Written by Frank T. Scruggs, M.A., Ph.D. Candidate
The 2008 Presidential Campaign has electrified the U.S. and much of the world as Senator Barack Obama (Democrat-Illinois) a highly intelligent and eloquent African American has become a convincing contender for the Oval Office of the Presidency of the United States of America. Equally electrifying is maverick Republican contender Senator John McCain (Republican-Arizona) who has proven a worthy adversary and added surprise by choosing a woman, Alaskan governor, Sarah Palin as his running mate a Vice-Presidential choice. Meanwhile, even in the wake of Senator Obama’s successful bid for a Senate seat and bid for the White House author Robert Anthony Watts has quite recently brought to light the different types of snubs and slights experienced by many successful Black people such as being asked for identification for receptions, being mistaken for parking valets and ignored in clothing stores. He stated that no matter how well-dressed you are; you are still Black. For many Black Americans, those kinds of snubs are common experiences. Usually subtle and almost never involving slurs, the incidents are far less obvious than Jim Crow laws that prevailed in the South three decades ago. But for many Blacks these behaviors are jarring and lead to simmering anger and widen the divide in America. Chicago psychiatrist, Dr. Carl Bell, known for his work on racism says such behavior is called micro-insults or micro-aggressions. These experiences for Blacks can be particularly frustrating because they are so personal.
There are many people in the African American community and the African Diaspora may seem pleased that a Black man is making a serious run for perhaps the most powerful political position in the world but in the wake of this monumental, historical event, issues of concern for Black people somehow seem missing. The crisis in Darfur and the rape and violence perpetrated against the women in the Republic of the Congo, for example and closer to home Black people still disproportionately experience police brutality in the Americas, higher incarceration, poverty, and lack of parity in public school education. In addition, a report by the City Mayors of the U.S. stated that “the number of young Black men without jobs has climbed steadily… by 2004, the number of young Black male high school dropouts in their 20s unable to find work, no longer looking for work or incarcerated had reached 72%, compared with 34 % of White and 19% of Hispanic dropouts. Even when high school graduates were included, half of Black men in their 20s were jobless in 2004, up from 46 per cent in 2000, according to data compiled by Bruce Western, a sociologist at Princeton.”
Researchers Harry Holzer, Peter Edelman, and Paul Offner also added to the awareness of Black social problems when they stated that stated that “being young and Black is often enough to be denied employment, even when all employment criteria are met. Among Black dropouts in their late 20s, more are in prison on a given day — 34 per cent — than are working — 30 per cent — according to an analysis of 2000 Census data. Nearly 50 per cent of all Black men in their late 20s and early 30s are fathers who don’t live with their children.” These dismal statistics of Black social problems and other systemic issues that need to be addressed leave one that remains: Are Black Issues today hidden or have we seen the end of racism?
Think about this topic and share your answers with me and also with the two Presidential candidates. I look forward to hearing from you and as always you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org