The dismal June unemployment report is a reminder that when white America catches a cold, black America catches pneumonia. Truth be told, race is the subtext to the jobless recovery.
The Associated Press reports that black economic gains have been wiped out by the recession:
Millions of Americans endured similar financial calamities in the recession. But for Goldring and many others in the black community, where unemployment is still rising, job loss has knocked them out of the middle class and back into poverty. Some even see a historic reversal of hard-won economic gains that took black people decades to achieve.
Since the end of the recession, the overall unemployment rate has fallen from 9.4 to 9.1 percent, while the black unemployment rate has risen from 14.7 to 16.2 percent, according to the Department of Labor.
But the disappearing black middle class is not on policymakers’ agenda. Instead, the White House is convening a Hispanic Policy Conference:
On Monday July 11th and Tuesday July 12th, the White House will host a Hispanic Policy Conference, bringing community leaders from across the country together with a broad range of White House and Cabinet officials for an in-depth series of interactive workshops and substantive conversations on the Administration’s efforts as they relate to the Hispanic community.
Participants, including community leaders and local elected officials, will have the opportunity to interact with federal policy makers on the issues that matter most to Hispanics and all Americans, including creating jobs and strengthening the economy, expanding access to affordable and quality health care, reforming our nation’s education system, protecting civil rights, and fixing the broken immigration system so that it meets our nation’s 21st century economic and security needs.
Meanwhile, black leaders are engaged in a “family feud.” Philadelphia Tribune columnist Linn Washington Jr. recently wrote:
So, some black folks are bashing Princeton Professor Cornel West for his sharply phrased critiques of President Barack Obama’s failure to specifically address crisis-proportion problems in a long-suffering segment of American society: the black community.
Black supporters of the first African-American president echo the rationale advanced by Obama himself that he is the president of all Americans so addressing issues specific to African-American would be inappropriate.
The Hispanic Policy Conference is merely the latest outreach event to address issues important to a specific group.
Obama has twice hosted the White House Tribal Nations Conference.
In January, more than 800 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders attended the kickoff event of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the White House Initiative Summit on Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth in Silicon Valley.
The goal of the Initiative is “to highlight both the tremendous unmet needs in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities as well as the dynamic community assets that can be leveraged to meet many of those needs.”
Will the White House’s cold shoulder to the unmet needs of African Americans erode black support for President Obama?
The Gallup survey says Obama’s job approval among African Americans is 85 percent.