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. Dev

    Why do you divide people on basis of color? We need to develop the country as a whole and not divide along any basis.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  2. therockofages

    Every four years, without fail, the black communities 'needs' are considered paramount and looked after with more programs, more social support, and preferences in jobs behind the guise of 'infirmative action' (not a typo). This has been the case for the past six Presidential and local elections. The primary focus on the black community is wildly overdone and those that defend this practice might consider becoming better team players and living the by the same rules demanded of others. The United States does not revolve around the black community. We are a Nation of many ethnic groups all deserving of jobs, social programs, and focus. This unfair and tiring focus on one group is probably going to lead to more serious problems in the future.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  3. M

    Work ethics and proper attitude are needed in the work force... regardless of race. The country owes individuals nothing! The country provides the atmosphere and establishments to succeed, its up to the individual to do what it takes and pay their dues.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  4. Disan

    With some of the reader comments i have read above and the ignorance in some of the comments , Im now sure by 2012 the % of black presidents in US history will be 0.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  5. Cindy

    The piece last night was infinitely interesting. Two major things that jumped out at me were that blacks will remain poor (any race will) when you have 70% of the children born to a single mother - very often a girl or woman living in poverty to begin with.

    When you have a single mother raising multiple children you will remain poor - forever. Poverty breeds desperation - no matter the color of your skin. No matter what color the skin, having babies you can't support is a recipe for poverty in every country around the world. Secondly, HIV would be dramatically reduced with protected sex - which would also reduce the # of children living in poverty. I understood the desire for male attention if they grew up without a father in their home, but is the message being put out in churches and schools that single parenting is making the problem worse by the year?

    July 24, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  6. jhydo

    In response to the first post; yes a recession hits everyone but the topic is covering the DEGREE of effect on this group in the population. Affirmative action might help the underprivileged get a job but when it comes to the big 'R' nothing could save the always-trodden-upon.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  7. Al in Chicago

    I really wish I had the time to sit and read all of the comments posted on this site. This article only states facts and figures from a study done nation-wide. It doesn't state anything about a particular group looking for a free hand-out. They are just cold hard facts and cold hard facts are hard for anyone to take, in any group. Those numbers are not going to change over night but slowly they will.

    I have an outsider's view to this issue. My family is from Haiti. I am the first generation born in the US. My ancestors weren't here during Civil Rights times nor during the slavery times. My family came here with nothing and worked incredibly hard to make it to our current status. We placed value on Education to rise above our hardships and did not receive any handouts from anyone. When I was in college I didn't even qualify for fiancial aid. I had to work full time and go to school. Speaking as a college graduate their were very few african-americans that graduated with me. This is also a cold hard fact. Most people are not looking for a handout. They just want a chance to improve their status is in life, which I think is part of the American Dream.

    There are some truly hateful comments stated on here on this forum. It is interesting to me the things that we all carry with us day in and day out.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  8. Richard from Slo county

    To calvin in louisiana,

    and to any other students still reading the comments. I agree with raising the standard. However, it shouldn't just be based on one color over the other. We as a nation are struggling. As a Hispanic born in the United States, I find I have to work that much harder due to all the people who come into this country illegally. Now thats a whole different convo. Although, as a nation, our education standards are not as high as they are in Japan, for example. As a whole, this nation can be lazy when it comes to education and working. People want success in life and yet are not willing to do the footwork. LIfe is a journey and it is all what we do with it. Sure circumstances happen. But do we view it as an opportunity or as a negative setback. Sometimes, we hate the job that we have. We get too comfortable with it and are afraid of just taking that first step into bettering ourselves to move on to a better job. What are we doing to better ourselves as an individual instead of always depending on the government. Social security isn't going to be there when a majority of us are ready to retire. Hmm work till I am 70 years old to only receive about $1,000 a month. Heck, rent today is more than that!! What books are we reading? What are we listening to? Who do we associate with? The circle of influence we have is what we end up becoming. Look up Mr. Darnell Self, look at what he was able to accomplish at Washington D.C. on July 4th, 2008. He carries the mission of Dr. Martin Luther King. I know I might have rambled and spoke in tangents. Unfortunately, its hard to fit everything in a small box haha.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  9. Eladio

