Recession and African-Americans in the essay

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Edgar Hoover, makes public its continuing investigation into the activities of black nationalist organizations, singling out the Black Panther Party in particular, Hoover viewing the group as a national security threat.

January 05, 1970

Blacks Move Out of Inner Cities: The Bureau of Census statistics show as the quality of life in poverty-stricken urban communities worsens, a continuous stream of middle-class blacks escape to higher-income neighborhoods and suburbs.

February 13, 1970

First Black Member of the New York Stock Exchange: Joseph L. Searles III becomes the first African-American to become a member of the New York Stock Exchange, starting his training as a floor partner with the firm of Newberger, Leob & Company.

June 16, 1970

Gibson Elected Mayor of Newark, New Jersey: Kenneth A. Gibson was elected mayor of Newark, New Jersey on this date. He also became the first Black president of the Conference of U.S. Mayors during his career.

January 25, 1980

BET Launched: Robert L. Johnson launches Black Entertainment Television on cable. The network begins airing in the Washington, D.C. area.

May 18, 1980

Rioting In Miami: The worst rioting since the late 1960s erupts in Miami following the controversial acquittal of 4 white deputy sheriffs accused of beating to death a black insurance executive. At least 15 people die in the riots and more than 216 are wounded.

November 17, 1980

First Black-operated Public Radio Station: The first Black-operated public radio station, WHHM, went on the air at Howard University on this date in Washington, D.C.

March 03, 1990

First Black "Miss USA" Crowned: Detroit native Carole Gist becomes the first Black to win the title "Miss USA."

October 22, 1990

Bush Vetoes Civil Rights Bill: In spite of its significant support in Congress, President George Bush vetoes the Civil Rights Bill of 1990, which would have established racial quotas in employment.

October 26, 2000

Derek Jeter Named World Series MVP: New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was named World Series Most Valuable Player of the "Subway Series" between the Yankees and the New York Mets on this date in New York City

November 07, 2000

Dorothy Brown Elected Clerk of the Circuit Court: Dorothy Brown is elected Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County (Illinois) by a 4 to 1 margin, becoming the first African-American to hold this position.

November 09, 2000

First Black President of an Ivy League University: Ruth Simmons became the first Black president of an Ivy League school on this date at Brown University in Rhode Island.

November 16, 2000

Coca-Cola Company Settles Race Discrimination Case: The Coca-Cola Company settled its race discrimination suit on this date. Former and current Coca-Cola employees filed the lawsuit because they believed the company had a corporate hierarchy where the Black employees were not given raises or promotions because of their race.

2.3: Economic Obstacles Affecting African-Americans

To address a recession, one must first understand what a recession consists of. A recession, according to the Investor Guide (2009) constitutes: "A period of general economic decline; specifically, a decline in GDP for two or more consecutive quarters." In his article, "How much do we understand about the modern recession?," Robert E. Hall (2007), Stanford University, explains that, "modern" recessions hit the U.S. economy in 1990-91 and then again during 2001. "A modern recession is one occurring in an economy with well-executed monetary policy and a small fraction of the labor force on the factory floor" (Hall, 2007, ¶ 1). Hall contends that in past and modern recessions, employment falls without specific identifiable driving forces. J.T. Young (2009) asserts in "Young: Recession effects 2009" that during the past 60 years, in addition to the current one, America has experienced nine recessions.

In the New York Times article, "Homeownership losses are greatest among minorities," John Leland (2009) notes the Pew Hispanic Center to report that during the current economic recession, the gains and growth African-Americans and native-born Latino made in homeownership during the past decade have been eroding faster than those of whites. The study also notes: "The gaps between white and minority households remain significant, however, with homeownership rates for Asians (59.1%), blacks (47.5%) and Latinos (48.9%) well below the 74.9% among whites" (Leland, 2009, ¶ 10). African-Americans and Latinos, the study reports are less likely than Whites to obtain mortgages. The rejection rate for Whites in regard to mortgages is12.1%; however, it skyrockets to 30.4% of African-American applications (Leland, 2009, ¶ 14).

