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July 24th, 2008
09:41 AM ET

Recessions and black America

Program Note: In the next installment of CNN's Black in America series, Soledad O'Brien examines the successes, struggles and complex issues faced by black men, women and families, 40 years after the death of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Watch encore presentation Saturday & Sunday, 8 p.m. ET


We devote several days on the blog to smart insight and commentary related to the special.

_____________________________________________________

CNN's Stephanie Elam examines the impact of a recession on blacks in the U.S.
CNN's Stephanie Elam examines the impact of a recession on blacks in the U.S.
Stephanie Elam
CNN Business News Correspondent

When I set out to do a story on the effect recessions have on black Americans, I was prepared for some dire statistics. I wasn’t pleasantly surprised. Here’s my biggest takeaway: as the unemployment rate increases for the population overall in a recession, the increase among blacks is roughly double. And when a recession hits, blacks take longer to regain employment after the economy recovers.

As if that isn’t bad enough, it was what I learned about younger black Americans that really left an impact. According to John Schmitt of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the unemployment rate for black teens is about twice that of white teens. In the recession that lasted from 1980 into 1982 – the black teen unemployment rate skyrocketed to 50 percent.

If young people can’t get a job, their future prospects are greatly limited. As Schmitt put it, people in this situation can languish in unemployment or low-wage jobs that don’t help build a foundation for future wage increases or better opportunities. The teenage unemployment rate for blacks is a huge indicator of the future.

No doubt there are several reasons for the disparity. For one thing, while the number of college-educated blacks continues to grow there is still a larger group that has a high school diploma or less. That’s the demographic that tends to suffer the most during a recession. Another problem is a decline in manufacturing jobs. In fact, most of the black American middle-class built its wealth through manufacturing and union jobs held in the fifties, sixties and seventies. At the end of the seventies, a quarter of black workers had manufacturing jobs. Today, that statistic is down to 10 percent.

A lot of the headlines at CNN are about Issue #1 – the economy – but it seems for many blacks in America the headline is even more specific: Jobs Wanted.


Filed under: Black in America • Economy • Stephanie Elam
soundoff (322 Responses)
  1. Justin

    lack of opportunities is a terrible shield to hide behind; Affirmative Action, United Negro College Fund. They even set up a fund to help Blacks go to college! I'm white, so I had to pay MY way. The old saying something like: Give a man fish he'll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime?

    July 24, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  2. FYI

    I just want to point out that statistics can be manipulated to show anything you want. This is getting ridiculous, America is turning into a bunch of whiners and complainers. Im sorry, you might call me racist, but i think i speak the truth. Affirmative action is NOT needed anymore, the whole idea of it is racist in itself. I really hope when Obama is elected (off of his white guilt campaign) that all of this will just stop. This is not what M.L.K, wanted.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:29 pm |
  3. MB

    What is all this blackness all the sudden? "Being Black in America", black this, black that. I feel like I'm on BET's website. Perhaps CNN is puching the black candidate.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:28 pm |
  4. Matt

    I quit my 2nd job last winter just as this "recession" media scare was gaining legs. I was able to quit because my 1st job – which I was able to get through my education and years of hard work – pays me well enough that I can live the life I want without having to work a 2nd job. And I still do, even amidst this fake "recession" we're in. And you know the funny thing? Even though this is the case, the company I quit was a national retail powerhouse and they made a company-wide effort to hire and promote only minority employees. ONLY minority employees.

    The double standards of our society today are unbelievable. Everyone needs to stop, clear out what they know, and move forward being responsible for yourself and your life, no excuses. We'd all be better off.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:27 pm |
  5. Brandon

    Articles like this do nothing more than set us farther back from getting over racism.

    Mike the teacher above me said it best. I agree its a problem with PEOPLE and not anyone's race. Everyone needs to stop being lazy and using excuses as crutches.

    As for the following:

    "I am curious to know if some Americans wonder what would be the long lasting adverse affects on White Amercans if they were enslaved for over 200 years??

