice system and prison-industrial complex.

The “change” Barack Obama’s wrought has been good. In a world in which many young black men have been duped into believing that life is either a choice between crime or stardom via sports or rap, Obama shows a third way. And while that third way doesn’t mean that every black boy will grow up to be a presidential nominee, it does show that education is a better fit than prison; and that being a good speaker garners as many fans as being a good rapper.

With the evidence of inequity so stark, Black Americans should make better use of their ballots. Concurrent with the special interests of getting earmarks, tax cuts, etc., shouldn’t we be getting domestic policies that help us? All political levels of Black Americans have to take a stand in regards to the forces and policies that have produced the nation’s obscene social and economic inequality. The “dreams” of Black Americans should practical.

We need to make job creation the No. 1 election issue to spark the creation of decent jobs on a scale that would bring the U.S. to full employment status, whether Obama gets into the White House, or not. Jobs, and processes for us getting them, aren’t happening; and won’t unless and until there’s a movement that demands it.


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