85% of Black Teens Not Working

An even more troubling for many who have looked at black teen joblessness is something known as the employment-population ratio because it also reflects the teens who have given up looking for work. Only 28.2 percent of teens were in the workforce in May. For black teens it was 14.5 percent.

"We're reaching the point where it is not going to be able to go any lower," said Algernon Austin, director of the Race, Ethnicity and the Economy program at the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C.

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The Jobs Crisis in Black D.C.

More than 100 people attended the forum at Friendship College Academy High School, discussing the findings of a poll on race and the economy conducted by The Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation. The first meeting, in February, examined the recession’s impact on the District’s African American families.

In one guise or another, the recession kept popping up on Wednesday.

Ward 7 resident Marla Blount, who has a master’s degree in business administration, told the panel she has been searching for a job for 2 1 /2 years, but doesn’t have many leads.

“I’ve tried to do everything right,” said Blount, 46, who moved to the District in 2000. “I just know that if I can’t find a job and I’ve got two degrees, I can just imagine what happens to the people who don’t have one degree.”

“It’s inexcusable,” she said.

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The Other Subprime Lending Crisis

From the National Center for Education Statistics: "A higher percentage of Black students (15 percent) attended private for-profit institutions than of students of any of the other races/ethnicities shown (ranging from 6 to 8 percent)."

From the New York Times: "Among bachelor’s degree recipients, for example, nearly a quarter of 2008 graduates from for-profit colleges owed $40,000 or more, compared with just 6 percent of graduates from public colleges.

According to Congressional testimony this week, the debt burden is higher because for-profit schools sometimes encourage students to borrow privately from the school, rather than from federal programs, which often have lower rates and loan forbearance for those who fall ill or become jobless. The private loans are often subprime, with high rates and almost no consumer protections.

Even though the for-profit system serves only a little more than a tenth of those in postsecondary education, it accounts for nearly half of student loan defaults."

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40 Years of the "War on Drugs"

Friday marks the 40th anniversary of one of the biggest, most expensive, most destructive social policy experiments in American history: The war on drugs. 


And no group has been more targeted and suffered more damage than the black community. As the A.C.L.U. pointed out last week, “The racial disparities are staggering: despite the fact that whites engage in drug offenses at a higher rate than African-Americans, African-Americans are incarcerated for drug offenses at a rate that is 10 times greater than that of whites.” 

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The New Attack on the Black Vote

"Early voting, which enables people to skip long lines and vote at more convenient times, has been increasingly popular over the last 15 years. It skyrocketed to a third of the vote in 2008, rising particularly in the South and among black voters supporting Barack Obama. 

And that, of course, is why Republican lawmakers in the South are trying desperately to cut it back. . . .

. . . Black lawmakers called it what it is: a modern whiff of Jim Crow."

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World Leaders Declare "War on Drugs" a Failure

Former presidents, prime ministers, eminent economists and leading members of the business community will unite behind a call for a shift in global drug policy. The Global Commission on Drug Policy will host a press conference at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York to launch a report that describes the drug war as a failure and calls for a "paradigm shift" in approaching the issue.

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