If Not You, Mr. President, Then Who?


Collectively, we prefer that our expectations be met on our schedule and not a second later. That explains why a new Washington Post/ABC News poll reveals that barely half of Americans still believe that President Obama's $787 billion stimulus measure will boost the economy.

While it’s interesting to read how Americans overall are struggling to continue to hold out hope, I’m more curious to see how black Americans are currently feeling about their futures.


The Washington Post reports that analysts say that black and Latino unemployment rates could approach 20 percent by year’s end.

Christina Romer, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, told the Post that while President Obama is “very concerned” about the unemployment forecasts, the administration may not explore the idea of targeted interventions until next year.

But with the possibility of 1 in 5 blacks being unemployed, can we afford to wait and see? That question was posed to the president during yesterday’s news conference.

His response:

“Well, look, the — first of all, we know that the African-American unemployment rate, the Latino unemployment rate are consistently higher than the national average. And so, you know, if the economy as a whole is doing poorly, then you know that the African-American community's going to be doing poorly, and they're going to be hit even harder.

And the best thing that I can do for the African-American community or the Latino community or the Asian community, whatever community, is to get the economy as a whole moving. If I don't do that, then I'm not going to be able to help anybody. So that's priority No. 1.”

I'm not entirely convinced that a booming economy will close the gap in economic conditions between whites and minorities. In fact, recent pieces have taken that notion to task.


Besides, isn’t time we finally put political correctness aside and be more forthright about what’s going on?

Black college-educated workers are being laid off at a much faster rate than their white counterparts. We’ve been made a target in sketchy sub-prime mortgage loans. Black men have been proven to be hit hardest overall in the recession, and black men and women alike have seen a boost in workplace discrimination.


See a pattern?

If Obama or a member of his administration doesn’t address these issues head on, who will?


Share your view: Does Barack Obama’s administration need to make a move now to aid black and brown workers? And is it time to speak up on issues related to race and the economy?

Leave your comments below or email me at therecessiondiaries@gmail.com.

Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.