Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Thoughts on the Inauguration

I’m sitting at my desk feeling might proud. Not only am I feeling it in my spirit.. I also feel proud to be called a citizen of the United States of America. Similar to our First Lady Michelle, I’ve never experienced a feeling like this before. At least in this moment in time, I really feel that we are one.

I’ve always felt a connection to the past struggles of black people. When I was a kid every February they would show the biography of Martin Luther King and the United States resistance to basic civil rights for African Americans. I remember being 8 years old and feeling angery, connecting with those that came before me. I had the same feeling in junior high when I had to write a story about slavery. Again I was very angry and it infuriated me that my people suffered so harshly in a land we help build.

Well my friends today I watch my president Barack Obama get sworn in as President of the United States of America and it felt good… it felt damn good. I felt like reparations had finally arrived. I watched the inauguration in the presence of my co-workers. We all gathered in the lunch room and watched it together. There were people of all races watching the first black president take the reigns. People sat in that lunch room with smiles on their face; some even let a few tears slide down their cheeks. It was a glorious site to behold; I felt united with humanity not just my race.

For my grandparents and my ancestors I wanted to shout HALLELUJAH! My spirited thanked the people that came before me.. the ones that paid the price in blood, the ones that had enough faith that they knew one day we would be unstoppable. My spirit thanked those who faced the dogs, hoses, lynching, fire bombs, and untimely death at the hands of racist.

I know all of our racial issues will not evaporate in the air with the election of President Obama. Lord knows Barack is facing a nation looking for a quick resolution. Let’s not expect the man to work miracles; fore he is a mere human. But we can pray that he become equipped with supernatural wisdom, that he obtains a high level of discernment, that he hears and obeys the voice of God, that his cabinet work in an orderly and divine manner, that he stays spiritually and physically refreshed, for his marriage, the safety of the Obama’s, that he never let his power go to his head and that he always stays connected to the people.

Finally they can stop calling him president-elect… and starting calling him PRESIDENT OBAMA

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Umemployment and Black Men

Nonfarm payroll employment declined sharply in December, and the unemployment rate rose from 6.8 to 7.2 percent. Payroll employment fell by 524,000 over the month and by 1.9 million over the last 4 months of 2008. The unemployment rate for black men was 11.9 percent , almost twice that of white men, and up 4percentage points from a year earlier.

Within the last two years the unemployment rate has skyrocketed wreaking havoc on all racial demographics in the U.S. However, black men have been hardest hit by the recent economic down turn. Washington has released half of the billion(s) dollar bail out funds …. the money has yet to reach the black man on Martin Luther Dr. I’ve personally watch a black man look for a job for 9 months with barely any luck at all. He’d get a job as a temp and would be laid off two weeks later. With each passing week his self confidence and esteem seemed to slowly dissipate. Add in the fact that this man served time for a federal crime 8 years ago and it seems almost impossible for him to find work. In an effort to seek employment this man began to apply for jobs at fast food restaurants, when these places did not return his call… he felt into a deep depression. Last week I was listening to News and Notes on NPR and a caller who happened to be a black man from California was telling his story about the struggle with finding employment. This caller was a veteran and was laid off 6 months prior. When I listened to him tell his story I felt the hurt in his voice. While I understand we are in an economic recession, I must ask why are black men being hit harder than the rest of country?

Algernon Austin, director of the race, ethnicity and the economy program at the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute states, “during recessionary periods, it really goes from bad to worse.”One factor in the spike could be discrimination, citing a recent study by two Princeton professors that showed white men with criminal records were as likely to be hired as black men without criminal records.

The job market is tougher for blacks with criminal records – and rising incarceration rates in recent decades might be a factor in a faster-rising unemployment rate. Education is another factor, said Mike Walden, an economist at N.C. State University, who's seen similar trends among black men in previous downturns. In tough economic times, businesses are more willing to cut lower-level workers before higher-level employees, he said

Issues such as the mass incarceration of black males, the failure of public schools to educate black males, the high unemployment rate among black male workers, the disproportionate number of black males who are homeless, a juvenile-justice system that houses black male youths for prisons, voter disenfranchisement and the alarming homicide rate of black males are just a few of the realities that negatively impact the social and economic status of black males in this country.
Unfortunately, black males are neither influential in the political landscape nor collectively able to employ lobbyists to put those issues before the candidates. Consequently, issues affecting black males are being ignored.

There are lots of reasons why men choose not to work. Some are in school, others are ill, and some may have taken early retirement. But the gap between the number of Black men without work and White men without work is astounding. What would happen if half of all White men did not have jobs? Can you imagine, from a policy perspective, how people would respond and what would happen? Would there be a revolution? A refocusing of national priorities? A massive jobs creation program? If this would happen in response to high White joblessness, why doesn't it happen in response to high levels of Black joblessness?

If you know a black man that is looking for employment, be of assistance to him. Let him know of any jobs that may be hiring. Being unemployed for long periods of time has negative psychological effects on people. Looking for jobs in the paper and the internet can be fruitless at times. We must help one another if we as a people are going to move past this. We can’t wait for Obama and the government to come to our rescue all the time. Sometimes waiting the government comes too late…….remember Katrina? In times such as this we can’t be so selfish that we don’t help our neighbors stay afloat.