    In my opinion Barack Obama is not a true representation of the average Black American. First he is the son of an immigrant making him a 1st generation American, where as most Black Americans like to point out that they were shipped here as slaves. Secondly had his father stayed in his life I do not believe his upbringing would have been the same as the average Black American. The Africans that I have met have a general disdain for Black Americans, similar to other immigrants that have migrated to America. Those same Africans, many as foreign born as Chinese, Mexicans, and Russians; come to America with the same work ethic as their fellow immigrants. I guess slavery expended the work ethic for the generations that have followed. The best thing about Obama becoming President is that it would show that any first generation child of a immigrant, legal or illegal, can become President. Just maybe a true American of indigenous descent will be President......yes that includes what many consider illegals from South America as we are the children conceived by Europeans(Spaniards) during invasion of our lands and culture way before the first black person was unloaded from the ship.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  10. steve meketa

    What a Joke, Life will always be harder on the people that are poor, uneducated and without goals or a plan for their future. It does not matter what color their skin is. I agree with previous posts.

    Why don't blacks stop complaining and focus on improving their situation through education. I believe that their problem stems from their poor attitudes.

    It is always the poor, uneducated people that make poor decisions that reduce their quality of life even further... like having children at young ages without thinking about the financial consequences.

    They will either change or continue to be the weakest link in our society

    July 24, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  11. Sheryl

    Recession hit everyone differently, we as a nation should stop the blame game. Not one person on this earth asked to be born, not one person on this earth that is alive can honestly say that they have not run into bad times at one point in their lives. A recession is necessary to correct the greediness of people, doesn't it kind of put you in check and realize hmmmmmmm maybe i didn't need that 5000 square foot home for the 4 of us. Or maybe i should have thought twice about buying all my material things on credit cards. Oh yes, and my gas guzzling trucks and SUV's, and not to mention, that my kids have to be wearing top of the line clothing and get all the gadets that all the kids have so my kids will love me.

    Wake up and realize a recession comes when things go out of whack, it doesn't know if you are black, white, purple, green etc.... if you are not prepared then you will get caught in the rough ride ahead.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  12. damon

    You know what is so funny? these bigots and self-denying racists will see facts, reality, and documentaries such as the show last time, and still some how in their heads, formulate and conclude that blacks are over-complaining about something that doesn't exist. If you are not BLACK, you have no idea. How can you not get this in your head. Stop the bigotry. You guys complain about the economy, the war, gas prices all day long, but somehow, blacks should stop complaining about the doubled and tripled effect felt, just for being black. For every one of your "black" "friends' that you know who has done well, there are 10 others who are not making it.

    Why don't you guys just quit complaining about gas. How about that?

    July 24, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  13. Courtney Smith

    So, today I am at work on CNN.com reading the Anderson Cooper 360 blog on the “Recession and Black America.” I must say, that I have seen and read a lot of hateful things in my life but I have never ever witnessed such forms of racism, hatred, and pure ignorance as what is displayed in this blog. And to think that Black In America is supposed to be an informative intellectual broadcast that would teach people a little something about what it means to be Black In America from all aspects? Well that idea is shot to hell because from the looks of some the responses on this blog, lots of people obviously have not been moved or enlightened from the program. Sad. Very Sad. After what I read today, America has sunk to a new low; and people are a lot more racist and hateful now than they were 60 years ago. The only difference today, is that a lot of people are more afraid of overtly screaming some of these comments made on this blog in someone’s face. For the record; to respond to a lot of the comments made in Anderson Cooper’s blog, I say this, “All black women and teenage girls do not spread their legs to have sex and create lots of babies. All black people are not on welfare. We do not prefer a pair of $200 Nikes over a shoe that looks just as nice for $50. All of our black men are not in jail, gangs, sell drugs, or participate in violent activities. I just happen to know lots of black men that are complete opposites of all these stereotypes. I am madly in love with one of them. He or I, have no plans of creating children that we cannot care for (this is another frequent stereotype scattered throughout these responses). With the way that America thinks today (and I say America because it’s obvious from the responses that a lot of this ignorance is coming from people of all types of nationalities) lots of us will never understand that poverty is a vicious cycle and so is hatred. I ask and I plead that the few decent people out there not let a LOT of bad apples spoil the whole bunch. Pray and pray often, because HE will not forsake you, and there is light and the end of the horrid, wicked, and hatful tunnel.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  14. Marion

