African-Americans in June 2011 have the highest rate of unemployment of any ethnic group in America. The most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that black unemployment is 16.1%, and the total unemployment in the country is at 9%. While white unemployment has decreased since May of last year to 8%, our numbers are increasing.

The unemployment numbers for Hispanics is 11.8%, and the rate for Asians is at 6.4%. There are a variety of reasons for the disparity in the numbers, but we all can agree that there is a crisis and a state of emergency in the African-American community. To Reverend Jesse Jackson, the high numbers of unemployed black is a

Rev. Jesse Jackson

“cry for help” due to systematic racism and a failure to enforce the law.

I would agree with Rev Jackson, but I think the problem of black unemployment is far more complex, and a portion of our problem is the state of our family and community. A lack of education is pervasive in our community, and a small percentage in the black community is prepared for present jobs and jobs in the future.

The problems with unemployment in the black community must be attacked on many fronts. African-American politicians, the black business community, black leaders and community organizers must petition and put pressure on President Obama and his administration. We should not be satisfied with a generic workforce conference, but what we need is a jobs conference focused on the black community.

In 2011, it is not politically correct or expedient for our president to talk about or focus on the problems in the black community. But when we analyze the unemployment numbers, blacks are hurting the most. We have the worst numbers in the country and there is no plan to alleviate the suffering.

Dr. Boyce Watkins

“Like a festering and infested wound that remains untreated, President Obama’s support within the black community is threatened by the fact that the people who love him most are suffering unlike anything our nation has seen over the last 50 years,” says Dr. Boyce Watkins. Since the beginning of 2008, some 375,000 government jobs have been eliminated, and blacks make up 21% of the government workforce. Many blacks who had excellent government salaries have lost a paycheck, and the same is happening in the private sector.

Many Blacks in blue collar positions and lower class jobs are losing their jobs to many in the Hispanic community. Restaurant workers and the agricultural industry are now controlled by immigrants, who make sure that their family is the first hired. With global outsourcing, many of the office jobs and manufacturing jobs no longer exist.

There are no simple answers to the Black unemployment crisis. The question must be raised is, Just how high does the black unemployment rate have to be before the Obama Administration and Congress consider it a crisis? Maybe the Congressional Black Caucus can initiate a study on black unemployment in their districts and spearhead a movement to develop a plan to eliminate and improve black unemployment.

As the black unemployment numbers continue to deteriorate, it is time for African-Americans to use their political clout. If the automobile industry, housing industry, financial industry, and construction industry can get billions in bailouts, there is no reason why the black community should not get their portion of bailouts.

In many of these depressed communities, the target market is 75% to 85% African-American. Everyone in the country must be held accountable for this crisis. The solution must start with the apathetic attitude in the black community, and should also be addressed in the White House and the halls of Congress. African-Americans must attack unemployment on all the fronts, and our community must be mobilized with an organized plan.

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