Home Commentary Obama’s Burden: Addressing the Black Labor Crisis in “Post-Racial” America
Obama’s Burden: Addressing the Black Labor Crisis in “Post-Racial” America
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Obama’s Burden: Addressing the Black Labor Crisis in “Post-Racial” America

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By Avis Jones-DeWeever (HuffingtonPost.com) – When President Obama addresses the nation with his long-awaited jobs prescription, one thing is certain. Any strategy he puts forth now must not only seek to move the needle for the nation as a whole, it must also include specific remedies for the ever-deepening jobs crisis within black America. Though politically precarious, the August unemployment numbers reveal a crisis that can no longer be ignored. Although America as a whole finds itself seemingly immobilized in its long walk back to economic recovery, the black community continues its plunge, now reaching unemployment rates not seen in this nation for nearly 30 years. These stark and divergent realities make one thing clear, the time for direct action is now.

Yet, as the nation awaits the President’s plan for recovery, most certainly any jobs prescription he puts forth will be measured by the politically-driven, and all too convenient pseudo-crisis of the federal deficit.

Is the deficit high? Sure. Could it stand to be lower? Of course. But when some twenty million people across this nation are out of work, six million of whom have been out of work for the long haul, and when we, as a nation, experience the largest number of people living in poverty that we have seen since those statistics have been recorded, along with record levels of food insecurity, the crisis most pertinent to the future of this nation is not some big amorphous number being wielded like a weapon by wealthy men donning fake tans and designer suits. The real crisis is much more organic, much more concrete, much more basic in the lives of families across this nation. It is a crisis that supplants dignity and pushes one to the brink of daily survival.

America’s real crisis can be found in the lives of people who continue to wonder where their next paycheck will come from.

People who wonder just how much longer they’ll be able to hold on to that roof over their head before the hammer of foreclosure brings their American dream crumbling down all around them.

People who have, all their lives, played by the rules, tried their best, and yet still find themselves trapped in conditions that drain their wealth rather than providing opportunities to expand it.

That is the real crisis. Read the full story at Huffington Post Black Voices.

Avis A. Jones-DeWeever, Ph.D. serves as the Executive Director of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW),