Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of what is now infamously named as “Bloody Sunday”. Bloody Sunday” represents the brutal violence towards hundreds of people who were protesting over the racial discrimination in the country by marching into Selma, Alabama across the Edmund Pettus Bridge ( which connected Selma to Montgomery) . On this day it was documented that the Alabama state troopers met African Americans at the end of bridge and brutal violence occurred. In what was probably by no accident, just three months ago a major motion picture was released in honor of Bloody Sunday which was called “Selma”. Selma received national attention and even won an Oscar at the Academy Awards show to bring awareness to this pivotal moment that occurred during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s . Yesterday, major news & media outlets had various coverage on this day as thousands of people gathered around the Edmund Pettus Bridge (Named after a former Confederate & KKK member by the way) to see President Barack Obama & other individuals speak on this historical day. All the notable “Who’s Who” of political activists/personalities were out to show their face, a hundred members of congress & even former president George W. Bush came out to show support. President Obama naturally gave a very memorable speech, and one of his most telling quotes was referring to current condition of white supremacy (Racism) in America today.
“We just need to open our eyes, and ears, and hearts, to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us. We know the march is not yet over, the race is not yet won, and that reaching that blessed destination were e are judged by the content of our character, requires admitting as much.”
What makes this quote interesting isn’t just the eloquent way the president communicated how racism still exists; but it also shows the hypocrisy of intentions from popular politicians to gain a certain type of catharsis from the mass people that he or she is reaching out to. Case in point is back in 2004, when Obama introduced himself to the masses at the Democratic National Convention he said something that is in stark contrast to what he said just yesterday about the so called “Equality” in America.
“Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our Nation — not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy. Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” –Barack Obama
The truth of the matter is, Barack Obama means much more to the majority of American people of African descent than every other group of people. Obama is a modern day icon for black America, he was a sign of hope that things in America would be different, popular slogans during his initial campaign were phrases like “Yes We Can” & “Change We Can believe in.” Black people ate it all up, coming in droves to support the potential “First Black President of the United States.” After Obama won the 2008 presidential election black people rejoiced & celebrated with the idea that this was the beginning of a new era (A POST-RACIAL society) in America for the original African Diaspora. Fast Forward to today 11 years after Barack Obama was introduced to America, 50 years since Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. What “Progress” have the people of African Descent made in America? What “Change” has the Obama administration implemented in society for the benefit of SOLELY black people? The unfortunate truth to that answer is not much if any at all. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that Obama has done more for the interests of the “LGBT Movement” & “Latino Victory Project” than black people. Statistically speaking African American people as a group are actually doing worse right now in America under Obama’s term as president than when George W. Bush was in office. One simplistic way of evaluating the current condition of African Americans is to look at two fundamental categories that are critical in the prosperity (or lack thereof) of that group people. These two categories are Education & Jobs. With the help from Monique Morris’s book “Black Stats” here is where black people stand in America 50 years after Selma (see below).
In order to put things into proper context it’s important to compare these statistics to that of the dominant population (White People) for historical & numerical purposes.
- 42% of Black children are educated in all high-poverty schools (Low Performing) compared to 6% of white children.
- Black people make up 7% of the total teaching force in U.S. public schools. (4% for Private Schools)
These two facts are critical to the current condition of young black youth in America. The lack of diversity in our educational institutions has been a detriment to young black children put in classrooms with majority white teachers. It is believed by some people that for cultural, historical, & racial differences; having a white (majority female) teacher in a classroom with mostly black children may not be conducive to a positive learning environment for the black child (Or any non-white student). However all across the U.S. non-white students make up the majority of public schools with majority white teachers educating them. This leads us to the next set of troubling trends for black children. Black children only make up 16% of the total student population in public schools, but yet black youth account for-
- 35% of in-school suspensions & out of school suspensions.
- 39% of students who are expelled.
- 22% of all students receiving special education.
- 35% of Juvenile Arrests (School Related)
In many cases when a teacher has difficulty knowing how to communicate & manage a child of African descent it is very common for them to be removed from the classroom. Often times this results in the schools misdiagnosing young black children with “Learning Disabilities” most commonly ADHD, and could potentially lead to that child taking unnecessary medication. Or being isolated into special education groups when there was nothing wrong with their learning abilities. Not surprisingly, the rate of Juvenile arrests in schools for black youth is nearly identical to the percent of black people incarcerated in this country (38%). Naturally, if black people are disproportionately being miss-educated & incarcerated it safe to assume that getting employment can also be difficult, which leads to our next category for Evaluation.
This graph was taken directly from the book “Black Stats” by Monique Harris showing the unemployment rate for black people during George Bush’s last two years in office & the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidential term.
As you can see, Once Obama was elected unemployment rates all across the board have increased; however the biggest increase has been black people. The unemployment rate is also a direct reflection on the millions of black people who (28% to be exact) that are at or below the poverty line in America, with 39% of black children living in poverty. These type of economic conditions are a combination of a lack of jobs, low paying jobs that are available, & a lack of businesses in the black community. Which is one of the biggest issues with this idea of a “Post-Racial America” that the media has been pushing ever since Obama was elected into office. Out of all the information that has been said these two facts may be the most damning of all.
- The buying power of African Americans is over $1 TRILLION
- Black owned businesses make up only 7% of the total number of firms in the entire country.
That amount of buying power is enough to purchase a small country, but unfortunately because there is not a sufficient amount of black owned business all the money that black people make are given right back to other businesses owned by people who more than likely do not have their best interests in mind. Case in point the current state of Black America today, why is that black people are outnumbered by both Hispanic & White people in total population in America but outnumber every ethnic group things like prison incarceration & unemployment rates? Why is there such a huge disparity in school discipline for young black youth compared to other kids? More importantly, why aren’t these problems being voiced by the major media outlets? Does America even view this as an issue? In 2006 there were only 18 Black owned & operated commercial TV stations. Today there are none, absolutely zero. Less than 1 percent of what we hear & see in the television, newspapers, & radio today in America is owned by black people. Despite Barack Obama’s unlikely rise to being the President of America; it seems that every other group of people seem to be progressing in this country except Black people. Furthermore, given the fact that black people have no media presence of their own to voice their own issues it may get to a point where black people as a whole start to regress in this country if it hasn’t happened already. In conclusion here is a clip of Dr. Umar Johnson explaining the importance & power of the media to the masses.