    As an educated, literate black woman in this country, I can tell you that most blacks are desperate to remain victims. They are desperate for hand-outs. They are desperate to blame someone, anyone, for their plight. They have to. If they stopped, they would have to accept personal responsiblity for themselves, and take some measure for their communities, hospitals, schools, and churches.

    They could make changes that benefited others like themselves but they don't. They could start their own companies and businesses and amke their own rules. They could help. But they don't. They forget where they came from, what they came from, and look down on other blacks who took the easy ways, the drugs, the gangs, the dropping out of school, and all the rest.

    It's sad. It's pathetic. And it's life for far too many. And we have no one to blame, not really, but ourselves.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  15. Troy

    Cindy from GA and others have missed the point about the article. The article is not stating the the recessive economy is only hurting Blacks. It is illustrating the disparity. The disparity is due to the types of jobs typically held by Blacks. These jobs are usually low-paying and offer little chance for any kind of advancement. Even in good times, the employment rate is higher among Blacks and then other segments of the American population. Therefore, when a recession or depression occurs it will devastate this population segment more in terms of percentages. This is not to lessen the woes experienced by other Americans. The article was specifically about Blacks. There are similar articles on Latinos or Hispanics, Whites, Native Americans, Asians, etc. that address how recessions impact those populations.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  16. rssst

    C from Texas

    I beg your pardon, my son-in-law moved to Texas with his wife several years ago, and have yet to get a job in White Texas...

    He is highly educated, black respectable young man. His wife was transferred to this location. She has a very good job and is also highly educated.

    His problem, he is black and from New Orleans.

    Yeah, they(being Texas) decided to lump him in with all of the other transplants from New Orleans. And no one wants to hire him...degree or not.

    Go Figure...Is this racism? I don't know. you tell me...

    July 24, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  17. Mike Porter (FWA NUPE)

    Vince – Phoenix...

    A most articulate and succinct reply...

    July 24, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  18. diane

    Patrick the point that I was making is that when you take and look at one particular race which CNN seems to enjoy then you are dividing America because not only is blacks suffering, whites, latinos and hispanics are too. CNN always trying to exploit the black race but offers no solutions to the black conditions. Personally I get tired of the news reporter trying to bring to light what issues blacks are facing in American when all races are facing the same issues. We all know that black people are looked down the most compared to any other race. I know Soledad is a person of color but I feel that she is a reporter and is being exploited to keep the plight of black American going for CNN. I don't think you will find Soledad or any person of color doing a story on the plight of White Americans.

    July 24, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  19. KayKaySmile

    I am so tired of the rhettoric coming out of the blogs. I am a 37 year old single mother of 4 children. I am black by the way, and I must say I am sooooo tired of my black people whining about racism. Yes racism is alive and well, and it aint going no where fast. I am tired of black people living up to the stereotypes white people adorn us with. I am tired of turning on the news in Orlando and seeing young black men robbing and killing people and then saying the "White Man" keeps me down, no you keep your own self down. I was raised in Cheyenne, Wy and have been treated with racism from my own black people. I am constantly accused of talking white.....I did not know that the English Language had a color to it.....and why do black people give white people so much credit, I will never surrender proper grammar to be "black enough". I just want US to take responsibility for OUR children, OUR neighborhoods, OUR communities etc. As for white people please stop generalizing ALL black people and thugs, hoodlums, gang bangers, welfare bunnies, and all the other stereotypes you all like to throw out. Please understand that some of US want a better life, and some of are truly hard working, educated, sensible, good moms and good dads that just want the same things you want for ourselves and OUR country. I have experienced reverse discrimination....when I found out I got my job on Affirmative Action, I was and still am truly offended. I am awesome at what I do, yes I am compensated well, but I want to be hired because I am the most qualified not the color of my skin. So there you go...America wake up and stop the dumb stuff. Black people take more responsibility for your own failures and celebrate your successes. White people please understand that not all of us are looking for sympathy we just want fairness.