    Remember…You don’t ask the rapist if the rape is over with…you ask the one who was raped."

    I'm sorry to hear you were a slave. I assume you were since only someone who has actually been a slave at any point in time has the right to make such claims.

    Just more excuses...

    July 24, 2008 at 1:27 pm |
  6. Irvin (Lafayette, La.)

    For Matt, as we all know it starts with the family, but when you begin the rigors of life behind the eightball (parents on drugs, single mother who works unconscionable hours, etc) it is hard to find salvation in education, when you cannot even get a decent breakfast or a mother who has adequate time to assist in the attainment of a satisfactory education. I'm the first to concede that black men need to assume the responsibility of fathering and mentoring their children, but the reality of the situation is their not!! So, the children are penalized and the cycle continues. I understand your qualms with the discrepancy in attire (My mother was a lawyer and I wore Smurf shoes while most children in my circle wore Jordans and they were less affluent than I), however, are we to penalize children for their parents mistakes or mismanagement of funds? There are many blacks who are just as frustrated with the system and the need for reform, but in my humble opinion, private businesses and enterprises are not hiring blacks who may have a few "issues" whether it be criminal or upbringing, and attempting to give them a real opportunity and not some fledging handout for a few dollars on a job that they couldn't find an Hispanic to do! Finally, to say that slavery is non-existent and has ended for some time now is a farce. Today, we see slavery in the form of mentality in the black community. Subconsciously, many blacks still harbor slave conceptions, that's why I believe many blacks wear chains and bracelets (Hip-Hop fashion) as a statement of "making it." Yes, blacks need to do their part and break the cycle, but to tell lil Jamal, (whose mother works from 7am to 9pm, father is not around, teacher is underpaid, and no resources (books, tutor, afterschool programs (Sylvan) to acquire the necessary tools to attain an education) that he just needs to get it done and "attain the American Dream" is comical. Now, there are many success stories of children who have overcome the odds, but remember the House always wins and that's what is happening overall within the Black Community.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:26 pm |
  7. Northshore Louisiana

    I work as a Human Resources Manager for a large nursing home in Louisiana and must say that there is a desparity among blacks as far as education and income. It is a cultural problem.

    The problem is this...I can only speak for the environment around me. For one, of our organization that employes over 200 people, 60% black and 30 % white 10% other, 90% of the blacks pay little or no income taxes as compared to 90% of whites and hispanics paying 85% of our total payroll taxes. In addition, i here the black employees talking about how they get so much money back at the end of the year in taxes (eventhought they paid little in) because they lie and claim children that are not theirs. When i mention this to white/hispanic employees, they are mind-boggled and utterly upset to discover that fact and know nothing of such a thing. It also makes me mad, because I know by doing our payroll that the white/hispanics at our organization pay 85% of the taxes and the blacks receive 85% of the tax money back.

    In addition, because many blacks are considered to be low-income, i know that they, unlike myself can or would quailify for pell grants to have tuition paid for college. THE MAJORITY DO NOT DO IT AND IT WOULD BE FREE. Lazy

    Bottom line, there is an acceptance of lower standards in the black culture. This includes, education, lifestyle, career, having children out of wedlock and from different men. Until the black culture takes control of there current situation, it will not change. White people cannot do anymore to help. There are so many blacks who have succeded in life and they are still black. Those black people have ambition and drive; they will not accept to be at the bottom. Unfortunate for them, once they have succeded, they are shunned by the black community. The government is largly to blame in my honest opinion.

    I am a white male for those of you that would want to know.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:26 pm |
  8. Kiah Graham

    To TC, You were never a slave and I seriously doubt you ever spoke with any family member in your life time that was. I am white and I have never owned a slave or know anyone in my family who has owned one. If you are that bitter over something that didnt happen to you, then maybe you should move out of the U.S.A., if it is so terrible. I am sick, sick, sick about statistics. If you don't like them, change them. It may not be easy, but if you believe in yourself you can do anything. It is much easier to blame something on some else than take responsibilty for your on actions and accomplishments. I think everyone is struggling right now. CNN, you should be ashamed of yourself. This is stupid! I hate to tell you, but alot of white folks are broke just like everyone else. When you are born white, you don't get a special card to use to go through life, easy go lucky! You have to work just like everyone else. Wake up people.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  9. Keith

    For all of you that are complaining that there is a "Black in America" special and not a "White in America" you need to realize that EVERYDAY in American News Media is "White in America."

