Saturday, September 10, 2011
Preseident Obama's Job Plan Address
We are familar with the black unemployment numbers:
While the country's unemployment rate stands at 9.1 percent, black unemployment has hit 16.7 percent, the highest since 1984. Unemployment among male blacks is at 18percent, and black teens are unemployed at a rate of 46.5 percent.
After months of frustration, some blacks vocally expressed their disappointment with the first African-American elected president.
Granted, this is the Great Recession - the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930's to hit the USA and global markets.
Granted, the GOP majority in the House of Representatives is stacked with obstructionist and anti-government Tea Party zealots.
Black folks are feeling the most intense pain and want relief. We know the refrain: When White America Catches the Cold, Black America Catches Pneumonia
So to many, the tone and substance of President Obama's Job's speech in front of Congress was a welcome relief:
President Barack Obama's jobs pitch is already playing well with blacks, who had grown plenty irked with him over what they perceived as his indifference to their needs.
Social media sites were abuzz with highlights from the president's plan. Amid the comments were excited responses to the proposal, especially from the black community. Twitter was full of similar bursts of excitement over the plan, with some black Tweeters defending the president and applauding his message. One user tweeted: "Taking a sharp tone `cause the NumbersDontLie! Pass this bill and put America back to work."
Prominent African-Americans like Kenneth Chenault, chairman and CEO of American Express and Michael Nutter, mayor of Philadelphia, quickly applauded the plan. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., has been one of the most vocal advocates for dealing more effectively with black unemployment, but she was enthusiastic.
This excitement aside, President Obama alone can not rescue wayward elements of the African-American community. To be more precise, government alone can not rescue the ailing black underclass from systemic problems that retard progress.
Yes, they can be partners. Yes, they can provide targeted resources, strengthen public schools, create more job and vocational training programs.
But they can not go into the home and turn off the gameboy and open a book. They can not disconnect the TV and host study time.
They can not make parents attend PTA meetings. They can not make parents read to infants and toddlers.
They can not make parents set high academic standards for the children.
This work has to start in the home.
The support can organically grow in the community, churches, mentoring organizations, fraternalties, sororities and the local business commerce.
But it starts with personal choice.
For example, most people in the USA can transition from poverty to middle-class by adhering to the following life style choices:
Stay in school.
Find steady work - if out of work continue education in a community college, vocational training program or internship.
Delay parenthood until two committed parents are financially and emotionally ready.