    July 24, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  20. Gary Patton

    There you go again!! CNN and the Democrat party can only divide people into racial groups. They think everyone is something dash American rather than just an American.

    July 24, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  21. Bob

    On the issue of racism, for those who are still upset for 400 years of slavery and oppression, what can white America do? If I come over and make you dinner or clean your house, let you beat me with a whip what do you want? We have apologized and many have tried to make amends for our white great grandfathers but that obviously isn't enough so what can we do? White people have been beaten with this for years for soemthing we didn't do it fuels the racism that you all claim is out there.

    July 24, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  22. Melissa, Los Angeles

    @ demin magdalen are you kidding me?!? Illegals are not immigrants – they did not come over here lawfully and should not be treated as a United States Citizen – they need to be deported. I see illegals have been hit particularly hard since I drive past them everyday on my way to work and there is less than half the amount that usually hang out on the sidewalk waiting for work. This recession is hitting everybody – the wealthy who can't hire these illegals to build houses all the way to middle management in corporate America.

    July 24, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  23. craig

    I didn't realize there are so many selfish people in the world, can't you read something about someone else,without putting one self int it Most Americans. have it better than anyone in the world, and no one is saying that all Americans have not been affected by these problems in America, but I'am sure they will run something on Whites,Hispanics,Russians etc so just hold on Until then try some empathy put yourself in someone else's shoes for once before you judge

    July 24, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  24. Mike from L. A.

    A recent co-worker of mine recently quit and found a higher paying job elsewhere. Base on his resume, he was pretty much hired on the spot! He is an engineer from Nigeria.

    I think we must add another criteria to this study based on the level of education completed by the Black Americans. I am sure it will show that the majority of the unemployed blacks in this study are from lower wage jobs, such as construction and the service industry. Being from Los Angeles, most low-wage jobs are taken by Hispanic immigrants.

    If Blacks in America want to improve their standing in society, they must focus on education!

    July 24, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  25. ashley

    I've been live in US for about 10 years, originally I was an immigrant from Asia. First time I came here I barely speak English, I have no clue about the life & culture in here. Long story short, after finishing my college, get married with asian guy, prasie the Lord, now we can live comfortably as a middle class american, with nice house in the nice area, good paying jobs, etc. I don't want to brag about what we have now, but what I'm trying to say is eventhough we're a minority, with hard work, perseverance & good attitude, in this country, it's very possible to move up from the level that you don't want to stay.
    IMHO, most of black people see themselves as victims, as bible tell us: everyman will become everything what he thinks about. It's a mental bondage for them, that they will always blame others for everything happened in their lives.

    July 24, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  26. Isaiah


    You are absolutely right. I would dare any other race to spend some time as a black man or woman.

    On a macroscopic level the inequality towards black is undeniable. It is harder for a lot of us. That is generally speaking. However, I must argue that many of the problems discussed can be solved at home. If young men and women would just keep their clothes on, there would be no more single teen mothers on welfare for starters. If we would perhaps go back to instilling the value of abstinence and not become lax, because "they're gonna have sex anyway" than HIV/AIDS would have a dramatically less impact on our community. I loved rap music and consider myself to be a rapper (just as a hobby) but I cannot stand the filth in the mainstream. We need to teach our young ones that rap music is just entertainment and to value more important things such as education because that is the key to success. Not everyone can be a professional athlete or entertainer.

    When it boils down, the fabric of society is built upon the family. Until the family can be restored this cycle will continue. Still it is no excuse to continue to use the obstacles against us as reasons for our failure. There are plently of black people who are able and do make the right decisions. Perhaps Darwin is correct. The strong will find a way to survive.

    July 24, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  27. Michael


    Credit is slavery! It has always been so. Talk amongst yourselves.

