Chronic Unemployment in Black America

"In recent testimony before the Congressional Black Caucus, EPI's Algernon Austin focused on jobless rates in Illinois to illustrate the major difference between unemployment rates for black and white workers. He estimated that even before the recession started, black workers in Chicago were almost four times as likely as white workers to be unemployed." Read more.


Update on Hate

A New Lecture: “Anti-Black Discrimination in the Age of Obama” by Dr. Algernon Austin

The simplistic idea that impoverished African Americans have only themselves to blame for their poverty, due to their poor cultural values—a notion advanced by many, including black public figures such as Bill Cosby—is believable only if a blind eye is turned to those inconvenient things social scientists like to call “facts.” Algernon Austin soundly refutes the “culture of poverty” argument by paying careful attention to macro-economic data about long-term poverty trends and sociological case studies about persistent discrimination. In other words, unlike the glib punditry, Austin actually looks at the “facts.”
--Dr. Andrew Hartman, professor and audience member, Illinois State University

Contact Dr. Austin to arrange a speaking engagement.

Sensational individual acts of racist violence or hatred too often serve to obscure the far more common and pervasive impersonal acts of institutional racial discrimination. We do seem to be experiencing an upsurge of racist violence and hatred by individuals and organized groups. This significant upsurge is worth noting.

Chip Berlet on “Angry Voters, Right-Wing Populism, & Racial Violence”:
We are in the midst of one of the most significant right-wing populist rebellions in US history as illustrated by the Tea Party and Patriot movements. Will religious and progressive activists provide a voice and outlet for populist fear and anger or will these dispossessed voices find a home among the potentially violent elements of the far right?

Mark Potok on “Rage on the Right”:
[Last year] Furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups soared by nearly 80%, adding some 136 new groups during 2009. And, most remarkably of all, so-called "Patriot" groups — militias and other organizations that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose “one-world government” on liberty-loving Americans — came roaring back after years out of the limelight.

Bob Herbert on the recent ugliness:
A group of lowlifes at a Tea Party rally in Columbus, Ohio, last week taunted and humiliated a man who was sitting on the ground with a sign that said he had Parkinson’s disease. The disgusting behavior was captured on a widely circulated videotape. One of the Tea Party protesters leaned over the man and sneered: “If you’re looking for a handout, you’re in the wrong end of town.”

You might be a racist if you have a swastika tattoo:
Mr. Brunjes, 18, said he first gave his friend a lightning-bolt tattoo in May 2008, and then a star, using ink, a needle and thread. About a month and a half later, he said, he gave him a third one on his right upper thigh: a swastika. The two friends did not discuss why.

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--Algernon Austin, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2005-2010 by Thora Institute, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Will You Stand Up and Be Counted?

Algernon Austin presents an excellent, concise, and wonderfully read scholarly examination of the complicated landscape of race, class and popular perception. Besides the prison industrial complex, black strides in education, poverty rates, crime and other indices contradict claims that blacks are “moving backward.”
--Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar, Director, Institute for African American Studies, University of Connecticut and author of Black Power: Radical Politics and African American Identity (The Johns Hopkins University Press), 2004 and Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap (University Press of Kansas), 2007.

Purchase Getting It Wrong: How Black Public Intellectuals
Are Failing Black America
by Algernon Austin
Barnes & Noble.com Amazon.com

The 2010 Census is coming! Will you stand up and be counted?

Every missing black person translates to a loss of roughly $13,000 in federal dollars for his community until the next census in 2020. This is a lot of money. On the 2010 Census you only need to answer ten easy questions to earn that money for your community. Will you stand up and be counted?

Blacks have lower income, less wealth and higher poverty rates than whites. On top of all of this the black completion rate of the 2000 Census was lower than the white completion rate. This means that poorer black communities lose out on desperately needed federal dollars.

On the 2000 Census, my predominantly black community had a completion rate of about 65 percent. The predominantly white community nearby had a completion rate of over 80 percent. My community probably lost out on federal funds. (Map the participation rate of your community here.)

If you are not counted by the government, not only does your community lose money, you are more easily ignored and neglected. Political representation in the U.S. House of Representatives is determined by the census counts. Entrepreneurs determine where to locate businesses based on census data. Public policies and social programs are created based on census data. If you are not counted you are more likely to be ignored.

Will you stand up and be counted?

Worth Viewing/Reading

Brookings report: Counting for Dollars:The Role of the Decennial Census in the Geographic Distribution of Federal Funds.

Algernon Austin talks about minority unemployment on PBS Newshour.

NYC Police Department targets black and Latino youth.

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--Algernon Austin, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2005-2010 by Thora Institute, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Older Blacks and the Great Recession

From AARP:
African Americans age 45+ have been forced to make increasingly difficult decisions to cope with this economic downturn—decisions that could have serious long-term consequences. A third (34%) stopped putting money into a 401(k), IRA or other retirement account, and a quarter (26%) prematurely withdrew funds from their retirement nest eggs to pay for living expenses, including mortgage or rent, health care, education expenses, and for other reasons. More than three in ten (31%) have cut back on their medications, and 28% have carried a higher balance on their credit cards during the past 12 months.

This economic recession has had a devastating impact on the African American community. The survey, found that over the last 12 months, a third (33%) of African Americans 45+ had problems paying rent or mortgage, and 44% had problems paying for essential items, such as food and utilities. Nearly twice as many African Americans 45+ lost a job than the general population (18% vs. 10%), and almost one in four (23%) lost their employer-sponsored health insurance.
Read the full summary.