(FinalCall.com) – Hard times and economic uncertainty isn’t news in America as the country struggles with high unemployment, home losses, budget deficits and fear driven by questions about what tomorrow will bring.
Yet no matter how bad things get for America, they always get worse for Black folk.
“The State of Communities of Color in the U.S. Economy,” a report issued Jan. 21 by the Center for American Progress again chronicled the bad times Blacks face in this country.
According to the report, Black neighborhoods and communities had deeper economic losses than Whites and must “climb out of a deeper hole to regain the level of economic security they had before the crisis as the economic recovery deepens and the labor market recovers.”
The report authors found official Black unemployment was 15.8 percent for Blacks in the fourth quarter of 2010 versus 8.7 percent unemployment for Whites.
“Homeownership rates tell a similar story. In the third quarter of 2010, the homeownership rate for African Americans was 45.0 percent,” the report noted. Meanwhile the homeownership rate for Whites was 74.7 percent. Home ownership has traditionally been the quickest way to acquire wealth in America and a building block for financial progress.
“Racial and ethnic differences have worsened or stayed the same during the recession and recovery,” researchers said. “Unemployment rates rose faster for African Americans and Latinos than for Whites while homeownership rates fell faster. Trends for poverty rates, health insurance coverage, and retirement savings also show widening gaps by race and ethnicity throughout the recession and recovery after 2007.”
“Economic security losses during the recession and recovery exacerbated the already weak situation for African Americans. They experienced declining employment rates, rising poverty rates, falling homeownership rates, and decreasing health insurance and retirement coverage during the last business cycle from 2001 to 2007. The recession that followed made a bad situation much worse,” researchers added.
The sad thing is so much of what the researchers reported isn’t new–or surprising. Similar studies have chronicled the dire economic straits that have plagued Black America and a look around inner city neighborhoods–with blocks of abandoned properties, street corners where idle men and boys congregate or hot spots were drug sellers offer cheap, illegal escapes from the pain of living Black in America.
What are we going to do about it? At the end of the day, when the analysis is done and the facts are presented what are we going to do about the crisis that engulfs the Black Nation. Nation? Yes, Nation. We are separated when it comes to economic life, housing patterns, education outcomes, health status and just about any other condition that can be measured.
What are we going to do? What are we willing to sacrifice, what comfortable patterns are we willing to abandon? What mental shackles and chains are we willing to break?
Each year Blacks get $800 billion to almost $1 trillion out of the U.S. economy, but we still end up begging others to give us jobs and a way to sustain ourselves. The U.S. economy is hemorrhaging thousands of jobs each month–her manufacturing base is a distant memory as China’s economy grows and the Communist nation owns debt that finances much of America’s economic life.
“We do not believe that America will ever be able to furnish enough jobs for her own millions of unemployed, in addition to jobs for the 20,000,000 Black people as well,” warned the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad over 40-years-ago in the Muslim Program, “What the Muslims Believe,” Point Number 9.
Over four decades ago, this humble little man from Georgia tried to warn us of a day when the White man would “drop us.” He embarked on economic ventures and business efforts to give Black America a model, a sign of what was possible.
Yet we stand here today, a near landless people, a people whose youth are scattered, lost or locked up as an Economic Program for Whites who need jobs, and a people whose men and women are still trafficked under the auspices of the prison industrial complex.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has echoed the warning of his teacher and tried to have us do something for ourselves. Through The Final Call newspaper, divinely inspired lectures and books, reviving the Nation of Islam’s Three-Year Economic Plan, POWER personal care products and other ventures, he has tried to teach, train, motivate, inspire and have us come together, pool our resources and create a future for ourselves.
Several years ago, the Minister put forward a simple proposition, why not have Black America attract 10 percent of what is earned back and use the money to rebuild the wasted cities?
But like the foolish grasshopper, we have squandered away time and resources for far too long. But the harsh winter is here, we should be feeling the cold blasts now and it should motivate us to make major changes now–right now.
There are a few examples of what is possible: Talk show host Warren Balletine has pushed his listeners, prodded and talked his listeners into putting some $800,000 in a Black bank over a single year.
Illinois couple John and Maggie Anderson spent the past year largely buying from Black businesses and service providers in an effort called the “Ebony Experiment.” The couple proved prudent and enlightened use of dollars can be a formidable weapon. What would happen if millions of us decided to strive to spend money with one another?
As Minister Farrakhan has consistently warned, America will not see the days of prosperity she enjoyed for decades. The hand of God has been turned against America and those whom she has delighted in exploiting and murdering will gain the land in which they were slaves, the Minister has said. Blacks are the bottom rail that will be raised to the top, the dry bones in the valley that become an exceedingly great army, and the last that shall be first. But in order to enjoy the promise of God, we must reject the old mind and slave habits of the past. That includes coming into unity and doing something for ourselves and doing something now. The shutdown of this world is evident if we have the eyes to see it.