    BTW, I am white (Irish–we built America and did it for pretty cheap) and in debt.

    July 24, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  28. Isaiah

    My opinion is that having children should be a privilege, not a right. Couples should have to be pre-screened before they have children. Meaning they are financially able to handle a child, psychologically sound, have a good marriage so that divorce will not be forseeable in the near future, etc. This would cut back on the amount of welfare, because too many teen girls are becoming single mothers. Just like a social worker will check a potential parent before he/she adopts a child the same should be done for actual births. If a child gets pregnant he/she will be subject to fines. As for adults, more leniency could be granted but nevertheless it would be "strongly encouraged" for them to be "certified parents" as well. I think this would work wonders!

    July 24, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  29. bbwk80a

    Blacks teens HAVE to stay in school & get their high school diploma.
    Redirect from athletics to academics. There's more jobs associated with the latter. Intelligent whites want their fellow black citizens to prosper because it makes a better country and gives all of us a better life. But education is the most direct path to the above.

    July 24, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  30. J in Denver

    Lots of interesting comments, well beyond Recessions and Black America... It makes me question how big an issue race still is in our country and whether white America can demonstrate enough empathy and understanding and really consider the core issue. Our true thoughts and opinions will determine whether we have progressed to a point where we could actually elect a Black Man president... Will White America be able to sleep at night?

    July 24, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  31. Rich L.

    Black male unemployment in the 1950s was a few percentage points above the white national unemployment rate. Now comes the 1960s and beyond where black male unemployment was in excess of 50%. Why? According to Professor Richard Ebstein of the University of Chicago minorities were viewed by employers as statutory liabilities. Meaning that an individual in a minority group could use the government to sue an employer for alleged wrongful termination which was supposedly a result of that person's race. Government charge for legal services to the allegedly wronged minority employee: $0. Law firm charge to the employer: $Thousands.

    No wonder manufacturers and other businesses took off to India and China. No taxes, no EPA, no "Human Rights" agencies, no sexual harrassment laws, no affirmitave action, no OSHA, no risk. I could go on.

    Get government and vote- buying politician's dirty fingers out of America's business employment practices. When that happens there will be more new jobs in America than could ever be filled. Otherwise we will see all of our businesses flee to friendly off-shore countries and continue to erode the economic well being for all U.S. citizens. If government continues to micro-manage employers it is going to get a lot worse. A lot worse for everyone.

    July 24, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  32. rssst

    Savannah July 24th, 2008 1:30 pm ET

    You said it all...


    July 24, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  33. wild bob

    There are no lack of jobs, just willingness to take the jobs. The 11 to 30 million jobs being filed by Illegal immigrents in this country would be perfect for the uneducated or undereducated in this country, however, the unemployed teens won't take them because they feel they are beneath them. If the jobs were filled the illegals wouldn't have come to take them. The problem is lack of humility and work ethic, not lack of jobs or racism.

    July 24, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  34. Brian

    While I agree that recession hurts everyone, there is definitely a fine line between having the "Woe is me" attitude and the reality of Racism still exsiting in America. I do believe that there are some African Americans that make excuses for being in the situation that they are in but at the same time that doesn't account for the others that do not.
    Prime Example: I am an African American Male! I had a job interview with a major Corporation that was thoroughly impressed with my resume and experience. Once I actually went to the interview the hiring manager began the conversation with a disclaimer: " We are not hiring at this time and I just wanted to sit down and chat with you". This is a prime example of the disparity that takes place in the work place. This is not a reason for me to throw in the towel and make excuses but we have to come to terms with the realization that Racism is still very prevalent in the U.S.

    July 24, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  35. Zach

    Clearly those expounding racist ideology (i.e. "blacks need to stop whining, they don't have it any harder") on this comment board did not read the Next article on this site:


    Also, well said Vince.

    July 24, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  36. Josh

    The reason so many are negative is because you have rats out there like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the NAACP! Maybe if they spent less time defending M. Vick and actual working for the advancement of african-americans something could get done here...but that will never happen...