    Do you ever hear about a little black girl getting the coverage of Jean bennett, or Emily Smart, or Lacy Peterson?...No because black issues are, and have been for decades, neglected by the mainstream media. Sorry, you feel left out for the time being.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  10. Pandora

    Black in America DID NOT IN NO WAY REPRESENT MOST AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN! IN FACT IT SHOWED US IN A VERY BAD LIGHT...I am a single mother of ONE CHILD, NOT FOUR!!! Most single African-American mothers I know have one or two children NOT 4! Then they showed a divorced single black father raising his two children and it seems as though their mother is no where to be found nor is she supporting her children. First of all the majority of black men are not single parents...the majority of them are absent and not paying child support nor are they taking care of thier children. This 'special' was horrible and in no way represented the average African-American Woman....

    July 24, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  11. Tim

    Forty nine out of fifty blacks do not want a job to start with. As was mentioned, all they want to do is lay around,have kids and let the government take care of them. Personally walked in a store the other day. Got behind this black lady checking out. She had three full carts of groceries backed by two cartons of cigerettes. Paid for the grub with food stamps, whipped out a hundred dollar bill for the cigs. As I walked out I noticed as she loading her car it was brand new with the temporary tag in the window. Quit feeling sorry for a bast*** that won't work. If you'd spend as much time on finding people living off the government that don't need it as you do on these sorry polls we'd all be better off.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  12. Tina Tee

    I've read most of these blogs and see a lot of hatred, discriminationatory comments and stereotypes, which sicken me. The point of the article is that we all struggle during a recession but it takes African Americans longer to recover from the recession. To not see that there is an unequal playing field for all races is ridiculous. Especially when many of these comments prove we are not perceived or treated equally as basic humans. Sadly, I don't feel there will ever come a day when Martin Luther King, Jr's dream will turn into reality. Though we are free from slavery now, generally speaking, most of us are still angry because most whites are oblivious to what we go through on a daily basis and do not acknowledge that our past still affects us today. And most whites are thinking that our complaints are unfounded and that we are no longer enslaved so how dare we say we're not their equal now.. Hopefully, CNN's "Black in America" will shed some light on these views and help bridge the gap between our races and negative perceptions of other races.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  13. Mitchel

    Many of the comments placed here seem to be self driven, which is directly reflective of the destructive attitude that plagues most Americans... which amounts to white Americans. There is little doubt that the recessions which have hit this country over the years affect everyone, some more than others, with the poor being the hardest hit. But it is obvious that most of the people who have made such insensitive and ignorant comments about the plight of the black race obviously lack the mental capacity to understand the figures that have been presented here. If any of you had even the slightest clue, you would realize that the figures here make perfect sense, being that the majority of the Black population swathes in poverty. The poverty line, might I remind you, is the group that gets hardest hit by recessions. Please note, I do not claim that the black race is the ONLY race that makes up this Nations poor. But since the dawn of this country, the black population (as well as the Natives) have been viewed as those lesser than white.

    Meanwhile, what does black fathers making illegitimate children have to do with the plight of the black race during a recession? Irrelevant comments like those obviously expose the sheer racism that black people always complain about. Please, everyone pick up a history book and study it very closely.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  14. John

    Wow.....

