Leah Barkoukis

President Obama may not be addressing the nearly 14 percent unemployment rate in the black community, but that’s not stopping BET founder Bob Johnson from speaking up. Via CNS News:

This country would never tolerate white unemployment at 14 and 15 percent. No one would ever stay in office at 14 or 15 percent unemployment in this nation, but we’ve had that double unemployment for over 50 years,” Johnson said while speaking at the National Press Club about the gap between whites and blacks in America.

“The national average is 7.7 percent, and African-American unemployment is 13.8 percent. To be honest, it’s probably greater than that when you count the number of African-Americans who have simply given up on finding employment,” said Johnson, who is also founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies. […]

Johnson said the challenge was to figure out why the unemployment rate for blacks has been so high, “and if that doesn’t change, somebody’s going to have to pay— 34 million African-Americans are not going to leave this country, millions of African-Americans who don’t have jobs.”

“Somebody’s going to have to pay for them. Somebody’s going to have to take care of them, and if somebody’s going to have to take care of them, that money’s got to come from somebody. And whoever’s paying for it is going to be upset about it, and they’re going to start looking for somebody to blame,” Johnson said.

Fifty percent of African-Americans blame the failed education system for minorities/African Americans, according to a poll commissioned by Johnson. Indeed--our public education system is failing far too many students in this country. For just one example, take a look at New York City where 80 percent of high school graduates need to relearn basic skills such as reading, writing and math before they can enter the City University’s community college system. But just as Johnson is right about needing to figure out the root causes for such high unemployment in the African-American community, the same argument can be made for failing schools. Some say it all begins with the breakdown of the traditional family in the black community. Crystal Wright weighs in:

In his 1965 research paper The Negro Family: the Case for National Action, Daniel Patick Moynihan then Assistant Secretary of Labor revealed the breakdown down of the black family was contributing to higher black dropout and incarceration rates and lower wealth achievement compared to whites. Moynihan warned, “The white family has achieved a high degree of stability and is maintaining that stability. By contrast, the family structure of lower class Negroes is highly unstable, and in many urban centers is approaching complete breakdown.”

Moynihan further noted there was an alarming trend in the number of black families headed by single women and the rise in illegitimate births among blacks. In 1964, 23.6% of black births were to unwed mothers today it’s 72%. Moynihan reminded us of what holds true today, when teenagers have children they are less likely to finish high school and climb the economic ladder.

The unemployment rate for black teens in 1965 was 29%, today it’s 40%. Since the days of Johnson, Democrat policies like welfare have only worsened the problem for blacks by rewarding black women with taxpayer dollars for raising fatherless children. Moynihan’s report it reads like it was written yesterday rather than nearly 50 years ago. “In a word, the tangle of pathology is tightening,” wrote Moynihan. Indeed it is. The destruction of the black family is where blacks should be firmly directing their outrage…”


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Managing Editor at Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography