Black academics gathered at the Howard University near the Nation’s capital discussed the current conditions faced by their black brethren and the picture does not look rosy. According to the statistics that they presented, the blacks remain mired in deep recession and for them the economic recovery touted by a black president is just talk and nothing more. It has been well known that the blacks traditionally always have a higher rate of unemployment compared with whites. Sometime the difference between the white unemployment and the black unemployment is three to five points higher, and some even claim that its double the rate of whites. That may not be always true, but what is true is that the unemployment amongst the teens in the blacks is almost forty seven percent whereas the white teens have unemployment in their mid-teens. And when it comes to wealth, the disparity practically doubles. This implies that the average net worth of whites is twice as much as the average net worth of a black resident within the United States. This figure has remained consistent, during the boom times and the recessions. Black homeownership is also traditionally less than whites, and the margin has increased during this recession which officially started in 2007.There was speculation prior to the second world war in the late forty’s and fifty’s that one reason for higher unemployment among the blacks was that the pool of blacks with college education was way lower than the whites. But that myth has been discarded lately as blacks have increasingly been admitted to the colleges and are getting out with advanced degrees comparable to whites in science and business majors.In the near term things do not look anybrighter for the blacks in the near future. Affirmative action having run its course, where the new hiring are based less on color and more on qualifications at least supposedly, the disparities seem to be growing. One topic which came up over and over during the conference was how these disparities could be eradicated and the economic gap could be bridged. Some including the former assistant secretary of labor Bernard Anderson, griped about the system that they blamed perpetuates the disparities and encourages white hiring at the expense of the blacks. The majority of the participants were reluctant to attack a fellow black president, but others did not spare Obama and criticized him for doing practically nothing to encourage black employment and putting in place new guidelines and initiatives that would encourage the businesses and the government to hire more blacks specially the black teens.Some openly complained that though Obama has spoken forcefully on other issues, including the civil and human rights of the gays, but he had said nothing about black civil rights or civil rights in general. But rank and file of blacks remained resigned when pushed to voice their opinion on what Obama may do in his second term as president. Some who did not want to speak on record criticized him for starting wars or wasting money on ‘war on terror’ as much as George Bush had and being less effectual on civil right issues when compared to some of his Republican predecessors.
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Author Name : Zafar Sheikh