Friday, February 28, 2014

Will Obama's Actions Match His Rhetoric On Helping Minority Youth?

Jesse Jackson is being honored for providing inner-city youth with increased photo opportunities...The Onion

Yesterday, Pres. Obama gave a speech on launching initiatives by providing better opportunities to minority youth. It was good speech even if I say so myself. But  one question continues to haunt me:   Why did it take him so damn long to address the following problems?

  • Since 2012 alone, over 12,000 blacks have been murdered. Mediate
  • In Chicago alone (his hometown) over 78% of homicide victims are black. Of the 500 murders in Chicago in 2012, 62 were school aged children. Chicago Tribune
  • In NYC, approximately 61% of murder victims were black in 2012, 27% were Hispanic. Fifty-four percent of the known murder suspects were black and  35% were Hispanic. NYPD
  • The nationwide rate for out-of-wedlock births for black women is about 55% (as high as 70% in many urban areas). During MLK's lifetime, it stood at 25%.
You can the picture. These numbers---and there are many others---are devastating. Pres. Obama certainly doesn't deserve all the blame for the state of Black America today. That would be an unfair criticism. There's a lot of blame to go around from other so-called black leaders like Al Sharpton to the political class (white and black) to the media. But the fact is clear. Since he took office, poverty and unemployment among minorities remains disturbing. Yet, it took the nation's first Black president (excluding Bill Clinton) almost 6 years to address these problems.

As I've written in the past, Martin Luther King, Jr. would have many reasons to smile today as Blacks and our nation have made great strides in human dignity in the last five decades. Nevertheless, he would also have many reasons to cry. And I believe his disappointment would largely be directed at many members of the leadership in today's black and Hispanic community as well as the political class. He would find that many of these institutions and their leaders have done nothing but exploit the minority community. How else can one account for the data I listed above? After all, trillions of dollars have been allocated and spent targeting these very issues and problems.

Over and over again, we've seen Pres. Obama either trip over his own rhetoric or simply not walk the talk. For the sake of millions of minorities in America today, I hope he follows through with this initiative. But one unfortunate fact remains a reality: History is replete with many failures that follow in the wake of progressive policies.