    All you need is love...........................John Lennon/Paul McCartney

    July 24, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  15. Mark Knoop

    We are not in a recession. That's not up for debate. Are we in a tough economic time? Yes, absolutely. The definition of a recession is 2 consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. We're not there, at least yet, and a recession is not racist, nor is the world conspiring against black people as one could believe after reading/watching CNN for a week, so stop the biased reporting and at least learn what the word means most importantly.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  16. Anthony in America

    Okay-okay...So African-Americans have a statistically harder time during and after a recession. Could we just take out the word Black or African American and plug in Uneducated? I don't know the statistics off the top of my head (nor do I really care enough to find them), but show me the percent of African Americans with a higher education AND unemployed compared to African Americans with a high school education (or less) that are unemployed. Now I'm sure that the numbers will still show that African Americans find it harder then Caucasians. That's just a brutal fact that we must face. America isn't even 150 years removed from Slavery. Think about that a minute...150 years! Think about the way our Grand-Parents and Great-Grand-Parents thought about race-relations. We have made amazing progress in that time, but as a Country, we are not close to having equal rights. I've seen with my own eyes the hardships that African Americans face in the workplace, but I've also seen the hardships that every uneducated American faces. Articles like these cause so much friction because no one wants to own up to it. African Americans don't want to own up to the fact that statistically, African Americans are less educated. And Caucasions don't want to own up to the fact that America has a Racist Culture that is still strong.

    Until; as a nation, we stop grouping people by the color of their skin, Martin Luther King Jr will only have a dream.

    -Anthony in America

    July 24, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  17. Matt Schoewe

    Of course the recession hits blacks harder. It's not racist to say that. They're generally poorer than whites are and have a tougher time holding onto jobs, so people are more reluctant to hire them. It's unfortunate, but it's the sad truth.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  18. Ski

    I was out of work for 19 months, yes, that's right 19 months. I have a four year degree. I FINALLY was able to land two jobs one as a graphic designer full time and the other working for UPS part time. It's tough working two jobs but after being out of work for that long I have not problem doing it. I know a lot of people of all colors who have been struggling as far as I'm concerned statistics mean nothing. Everything looks a lot different on paper. These 'statistics' are missing A LOT of people who've fallen off the unemployment radar. I was one of them, the report would come out that unemployment is down, well that was because once your unemployment benefits stop you're no longer recorded as unemployed.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  19. Ashlee K

    If "Black America" is so bad then leave. I'll gladly pay for your ticket out.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  20. FC

    People! Don't worry. Be happy! Even if life is tough on you, no matter who you are, life goes on, suffering or happiness. Look around, there are some having a wonderful time, and those who are hurting. However I am certain of one thing: the one who is suffering is mostlikely a happier individual because it takes very little to make such person happy. This person is mostlikely stronger from being challenged. I respect and appreciate those who have fought and are continuing to fight to share the vision that everyone is created equal. I am most certainly benefitting from that. We just have to be careful not to be extremist in life.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  21. Mike

    This Blog should be a disgrace to jouralism. Recessions hit all poor people equally it dods not distinguish between colors. If this study was done properly one would find many circumstances that contribute to the varying degrees of effect. Articles like this one is one reason we will never get past the color of a persons skin.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  22. B Holland

    Blacks??? take a look at the Navajo Nation and then tell me blacks have it hard! They, Navajo's are a people we have forgotten but you do not hear them crying about race.
    The Navajo people do all they can with what they are given to take care of their families and they do it with out crying racism!

    look around recession has no color........we are all hurting now.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  23. Savannah

    I am from the deep south and yes racism is still a part of life as it always has been, but I also work in an employment agency that places people in jobs. I can say only in my location that there are jobs, but we are unable to place most young black americans, due to their lack of education ( high school diploma) or their criminal record. You can not blame them and they do not want to work- Cause they do. If their parents had payed enough attention to keep them in school and off the streets I could see more young black americans in the workforce. Not saying we do not have some young white kids in the same boat , but personally in my line of work I see more young black Americans in this situation. You know when SAM's Club took 3000 applications and could not even hire 250 people from them due to lack of education or criminal backgrounds it more then just a recession.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:20 pm |
  24. Jeff

    I'd like to thank CNN for perpetuating the problem that will ultimately lead us to a race war. Since you all can't tell, that's sarcasm, well, in that I'm not hoping for a race war.

