Black unemployment in Minneapolis was 20.7 percent in 2010 (nearly four times that of Whites) and even higher today. For Black youth: 45 percent unemployment.
The Minneapolis Foundation, the Blue Ribbon Commission, the Pacific Northwest Foundation, and other enlightened worthies can’t figure out how “one of the most generous, philanthropic states in the nation” can have “one of the worst disparities — education, economic development, housing, imprisonment” in the nation. That’s code for “What’s wrong with Blacks?”
It is not a mystery. It’s on purpose. The purposeful policies and actions regarding no jobs for Blacks are not new. Among 20 columns I’ve written on this since 2005, see June 23, 2010 (“Shameful Black unemployment gap in Mpls gets silent treatment”), November 17, 2010 (“Disparity study finally released. It took 15 years to tell us what we already knew”), and November 24, 2010 (“Disparity Study reveals City failed to monitor hiring, contracting jobs and income. Result for Blacks: shameful loss of jobs and income”). Also see my first solution paper in 2002: “The Economics of Racism.”
You could build a new Vikings stadium for the money spent on subsidizing purposeful employment disparity. In the words of Malcolm X, for both Blacks and now Whites, those chickens are coming home to roost.
Look around and see the despair and hopelessness in the state of Minnesota. Where is a Minnesota Jobs Plan that includes Blacks? On March 30 of this year, Governor Mark Dayton, Democrat, held a come-to-Jesus meeting in North Minneapolis. There were lots of statements about getting the big economic engine started to improve economic opportunities for African Americans and others.
Four months later, the governor hosted another economic summit in a downtown St. Paul hotel. Over 1,000 participants/experts showed up. That’s eight months of discussions and reflections, planning to plan plans for planning. But there’s been no action on real jobs except for government planners.
Do you remember the 2002 McKinsey report of Minneapolis spending over $900 million on planning for low-income housing and winding up with only 55 units? Lots of planning, but little jobs action.
Planning without action is not an action plan, is it? Think of the jobs that could have been enabled if this time, money and effort were put into jobs for all?
In the meantime, the quality-of-life standards in the African American community continue to plunge at an accelerated rate. Governor Dayton doesn’t seem to have a timetable. President Obama doesn’t seem to have a timetable either, even with his Federal Jobs Plan.
All of this raises the old, old question of waiting. The title of one of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s books explains it all: “Why We Can’t Wait.” Waiting is not one of our luxuries.
Of course, African Americans don’t have a choice. In November 2012, Black Americans can express their displeasure that we as a nation and we as a state will still be without a jobs creation plan. And that means that we will go through the motions of looking as if we have to reinvent the wheel.
Think about it: You’ll have a new Congress, you may have a new president, and at the state level you’ll have the same governor but a new legislature that will still be talking about a plan, 20 months after the economic summit of March 30, 2011. White planners. Black waiters.
The statistics are not positive, so I continue to raise the question of why Whites think Black Americans have the luxury of waiting for the jobs patent office to open up again. When I look at the economic and educational deterioration confronting Black Americans, I wonder just how long White America thinks Black America will just stand by while White America keeps recycling their plans that keep access to jobs away from African Americans?
Think about it my friends: How much will you accept being asked to bear? How much weight placed upon your shoulders, your souls, and your spirit can you carry and still continue to believe, to have hope, and to have a dream?
In his new book Back to Work, Bill Clinton calls for best of what both parties have to offer to engage the “American Dream growth” style. But does that include offering jobs to Blacks as well?
At some point Jesus just can’t help us, and we need to come up with our own plan. We must pursue our survival by any means necessary. Stay tuned.
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm; hosts “Black Focus” on Blog Talk radio Sundays at 3 pm; and co-hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “ON POINT!” Saturdays at 4 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his solution papers for community planning and development and “web log” at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.
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