    July 24, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  37. H. Charles

    CNN, this was not a productive blog. This whole discussion has fueled an immense amount of animosity on both sides. Even a 3rd, 4th, and 5th side. Let's be real. Black Americans should take more responsibility for the conditions they live in. Americans in general should study eachother a little more. You'll be surprised at the similarities between us all.
    Life is what you make it. I'm a 27 year old American who is black. I did not join InRoads, I barely received any financial aid for college, and I've never gotten a job because of affirmative action(believe me, I ask). I'm a college graduate who started his own investment firm and I'm working on my MBA. I grew up in a lower middle class single parent home. If it wasn't for my mom showing me the way to go, who knows where I would be. PARENTS NEED TO STEP IT UP.

    July 24, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  38. Tom

    I wonder why CNN doesn't have a special on Asians? We came later than blacks, there are less of us than blacks. We were treated like garbage, even in my days when I came to America in the 80s. But it's the "in" thing to be sympathetic to blacks and no one else. I am awaiting a special on Mexicans/Blacks/Ethiopians/Indians/Native Americans/Russians/Puerto Ricans etc...

    July 24, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  39. Jim-

    I've been in a recession for over a year & a Half- It has nothing to do with the color of your skin but simple common sense I'm white & know how to prioritise- 1. shelter ( if need be I can go into a hillside)
    2. water ( I know where a lot of springs, steams, rivers are)
    3. food. ( I live in the high desert & I can survive quite well here- I was smart enough to stock up on things like rice, beans,cup o noodles when times are good & carry then in the tool box of my truck)
    4. clothing ( I don't need a $100,00 suit I buy jeans for $9.00 a pair & they last me for years- Boots last me about 2 years, I still wear shiorst that are 15 years old)
    5. Transportation- ( I just need something DEPENDABLE to get me from point A to point B & back I bought a 1974 pick up truck – cost to register $43.00 a year- insurance- $250 a year, Gas $700.00 a year as I ONLY drive to pick up supplies when absolutly needed)
    I've survived for 28 years on incomes ranging from a MAXIMUM of $18,000 to a MINIMUM of 2500. a year .

    July 24, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  40. Tom

    Nothing worse than overly sympathetic white people who keep on thinking we owe black people everything. South Park has a great satire on these types of morons. It's absolutely hilarious. I think these types of people are the *real* racists. This type of attitude actually truly keeps the black people down by recognizing they have a handicap and they will never get saddle up to fight through the challenges they may face.

    July 24, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  41. Christopher Currie

    We need to worry about our disabled, not the color of our skin,it adds another brick to the never ending dividing wall. How are the disabled going to survive through this recessions? How can you set out to do a story on the effect recessions have on black Americans, when we Americans have so many disabled that are living off $500 a month? I challenge you "Stephanie Elam" to live off of $500 a month for 6 months, with a disability, a pretend one of course, then you can set out to do a story on the effect recessions have on black Americans. It seems you are making an issue that really isn't worthy of note when there is so many more important issues to set out to write about. Mrs.Elam should set out to do a story on the effect recessions of the ability and the inability. We all know that Blacks have the ability and Whites have the ability, we all know that the inability do NOT have the ability. The question is "Do Black Americans have the ability?" YES they do!!! STOP putting up that dividing wall! Do the Inability have Ability? NO, that's why we call it "Inability".

    July 24, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  42. Vince - Phoenix,

    Most of you are missing the entire point. OF COURSE recessions hit EVERYBODY.


    and then, come the stats to back it up.

    To herman… I can’t begin to elucidate on the ignorace you post displayed.

    For some reason, many Americans prefer to believe we are a color blind society. (we are not there yet) They want blacks to believe THEM when they tell us ‘racism is over’. They say to us… who are you going to believe.. us, or your own lying eyes?” They say that blacks should just shut up, stop being on welfare, stop having babies, get good jobs, but mainly just … SHUT UP… (right?)

