Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Black Statistics

By Alan Caruba

The speech Barack Obama gave on the subject of race in America has received all kinds of congratulatory statements. I saw news reports showing Obama on a stage full of American flags behind him and, perhaps cynically, thought that this is what every politician does in moments of crisis. Get out the flags!

Since I cannot address any of the points he made, let me refer you to the National Urban League’s annual State of Black America report, issued in April 2007.

“Empowering black men to reach their full potential is the most serious economic and civil rights challenge we face today,” said Marc H. Morial, the Urban League president, adding that is necessary, not just for blacks, but for the entire American family.

Here’s what the Urban League had to say in 2007.

African-American men are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as white males while earning 74% as much per year. Unemployment for black men was 9.5 percent, as compared to 4 percent for white men.

Black men are nearly seven times more likely to be incarcerated, with average jail sentences about ten months longer than those of their white counterparts.

Black males between 15 and 34 are nine times more likely than whites to be killed by firearms.

Black males are nearly eight times more likely than whites to suffer from AIDS.

After attending elementary school, blacks “begin to fall behind on standardized tests.” (President Bush’s heralded No Child Left Behind). The Urban League reported that in fourth grade blacks perform at a level of 87 percent of whites. By the time they reach twelfth grade, their scores are at 74 percent of whites.

By high school blacks are more likely to drop out—15 percent, as compared with 12 percent for whites.

There’s no point laying out more statistics because none of this should come as any surprise to anyone in the black community and are understood by whites as a kind of cultural contagion, a pathology that defeats black males and presumably their female counterparts.

This nation went through a Civil War in the 1860s that cost hundreds of thousands of lives in order to keep the southern states from succeeding and whose great moral cause was to end slavery. After the war the states passed the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution to insure that slavery would never again exist in America and that blacks would be granted the rights of all citizens.

In the 1960s, a century after the Civil War, yet another struggle was waged to end the indignities of segregation, Jim Crow laws, and other impediments to blacks. President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law.

Here we are nearly fifty years since those days and a black man, Barack Obama, is competing to be the nominee of the Democrat Party against yet another historical breakthrough, a white woman, the first to be taken seriously as a contender for that high office.

I would suggest that whites in America have thoroughly reformed themselves, though often because of the laws that broke the back of institutional racism. They have cheered the ascendancy of many blacks to positions of honor in this nation.

I would suggest, however, that there is a deep, frequently unspoken sadness and even anger among whites that the statistics cited by the Urban League in 2007 represent a black population that, in general, has failed to live up to the opportunity that America has provided, opportunity that people died to provide.

I know the exceptions to this and I count them to be as dear as my own family, but they are the exceptions.


Unknown said...

Obama's speech "A More Perfect Union" was just brilliant. Most impressive was his ability stand with one foot in his White heritage and the other in his Black heritage and speak frankly about race in a way neither a Black or White man ever could.

Even more impressive for me, is that after 8 years with a slack-jawed dufus in the Whitehouse, we can look forward to not only a President that can string a 6 word sentence together without drooling on himself, but he can actually WRITE such an elequent speech.

That's right - Obama wrote that speech he gave. By Himself. This speech, being lauded over by both critics and pundits alike as "Historical", was written by Senator Obama. He gets it. Without being told what to say and think by polls and advisors - he really gets it.

The man is impressive and uniquely qualified to lead our country in these Dark times.

Alan Caruba said...

Re-read the Urban League's statistics. Obama is an exception to the general condition of black America and has benefitted from all the efforts made to open the doors of opportunity to him.

I knew many such exceptions whom I greatly admire.

The ability to make a good speech, however, is not the same as the skills needed to run a great nation.

I won't argue Bush's merits because I have written extensively of my criticisms of his administration, but neither will I buy into the notion that Obama has the experience or qualifications to be President.

Longstreet said...

"THE SPEECH" ended Obama's chances of ever being elected to the Office of President of the US.


Alan Caruba said...

Yee gads, last week you wanted to bomb Iran, Longstreet. I say give them enough time and the vast demographic of Iranians under 30 will get rid of the ayatollahs sooner or later.

However, I defer to your judgement on Obama and "the Speech." I will post a serious of questions for the Democrat Party shortly.

Andy said...

And are Al Shaprton and Jesse Jackson exceptions as well? Those two guys reap more cash in from the ACLU and NAACP from the Civil Rights Act than anyone else on earth. And for some reason they still have more and more predjudices. Sharpton has also been convicted of tax evasion and yet he still gets paid to go visit Jena and trumpet around his fat face in thousand dollar suits.

Alan Caruba said...

Sharpton and Jackson get a pass for some reason. I have no idea why because, as you point out, Sharpton has had his problems with the law. Jackson has run what appears to be a shakedown, getting funding for Operation Push by telling donors that he will tell people they are discriminating against blacks, etc.

These two race baiters know how to work the media and vice-versa, so they are regretably too often seen as the voice of black America. That, in my opinion, is absurd.

Ohbrother67 said...

As the poster pointed out after over one hundred fifty years of providing special treatment for blacks they have blown the chance. They then continue to demand more and more special laws and treatment in employment and complain they do not have the same opportunity as non blacks. What a crock of bull! I have personally seen the results of affimative action in the federal government jobs. There are more deadbeat employees in federal employment than in any other place on earth. The non black community is sick and tired of hearing that blacks have less opportunity. They have had their opportunity and have shown by majority what they can do. The results are crime, high unemployment among blacks, lack of motivation to work at getting ahead unless someone hands them the chance. Generally a lazy segment of our population that continues to demand more and provide less as a result. Blacks I have worked with are opportunists in general, some are good but that is about 5 to 10%. The rest are useless and looking for a handout or looking to get out of work.

Sheka said...

What a crock of bull. Generally a lazy segment of our population? Perhaps you work with some people who are lazy, who happen to be black but you chose to condemn a whole race because of it. So there are not any lazy white people? Five out every ten people who are not black could be lazy as well.

Alan Caruba said...

@Sheja. First, your argument is with the National Urban League whose data I cited.

Second, the post from was from 2008 and the data on black employment in particular is even worse today.

Sorry if you're offended, but the truth often has that affect.