    I read the title of this piece and whipped out my trusty globe and looked for "black America" and I can't find it on the map. Can someone please tell me where this place is? I feel that I probably shouldn't comment on the topic because I've literally no clue where this place is.

    Much like I don't understand the phrase "African American" (unless you have dual citizenship, and even then, I can't find the country of Africa anywhere), I don't understand how the phrase "black America" gets any play by our media. I guess it's better for them to further bifurcate American society in the name of the almighty dollar. Thanks Ted, you're doing a great job. You are a true pinnacle of society.

    For the record, when someone asks me what I 'am', I answer I'm an American. Sure, my family emigrated from lands as far away as Ireland, England, Poland, and Germany, but seriously, how ridiculous would it be if I demanded to be called Ireglagerand American? I'm sure there are people with heritage just like me, but personally, I don't want to extracise myself from the rest of the American people. I guess I just don't share the same beliefs as most so called "African Americans", specifically those who've never stepped foot in Africa. I'd rather be treated like everyone else rather than demand that I be treated differently.

    The problem with today's black population is that they say they want equality, but they act as though they want separation. If you want to be treated like everyone else, simply act like everyone else. Don't demand to be called something different than the majority of Americans. If you don't want us to see your skin color, stop throwing it in our faces. Speaking to the vast majority of blacks in this country...you are NOT African. You are American. Once you take pride in being from where you are and not from what is nothing more than a mystical place to you (Africa) then maybe people will take you seriously. But until you take yourselves seriously, continuing to blame the rest of society for your ills is going to do more harm than good.

    That's just my $0.02.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:19 pm |
  25. Thomas

    if us whites were all gone who would the blacks blame.they would pick someone besides them selves i promise.each person is to blame for what and who they are.you can't blame whites for black women having babies out of wedlock,it's their own fault,just as much as it is the black guys fault for not being a real man and being a daddy and not just a father to the kids they produce.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:18 pm |
  26. nancy

    because the blacks are usually stupid. so they cant get the jobs as easy as other people. it's unfair to say the recession hurts them more!! there are so many people get laid off from the banking sector too. and WE SHOULD REMEMBER WE ALL PAY SO MUCH TAXES for those stupid and lazy blacks. we try hard to earn our livings , at the same time we have to pay for their living too. IT 'S SO NONSENCE AND UNFAIR!!

    July 24, 2008 at 1:18 pm |
  27. Jay in Arkanas

    aztekman. I am a black male and I think you raise an interesting point. That is one problem I have with this CNN special on Black in America. Blacks are often portrayed by the media as being "troubled." We all have trouble. I don't want a crutch from anyone. Most black people don't like being portrayed as needing a crutch. We all simply want the "playing field" to be as leveled. Truthfully, it is not. Read the statistics relating to income, education and health disparities. However, I'm making a call for personal responsiblity. Historically, when doors were shut in the faces of black people we kick the door down. Sure, there are issues but what are WE going to do about it. I don't need a crutch from CNN or any other white establishment. I am a black man under the age of 30 working on a Ph.D. I know how to take charge of my destiny. I've gone from the projects to the penthouse. Yes, it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice. But again, the playing field is still heavily unleveled. Thats the issue we need to focus on. True equal opportunity.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:18 pm |
  28. Shawn L

    This is crazy, I have lived over seas for a good portion of my life and our country is still the only one stupid enough to where two races can't seem to get together well and the rest of the world mocks us for it. The article should state that the recession hits the low educated the hardest. i went through a well mixed high school and I am sorry those who studied hard and went to college are generally the ones doing well. The recession is hitting us as a COUNTRY "red, white, and blue" are our colors in this GLOBAL economy. Stop bringing up race already and ask what exactly are you doing as an individual to help this country and stop looking for an excuse not to work as hard or live up to your full potential this country provides everyone! Its us against the world, not each other and right now we are failing because of these type of topics distracting us from the greater good of our nation.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:17 pm |
  29. Sabastion

    I would have like to seen the sats on how many of those unemployed black people did not have high school degrees.

