Yes Black Unemployment Stays High, Whites Get Another Decline. : ThyBlackMan

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Yes Black Unemployment Stays High, Whites Get Another Decline.

September 8, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( The recent jobs data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics was not necessarily a boost for the Obama Administration.  Black unemployment remained steady at 14.1 percent this month.  The number is not as high as the 16.7 percent mark from one year ago today, but is still more than twice as high as the unemployment rate for both white men and white women.

Black men saw their unemployment rate drop from 14.8 percent to 14.3 percent.  With the drop, African American males still have the highest unemployment rate among any gender/racial group in the country.  Some see the decline as a sign of relief, but the rate is very high compared to the  unemployment rate for white men, which stands at 6.9 percent.

Black women saw an increase in their unemployment rate from 11.5 percent to 12 percent.  Black females have an unemployment rate that is 76 percent higher than white women, who saw their unemployment rate drop from 6.8 percent to 6.5 percent.  White males witnessed a drop in their unemployment rate from 6.9 percent to 6.8 percent.

Black teens saw their incredibly high unemployment rate rise from 36.6 percent to 37.9 percent.  This compares with 22.8 percent for white teens.

We can see from the data that both white men and white women experienced declines in their unemployment rates.  African Americans, as a whole, saw their rate remain steady.  We can express some degree of appreciation for the fact that black male unemployment declined, but this must be measured against the fact that the rate was incredibly high to begin with.

One of the most interesting things about the recent presidential campaign is that the Obama Administration is being attacked consistently by mostly white constituents, who are angry about having a white unemployment rate of 7.2 percent.  This has led to even the president’s supporters saying that his administration has been weak on economic policy.

So, this leads to the obvious question:  If whites have a right to be angry about 7.2 percent unemployment, how should African Americans feel about 14.1 percent?  Does it make sense that the strongest supporters of President Obama (African Americans) are the ones who are suffering the most economically, the ones most likely to remain silent and also the last ones to be mentioned in Obama Administration’s policies?

Another point to chew on is this:  The unemployment rates that many whites are complaining about today are the same rates that African Americans would be expected to celebrate.  If African American unemployment were to reach the 7.2 percent mark enjoyed by whites and black people were to complain as much as whites are doing right now, they’d look at us like we’re crazy.  So, just like during slavery, African Americans are expected to feast and enjoy the scraps that whites would gladly throw in the trash.

The black teen unemployment rate, which stands at an unacceptably high 37.9 percent, likely plays a role in the large numbers of teen homicides taking place right in President Obama’s hometown of Chicago.  When I went to visit the city this year, there were some who were outraged over the fact that the president and senior advisor Valerie Jarrett used the services of 300 police officers to protect their wealthy friends at the wedding of Valerie’s daughter, all while black children were being murdered right down the street.  Sadly enough, the president didn’t mention a word about the genocidal violence in his home city and instead went to console the small number of victims at the shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

When young people have jobs, educational opportunities and programs for engagement, they are less likely to be out in the streets getting killed.  The Urban League’s recommendation of targeted economic policy for communities hardest hit by the recession is one of those Black Agenda items that the president could have pursued that would have improved the black unemployment rate.  Part of the reason that black folks are put at the bottom of the economic priority list is that some of us enjoy being at the bottom of the list.  When we don’t open our mouths, our community does not get fed, and perhaps we should get away from our love of style over substance.

These thoughts are not meant to rain on the parade of those who are in a perpetual love affair with President Obama.  He is a great man, and makes a lot of people happy (these remarks are not personal).  It’s to highlight the blatant hypocrisy that many of us have come to accept and that many politicians serve to perpetuate.  The bottom line is that if whites have a right to complain about 7.2 percent unemployment, then blacks have the right to scream and holler about 14.1 percent unemployment.  Anyone who disagrees with this assertion is probably a racist.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. For more information, please visit


10 Responses to “Yes Black Unemployment Stays High, Whites Get Another Decline.”
  1. bruce geiger says:

    Steps to success
    Ladder to success

    You may think of the progression of an individual from childhood to senior citizen status in many different ways. The path can be thought of as progress up a ladder or staircase that leads to a certain result such as parenting, business, sports, education and many others. The individual person can be thought of as climbing or descending all of the possible paths at once.