    They have no idea that it is like to be reviled because of the color of your skin. To be followed in a store, to be followed by a police car, to be afraid to go into a white neighborhood, to be afraid to drive through the south, to KNOW you have to be better to be considered still less than equal, to be the butt of jokes because as a people, our education is second rate, our teachers- scarce, our facilities – delapidated, thus, our linguistic skills deficdient... but the prisons – brand spanking new. Slaver lasted 436 years on this continent. The end of slavery is less than 150 years old. Then jim crow, then seperate-but-unequal, while being raped, lynched, beat and burned.

    Yeah… tell me, again, how it would be so “outrageous” if the article focused on recession in WHITE America.

    if you don’t know… the greatness of this country was built on the backs of free slave labor. African Americans REMAIN the only demographic of the population that DID NOT COME HERE OF OUR OWN ACCORD.
    you will not dismiss that. do not tell me of coming here, pulling up my boot straps, and working for it. FOR WE HAVE.. IN SPITE OF THE SYSTEM THAT KEEPS THE MAJORITY DOWN. WE “HAVE”.

    We will NOT “shut up” ! we WILL tell our story! and whether or not you agree that you need to hear it…. YOU “DO”. We will NOT “shut up”!
    for on this land we were brought against our wills to build a nation, and on THIS land we ARE NOW FREE AND FULL CITIZENS.

    I tell ‘YOU” to WALK A MILE IN OUR SHOES….

    July 24, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  43. Kenya Johnson

    KAB, yes they actually are reporting on the hurricane in Texas. They talked about the hurrican in TX at intervals last night. Also they have/had a story on CNN.com about the devistation.

    July 24, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  44. Patrick

    Diane –

    Soledad is half white (father, australian) and half Cuban (mother,Black) – which part of her is not black enough for you? On that note, a report is a report no matter who is delivering the report. If facts are being stated, then the facts will not change when they are delivered.

    July 24, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  45. bruce white

    While much of what you say is true, this is just as true for poor whites and hispanics. The real problem is we have all bought in to the college lie. More education does not produce more opportunities. It only produces more debt in acquiring it.

    July 24, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  46. Diezel

    Cindy is seems that your remarks justify the article. The purpose was to reveal the TRUTH. The truth is the black economy is hit HARDER and not to demean the impact across the board.

    I don't think it's about the "woe as me" thing but accepting reality. The stats speak for themselves. This is not an SOS for black people but just how our economy affects different communities.

    "To say that it hurts one class more than another is absurd! Whites are being hit just as bad as blacks or anyone else" – Why is it ABSURD if the stats support it?

    July 24, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  47. Zach

    Wow, I've never seen so many stereotypes about black people in one place. It's very interesting how peoples' true colors come out on discussion boards, especially when it comes to race.

    These comments are very disappointing, and downright sad.

    July 24, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  48. Matt

    HEY! Can someone tell me when our country officially entered this so-called recession???

    Yet another excuse for minorites to cry foul to get more freebies. And the liberal media & politicians will do whatever they can because we've become a country made up mostly of lazy, whining people who don't know what it means to be an American, to work hard, to make your keep. If the liberal media & politicians deliver, it just means more power for them, so it's a win-win – except for everyone else who does things the honorable way.

    I'm so disgusted with the state of our country. God forbid Barack Obama becomes President.

    July 24, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  49. Jess

    To Karen ( Minneapolos )

    I'm sorry you feel so unfortunate to live in the USA to raise your child. You are free to leave, ASAP! That goes to all foreigners' if you come to America to hate it, please simply leave!

    July 24, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  50. KAB

    You sound just as angry as the bloggers you condemn. Only God knows what is in someone's heart. You don't get judge that. Many are speaking their truth, just because you don't feel the same does not make them evil. There is a lot of anger in many of these blogs. Anger from Blacks, Whites, Asians, Latinos,... We certainly don't have agree on all issues to get along. I think we all have to put the anger away. Take it out on a punching bag, or chopping wood, or volunteer at a children's hospital (see what unfair is really all about.) And speak to each other, not yell.

    I am really not crazy about CNN obsessing over the "Black in America" series. I am glad they did it, but let it sell itself. Wasn't there a hurricane that hit Texas yesterday? Anybody reporting on that?

    July 24, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
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