    When there is an abundance of applicants, the manager finds quick ways to weed through applicants. One of the first things they look at is the applicant has a high school degree, or GED, and when it was achieved. No high school degree, no job. I worked at an unemployment office for 6 months helping people file for their benefits and many of the blacks didn't have a high school degree, some hadn't finished 9th grade. Nobody is going to have a good stable job with that type of life lived, regardless of race.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:17 pm |
  30. Danny

    I fixed the title for this post:

    Blog: Recessions hit 'poor' in America harder

    BTW, You're welcome CNN.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:17 pm |
  31. Alex

    As a college educated white Jewish man from Chicago living in Miami, I can tell you that it is no secret that recessions hit the minorities first and hardest. When resources diminish, people tend to align themselves along the most basic of lines in order to deny another group access to the most basic of needs. In recession, this basic need is employment. It is easier to squeeze out smaller groups, which is why blacks are a prime target.

    This is not a conscious effort, but rather a consequence of the systemic racism that exists in the United States.

    Still, I do not buy into the indicator that is the focal point of this essay. Teenage unemployment numbers are very questionable. Unemployment is considered to be the rate of people looking for work who cannot attain it; because of common socioeconomic disparities between blacks and whites, there are bound to be more black teens per capita looking for jobs who can't get them than white teens in the same situation, since many more white teens (per capita) aren't even looking for jobs in the first place at that age.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:17 pm |
  32. Truth

    White people got a 400 year head start.... Generation after generation you climbed up the economic ladder. Black people just barely got equal oppritunity in the 1970s...... 38 years.... One generation.... That means only one generation of Black Americans have had equal education, equal rights, equal wages, equal opportunity, and equal support and now everythings equal right? Get a clue America. Im all for Blacks bettering themselves. But if we had the opportunities you had since the start of the nation ....... Guaranteed these articles wouldnt exist.......

    Be real!

    July 24, 2008 at 1:16 pm |
  33. Anthony

    I don't understand why there's a recession when we have two wars costing billions & trillions of dollars... Who is getting all this money. Did the US government outsource all its manufacturing to China as well. I'm suprised no one has raised this question before now. WWII is how America got out of the Great Depression so how is it all this money is being spent and we are in a recession.

    Also I agree with Nadine Buchko (Pittsburgh, PA) Black women need to stop it. It is 2008 and no woman gets pregnant unless she wants to. There are 20 something birth controls and your not allergic to all of them. Stop having kids trying to get a child support check... Bottom line. Black men start protecting your seeds because these women have a whole lot more to gain by messing with us than we do messing with them. Having unprotected sex is a quick way to have you paycheck garnished for 18-21 years. Oh guess what, if it turns out not to be yours after all that time you don't get any of your money back. It's a hustle and Black men better wise up!!

    July 24, 2008 at 1:16 pm |
  34. Serge

    Look at all the white people who are posting negative things. Really bothers you that CNN is doing a show like this huh? That is why I work hard and provide for my family and don't worry about all these racist white people in this country. I don't understand why you all hate black people so much??? It makes no sense. I pray that my brothers and sisters take a look at this documentary and the light goes on in their heads that its not about acting "black". It's about acting like a responsible human being and taking care of business whether you are making 6 figures or working in a factory. I feel the big thing with African-Americans is the lack of accountability. I hope future generations see different.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  35. Lisa

    Patrick Felix, I agree with you!
    Cindy, I agree that every race is hurt by a recession. But, this article is saying that Blacks are hurt more!

    Look at the statistics.
    Black men make less than White men.
    Black women make less that White women.
    Whites are more likely to own a house.
    If a Black man and a White man interviewed for a position, AND they have the same quailifications, MORE than likely the White man will get the job. People tend to hire someone they can relate to.
    Black men are more likely to be arrested because they are more likely to be profiled by police.

    I went to a predominately white college. I can not begin to tell you the number of white kids drinking and taking every drug that you can think of. They would go to parties and then go home. But, they rarely got pulled over, because they're White. Now, If it was a black male doing the same thing and driving home, it's a good chance he would get pulled over and arrested for possession. There is a different law for Blacks vs. whites. If a white kid is arrested, the cop will call mommy and daddy and tell them to pick up their kid.

