OP-ED: Black America Today


I freed a thousand slaves, I could have freed a thousand more if they knew they were slaves. ~ Harriet Tubman

We have explored our facts about the Republican Party and our facts about the Democratic Party and I think it is also imperative that we gather the courage to honestly face our reality. And so this week let us honestly look at the state of Black America today.

We know the proverbial 72 percent of all Black children being born to unwed mothers but let us look deeper.

According to the 2012 US Census Bureau American Community Survey was 28.1 percent which was an increase from 25.5 percent in 2005. Black families with children under 18 headed by a single mother have the highest rate of poverty at 47.5 percent.

According to the US Census Bureau 11.5 percent of African Americans live in government housing or section 8 housing while 13.6 percent receive TANF (formerly known as welfare). Slightly over 25 percent of African Americans receive SNAP (formerly known as food stamps).

The Black American adult population is 26.4 million. Black owned business only produced $135 billion in annual receipts while 10 million Asians produced $506 billion. Blacks were also out produced by fewer Mexican Americans, Chinese and Asian Indians.

There are 6 Black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Respectively there are nine Asian CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and 10 Hispanic/Latino CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

Between 2005 to 2012 Black homeownership rates fell from 46 percent to 42.5 percent. The median value of homes owned by Black Americans decreased from $126,000 in 2011 to $122,200 in 2012.

In 2005 the median net worth for African Americans was $12,124. However by 2009 the African American median net worth decreased to $5,677 which was lower than it was in 1984.

Blacks make up just 14 percent of the US population but are 37 percent of the US homeless population.

The latest report shows that the Black unemployment rate is 11.4 percent, more than twice that of whites at 5.3 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also shows that as of August 2014 the overall unemployment rate for Black youth (ages 16 to 19) is 32.8 percent. Some reports indicate that the unemployment rate for Black youth in Chicago Illinois is as high as 92. percent.

In 2009- 10 the national graduation rate for Black male students was 52 percent, New York state had the lowest graduation rate for Black males of 37 percent followed by the District of Columbia at 38 percent.

Karen Watson is author of the book, “Being Black and Republican in the Age of Obama”. Email karen.watson@gopbuzz.com
Karen Watson is author of the book, “Being Black and Republican in the Age of Obama”. Email [email protected]

Of all adults arrested in 2012, 27.6 percent were Black. The percentage of black adults arrested for murder was 49.3 percent. Black juveniles accounted for 51.5 percent of all juveniles arrested for violent crimes. Blacks only make up 14 percent of the population.

These facts and trends for African Americans are deeply troubling. Albert Einstein said “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Join me next week as we begin to look at doing things differently.



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