The news out of the August job report wasn’t a shocker. The unemployment rate for blacks (16.7 percent) is the highest it has been since 1984. But all one has to do is drive around Austin on a weekday around noon to see the staggering number of people on the street with nowhere to go and nothing to do. It’s immediately apparent that the rate is even higher for us, especially if we add in our young people.
When I posted the article on my Facebook page, I included the comment that the graph would be more accurate if it also showed the increase in the number of illegal aliens at the same time. With most blacks living in urban environments, this is an excellent opportunity to see what effect illegal immigration has had on black folks, as opposed to those who constantly want to give us the “party line.”
That line, spewed by politicians who want us to vote for them, yet at every opportunity they lump us in with Hispanics as if we have a union and equalized playing field. If blacks lament their lack of employment and mention Hispanics in the same breath, those same politicians – who wanted us to vote for them because they are black and declared they wanted to represent us – will refer to jobs picking lettuce and tomatoes and ignore all the small factory jobs that are filled with people who shouldn’t be in this country.
My focus in this column isn’t on Hispanics. They have enough folks advocating for them and their issues. Even President Obama kowtowed to them after some protestors demonstrated a few weeks ago. Obama responded by issuing an executive order that basically stated Homeland Security would no longer focus on the cases of the 300,000 people slated for deportation but would concentrate on those with a criminal history or are a threat to public safety.
This Thursday night, President Obama is going to give a speech on jobs. With record numbers in the black community suffering from a lack of jobs, it is going to be imperative for us to hear what he has to say. And he should speak to us. Not in code words like “a rising tide raises all ships” but with an agenda specifically for black America.
When you listen, get beyond the rhetoric. Re-election season is coming and politicians who want to be re-elected will say anything to get your vote. But I want something tangible. Every other special interest is getting their due. Gays are getting the ability to marry; illegal aliens the right to legally stay in this country.
Black folks are getting what?
One last thing and a slight change of subject. If you haven’t been paying attention, the post office wants to close every post office location on the black West Side. Seems to me that if you don’t have a job, you don’t have much to mail. I see this as a part of the very calculated agenda of devastating our side of town even further. The closings of those post offices are not a “done deal.” But our side of town shouldn’t remain quiet over the issue. Call your alderman, then your congressman and finally your U.S. senators Durbin and Kirk. Until we fight for something, we will continue to lose out on everything.