    I have a lot of police officer friends, and they tell me that they're told to profile and make the arrest. Don't be an empty suit!

    White kids get a better education. They have more options and resources open to them. They get better teachers, non crowded classrooms, books and computers. The inner city kids have to get by without books and overcrowded classrooms!

    Racism still exist in America. I am so tired of White people making excuses and saying it does not exist. If you go to any other country, Blacks, Whites, Asians, Hispanics, Arabs, Indians in that country would tell you that America is racist! They see it, why can't you!

    July 24, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  36. Emmanuel Goldstein

    >>Jane

    Agreed. Affirmative Action, the idea that we engage in discriminatory practices to show people that discrimination is wrong is a bit of a paradox.

    >>Matt W
    >>Last time I checked the GDP stats, we were not in a recession (even though the media wishes we were).

    Obvious internet troll. Nothing to see here

    >>Matt

    Same troll ?

    The economy is probably worse that we currently realize. An interesting series in Harper's might educate some here how the GDP, Unemployment rate and other traditionally useful statistics are bieng gamed. This nation is carving out intermediate class distinctions and quickly returning to Lords and Peasants. Welcome to the second Gilded Age.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  37. Glen

    Seriously, what is this? I'm tired of all the "blacks have it worse" blogs/articles of late, especially here on cnn. I'm a young white male who makes 40K+ a year, but lets be frank here- ALL people of middle income and lower have it bad. The state of the economy isn't biased toward blacks, whites, hispanics, asians, etc. No, I don't feel bad for black people, because just as many people of other races are in the same boat they are. Can't find a job? YOU AREN'T LOOKING HARD ENOUGH. I never have and will never buy the mentality that "there are no jobs out there." How absurd. There are always jobs out there. Sure, it might be a fastfood joint, or minimum wage job, but guess what, THATS A JOB. All it takes is effort and dedication. The problem is, everyone in America these days expects to be paid 40K+ jobs and not have to put any "effort" into a job, including searching for one. Like someone said earlier, its not MY or AMERICA'S fault because black people don't take responsibility for themselves and SEEK proper education, or MAKE an effort to acquire a job. Blogs like these make me sick.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  38. Jess

    So, Blacks are unemployed during a recession. In recent years we've had record employment, virtually no unemployment other than people changing jobs and taking a week off, that's consistent with 5% unemployment, which was called a "full employment economy" when Clinton was President. Now, it's the end of the world.
    I question what the rate of Black unemployment was when in recent years the rate of unemployment has been so historically low? I bet it was quite high, since getting a job doesn't seem to be a high priority for Black people, especially young teenagers in any economy.
    I'm not trying to sound like a racist, but if opening my eyes and seeing the truth of what is makes me a racist so be it.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  39. vbrewer

    I understand the statistics that are being presented, they're irrefutable. I think the reason this topic causes such divisiveness is because we live in a country where entitlements are always growing and its the folks who are working hard everyday who have to pay for these entitlements (welfare, etc.) So when you read a story like this the natural conclusion is that lower income groups, minorities, whoever have an agenda to raise taxes so more people who arent working can get more handouts. Anyone whose worked hard to better their lives knows that more welfare will never help the real problem here. But maybe that's a false assumption. Maybe the author of this and other articles like it are just throwing the facts out there so that more minorities will be motivated to help themselves out by working harder.
    One other thing, I noticed that people on this blog who complain about being kept out of corporate America frequently tend to use incorrect grammar and constantly misspell;- much more so than bloggers with a different opinion. Is it possible that poor communication skills are causing you to go through life with a victim mentality?