    On every ladder or staircase the average person must spend some time on each step or rung preparing to transition to the next step. The progress is not always positive, the path to the next step may be blocked by conditions that are not under the control of the climber, the climber may not do the necessary things to climb to the next step or the climber may decide to ignore the next step as undesirable or unreachable.

    If you accept the concept of a staircase or ladder of success; the basic steps that a child finds in the family and the early grades of school can be found at the bottom of all of the ladders and staircases regardless of whether they lead to sports, business or any other goal. The steps of learning will be present and a challenge even if the child does not attend school. A person with talent, initiative and purpose can climb the ladder without formal education; however the same steps must be conquered.

    There are many discouraging influences and barriers to everyone’s progress up the ladder or staircase that leads to their goal. Competition between climbers, lack of innate ability, lack of drive to succeed, and perhaps most of all Government interference prevents many from reaching their goal.

    The minimum wage legislation effectively prevents some people, such as teenagers, from even starting on the first step of the path to success. The initial steps are vital to the climber to experience being punctual, taking orders, learning how to work and helping to support the family.

    Government programs that encourage employers to hire teenagers are unnecessary. All that is needed is to exempt teenagers from the minimum wage law. Not all teens, but teens under 18 years old. And do not begin taxing their wages until they are 18 years old. This would open up entry level jobs to millions of teens and everybody would be better off.

    Compare the well being of a family has four kids that do not work with a family with four kids that all have part time jobs.

  2. Umm Yeah says:

    Hoodgirl, I agree. There is actually talk about removing the Feds mandate on improving unemployment. Many of these issues you really can’t address with just controlling the interest rate or how much money flows into the system.

    Congress has fallen asleep and we have seen a lack of leadership from the executive branch on this issue.

    If I had to guess, the ‘real’ Black unemployment rate could be as high as 25% nationwide.

  3. hoodgirl says:

    Ummm Yeah, Great Information. My husband and I routinely attend seminars at the Federal Reserve that are open to the general public called Dialoguing with the Fed where the topics range from unemployment to creating jobs. The Federal Reserve concedes that they have no tools left in their war chest and jobs will not return until there is full participation from the private sector.

  4. Umm Yeah says:

    For those interested in how the unemployment rate is calculated I wrote a simplified article for the Facebook Page at

    Also, if you want to explore the accuracy of Dr. Watkins data, visit the Bureau of Labor and Statistics at

    In short the unemployment rate is calculated by those unemployed (individuals actually seeking work) divided by the total labor force (those seeking work and those who have a job).

    It is a pretty straightforward calculation.

  5. Keith says:

    Not sure what to do with this article. I’m not even sure how these numbers and stats are taken or how unemployment is defined. I will say that I was particulary offended by the last line of this article…but then again, who cares if a white guy gets offended.

  6. kcw says:

    Well I think the “white people” are complaining about the unemployment rate period.

  7. B. Todd Rogers says:

    How is 12% 76 percent higher than 6.5%? Just saying.

  8. The reason our unemployment rate is so high is because we continue to rely on other people for our livelihood, instead of creating businesses like we did when we were segregated and had no choice. It’s a lot easier now, but because of our 400 years of mental slavery, we can’t seem to think or do for ourselves. This is why we keep spending our trillion dollars in buying power, making every other group wealthy but our own. This will continue until we realize that no one outside our community can do more for us than we can do for ourselves.

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

  9. Santiago says:

    Well, first of all the 20% figure could be true, depending of when the picture was taken. If one year ago it was 16.9 then two years ago it could have easily been 20%.

    And the reference to the 99% is obviously about the 99% of the population that earns less that 400k a year (do you see the down), so yes, he is in that 99%.

  10. Bob says:

    Well of course the pictured man couldn’t get a job! He says he’s amongst 20% of his demographic that’s unemployed (not that that statistic is even accurate), and then says he’s in the 99%. If he’d paid more attention in first grade, he probably would have grasped the concept of numeric comparison.

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