Economic Impact of Education

A recent study by McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, according to Javier C. Hernandes (2009) in "Study cites dire economic impact of poor schools," indicates of American schoolchildren's lagging performance, particularly among poor and minority students, contributes to the negative economic situation. "Bleak disparities in test scores on four fronts: between black and Hispanic children and white children; between poor and wealthy students; between Americans and students abroad; and between students of similar backgrounds educated in different parts of the country" (Hernandes, 2009, Skip to next paragraph¶ 2). In turn, these disparities contribute to economic gaps that if closed, could increase the U.S. gross domestic product $3 billion to $5 billion more per day; trillions of dollars each year (Hernandes). Skip to next paragraph

Gregory Taylor (2009), senior vice president and associate general counsel for the American Bankers Association, also the editor of Banking Docket, quotes Pliny the Elder, an ancient Roman scholar and natural philosopher in "Recession and pre-emption: Will the current economic crisis prompt the supreme court to revisit Watters?" According to Pliny the Elder, in his Naturalis Historia (circa 77 AD): "The only certainty is that nothing is certain" (Pliny, as cited in Taylor, 2009, ¶ 1). What appears to be certain regarding the obstacles currently affecting African-Americans, the researcher notes, is in fact the uncertainty.

Recession Certainties

Currently, the United States (U.S.) economy is experiencing its worst recession in decades. That "certainty," according to Christian E. Weller (2009), Senior Fellow for The Center for American Progress, in the article, "Dr. Christian Weller: Economic snapshot for March 2009." As job and wealth losses accelerate and contribute to dramatic increases in families' economic distress: "Job losses accelerate. The U.S. economy shed 651,000 jobs in February 2009. Since the recession began in December 2007, the economy has lost 4.4 million jobs and 2.6 million jobs in just the last four months (Dr. Christian E…, 2009, ¶ 3).

During February 2009, the unemployment rate reached 8.1%, the highest level in the U.S. since December 1983. The unemployment rate for African-Americans, however, totaled 13.4%, while the rate for Hispanics was 10.9%. The rate for Whites during this time was at 7.3%. Figure 1 portrays these early 2009 unemployment rates in the U.S.; noting the differences in unemployment rates of African-Americans, Hispanics and Whites. Figure 1 reflects the unemployment rates of these races during early 2009 in the United States.

Figure 1: Early 2009 U.S. Unemployment Rates (adapted from Dr. Christian E…, 2009, ¶ 4).

Figure 2 portrays U.S. percentages of various races' unemployment rates.

Figure 2: Various Races' Unemployment Rates (Adapted from The District of…, 2007, p. 46).

Educational Disparities

Along with the obvious disparity in rates for Whites, compared to African-Americans in the unemployment realm, those individuals who did possess a high school diploma grew to 12.6%, compared to 8.3% for those with a high school degree and 4.1% for those with a college degree, (Dr. Christian E…, 2009, ¶ 4). Figure 3 notes the differences in earnings for African-Americans, 25-64 years old, in the labor force, regard to education in March 1970 and March 2008.

Figure depicts the educational attainment of African-Americans in the labor force during 1970, compared to 2008.

Figure 3: African-American Educational Attainment (adapted from Spotlight on statistics, 2009).

Figure 4 depicts medium earnings, related to degree of African-American worker.

Figure 4: African-American Median Weekly Earnings (adapted from Spotlight on…, 2009).

The Job Queue

African-Americans face a permanent recession, Algernon Austin (2008) asserts in examining what a recession would mean for black America in the brief, "What a recession means for black America." Austin contends that recessions "hurt the poor and socially marginalized populations the most" (¶ 1). According to Austin:

In the best of times, many African-American communities are forced to tolerate levels of unemployment unseen in most white communities. The 2001 recession pushed the white annual unemployment rate up from a low of 3.5% in 2000 to a high of 5.2% in 2003. During the same period, the black unemployment rate shot up from 7.6% to 10.8%. National recessions take African-Americans from a bad situation to a worse one.

In 2007, the black unemployment rate was 8.3%. This figure is still above the pre-recession low and more than twice the white unemployment rate. Goldman Sachs estimates that a new recession would increase the national unemployment rate to 6.4% by 2009. For African-Americans, the unemployment rate would be expected to rise to 11.0%.2. (Austin, 2008, ¶ ¶ 2-3)

During the…[continue]

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