    July 24, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  40. Robert

    Hey Soledad,
    I wonder what effect RAP music and HIP HOP have on the statistics in regard to black youth getting jobs and education. What about pulling your pants up. I will not hire ANYONE...black, white, yellow, brown, etc. that cannot pull their pants up and act with a decent and civil attitude, leave the chip at home.
    We ALL need to look in the mirror and quit blaming our lack of progress on others. Are you lazy or proactive?
    Oh yeah...if you belong to a group that identifies itself by RACE (Black Caucus, Black journalist, Black teachers etc., you might be a racist and not know it. That's right Soledad...look in the mirror.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  41. J. Hayes

    I've heard on several occasions, "when white America has a cold....Bback America has the Flu". A truer statement has never been spoken.

    This blog is useless...the Majority has absolutely NO desire to even TRY to understand the plight of a people still dealing with the ghosts of slavery. Blacks are ALWAYS the first to be grossly disproportionately affected by any number of social ills...education, healthcare, fair lending practices, etc.

    On the flip side, blacks HAVE to take responsibility for themselves and their communities. It is up to US to determine our stations in life, the problem is that for generations, we've been told that we're not worthy of all the wonderful things life has to offer.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  42. richard

    bo ho...wa wa wa.........such a sad story...articals like this is what makes CNN so fun to read...( for entertainment of course )....

    July 24, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  43. Ryan Naugle

    CNN, you should be ashamed of yourselves. It's no wonder that there is such a racial divide in our country. I understand the celebration of diversity, I get it. but what you are doing is complaining, and nothing more. What's more, who are you complaining to, and what do you really think this is going to accomplish. When 2 of the headlines on your website have headings such as "Is marriage just for white people?" and how recession affects Blacks more than whites it makes me want to go check Fox News. Enough is enough. I am sick of it.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  44. Dorian

    Stop with all the excuses and change the stereotype!!!

    I am a young half black woman and I am sick and tired of blacks playing the race card. EVERYONE in the USA has the same opportunity as well as the same hardships in difficult economic times.

    Furthermore, if you think the lack of college educations blacks have is the reason for lack of jobs it is crap. It comes down to laziness, there are many more scholarship opportunities for blacks, simply for being black and for no other reason, than there are scholorship opportunities for whites.

    I think that it is time that black people stop attending the pity party and work hard to get ahead in the world like everyone else does.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  45. Johnathoon

    They still get their welfare check on time though, right?

    July 24, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  46. Mike Vititoe

    Is it at all possible for the media elite to realize that racism in this country is over? If financial disparities exist between races it most certainly has nothing to do with discrimination and all to do with one's effort to succeed. Statistics do not measure one’s attitude or way of thinking. Articles such as this are not helpful or beneficial to any race. Their only contribution is to continue to create the perspective that blacks are always victims.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  47. Allen

    I am a black man with 20 years in the Navy, and 10 years federal employment. I can not find gainful employment at this time, so the results for me is homeliness at this time.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:13 pm |
  48. rbn

    Susan
    I completely agree with you.
    If at all CNN want to do something , educate people about importance of education , encourage every one (any color) to do better in early in high school and college so build the future .

    July 24, 2008 at 1:13 pm |
  49. James

    I'm tired of all this racial difference BS.

    An individual's successes in life are only what that individual makes them. It has nothing to do with race. It has to do with motivation, education and a will to learn new things.

    Quit separating everything by the different colors of the skin. Human is human with red blood flowing through each and every one of those humans.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:13 pm |
  50. Skyler Sully

    Wow... seems like a lot of people feel all the Blacks should "get over it". Vinny says "...the media HAS to portray the blacks as victims..." Last time I checked, it was the media that was contributing to the destruction of morality and the minds of people (BET, MTV, UPN, probably your local news channel) You'll get it only if you're aware.

    I agree, there needs to be personal responsibility taken in the Black community and I agree that this "recession" is hard on a lot of people. However, to simply say "get over it...it bad on everyone" is a prime example of White Privilege, and shows that you truly don't understand the situation.

    The problem with the people with the "get over it" mentality is that they're too closed minded to even try to understand what's on the other side of the fence before they make a comment. Here is the perfect place to start improving society: let's try to genuinely understand each other. And no, I'm not saying Whites need to listen only–everyone needs to listen and speak.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:12 pm |
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