Friday, September 6, 2013

The Forgotten

Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 election came from a massive turnout of black voters.  55.4 percent of blacks, ages 18-24 years and 64.0 percent of blacks, ages 25-44 years, voted for Obama in 2008.  In 2012, Obama had another victory with support from 93 percent of black voters who voted for him again.  The record shows that Obama has repeatedly won favor amongst blacks but how has his presidency affected the overall black community?

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, as of July 2013, the unemployment rate in America hovers around 7.4 percent.  Of this percentage, the highest unemployment rate affects the black population with men over the age of 20 unemployed at a rate of 12.4 percent and women over the age of 20 slightly below at 11.3 percent.  Young men and women ages 16-19 years suffer the greatest blow with an unemployment rate of 42.9 percent. 

Furthermore, black homeownership is now at an 18 year low.  For many Americans, regardless of their ethnic background, owning a home is part of the American dream.  Yet, the historic low rate of home ownership especially for blacks today indicates that for many of them, the dream is far from reachable.

To be sure, the first black president of the United States has every desire to help dreamers.  Unfortunately, he is only interested in helping those who help him to sustain power.  In 2008 and 2012, it was the black community that helped him reach his goal.  Today, it is the Hispanic community.  Indeed, they are the new “dreamers” and the attention they receive from Obama and his administration, often at the expense of the black community (and other Americans), is a clear example of his priorities.     

Yet, despite these facts, it is impossible for those who follow Obama blindly to consider their situation worse.  After all, they are happy with free cell phones and that is just enough to keep them quiet.  They will gladly give up their freedom for the freebies.  Still many others are prone to following celebrities who have earnestly titled Obama their “lord and savior.”  Unfortunately, these individuals too remain unreachable. 

On the other hand, for the reasonable and intelligent individuals in the way of Benjamin Banneker, Phyllis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the circumstances affecting the black community need serious reflection.  President Ronald Reagan once suggested, “Ask yourself are you better off now than you were four years ago?”  The true answer to this simple question is worthy of attention not only by blacks but all Americans.  It is also a great place to begin finding solutions for our real problems.  

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