By john a. powell,
Heaster Wheeler, Executive Director of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP, also contributed to this article.
The recent employment figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that Black unemployment is on the rise again (returning to 16.5%). These figures remind us that the persistent economic crisis facing the Black community is not being addressed by the broad and universal approach to job creation embraced by the Obama administration and Congress. More pointedly, growing evidence suggests that Black communities and other marginalized populations are not being adequately reached and are not benefiting from these current economic policies.
The reason for this continuing challenge is fairly simple and straightforward; the circumstances that different groups in the United States face are all particular to them, and different. For example, Black workers are more likely to be physically isolated from job centers, to be located in poor urban and rural areas and to face conditions that other communities might not. Such challenges are not limited to just Black workers. Women are less likely to be in the construction trades and other groups may face language barriers. In this post-industrial age, industrial centers like the City of Detroit have been turned into ground zero for the economic crisis with deindustrialization and the housing crisis creating conditions unlike any other place in the nation. Unfortunately, meaningful federal policies have not been crafted to address this situation.