Monday, February 21, 2011

Blacks Have Suffered The Most Under Obama. So Why Are We Still Down?!?

I'm not gonna waste any time regurgitating the same ole' same ole' when it comes to questioning President Obama's thus far negligible effect on the black community. If you want this sort of analysis, you might wanna go elsewhere. When black unemployment is darn near 20% nationally, I think it's fair to say we've hardly reached the mountaintop. I think it's equally unfair to place all of the blame for this at the feet of the President when there are so many other factors that have contributed to our present state. In short, there's no simple, easy answer.

All that said, with Non-Oprah/Lebron/Tyler Perry Black America struggling mightily, at what point we are collectively gonna start giving Obama the side-eye? Most reputable polls still have Obama's approval rating among blacks in the 90%'s, and even my poll (which I'm running now!) routinely gives him a favorable grade. Is there any breaking point here? The Washington Post, in its typically lazy fashion, hinted at this strange dichotomy.
Despite severe losses during the recession, the majority of African Americans see the economy improving and are confident that their financial prospects will improve soon.

That optimism, shared to a lesser degree by Hispanics, stands in stark contrast to the deeper pessimism expressed by a majority of whites. In general, whites are more satisfied with their personal financial situations but also more sour about the nation's economic prospects.

Those are among the findings of a new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation-Harvard University poll that probed attitudes in the wake of a downturn that more than doubled unemployment and wiped away nearly a fifth of Americans' net worth.

African Americans and Hispanics were more likely to be left broke, jobless and concerned that they lack the skills needed to shape their economic futures. But they also remained the most hopeful that the economy would soon right itself and allow them to prosper.

Whites, also buffeted by the long recession, are the most resentful of government action and far less optimistic about what is ahead financially, both for their own families and for the country as whole.

Whites are also far less likely than blacks or Hispanics to think their children will be better off than they themselves are now. Whites also are most likely to say, "It will be a long time before the economy recovers."

Nearly four in 10 African Americans said they adjusted their housing situations in the past three years to cope with the crisis. Nearly one in three borrowed money from friends or relatives to get by. More than a quarter lost their health insurance coverage or other benefits in the past year.

While the stated stress level among African Americans is lower, some data show a heavier toll. The downturn obliterated years of African American economic progress- strides that were on shaky ground even before the recession. The share of black adults who were working slid to 52 percent, nearly seven points behind whites and Hispanics. In 2001, nearly 65 percent of white adults and just over 60 percent of blacks were employed.
Strange findings indeed. The people most damaged by the recession (black folks) are the most optimistic that things will get better, while those generally least effected are the most pessimistic.

I've got my theories on what all this means, but I figure I'll ask ya'll instead.

Question: What does this study tell you about race in America? Are black folks giving Obama a free pass? Are white people being tougher on him than they would a white President?

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