Saturday, February 13, 2010

Black Unemployment as Non-news

Check out Joel Dreyfuss writing about issues regarding black unemployment appearing off the radar or as less-than-important news items.
It’s interesting how some numbers don’t make the news. Friday’s announcement that unemployment in the U.S. had dropped to 9.5 percent was welcome, even if the gains turn out fragile or illusory. Most of the early news stories left out an even bigger number: black unemployment at 16.5 percent, black male unemployment a whopping 17.6 percent. Since the rules of journalism require that the most important information come first, the overall national figures deserve first billing. In a lot of newsrooms, the crisis of joblessness among black Americans is no longer news. It drops to the bottom, or, when time and space run out, out of the story completely.
Dreyfuss goes further and notes that
the willingness to focus on the most blighted segment of America is directly proportional to how much Americans really believe that black Americans are somehow to blame for their own high unemployment. After all, in the new “post-racial” era nary a word is heard about affirmative action or reparations. We’re back to an ahistorical narrative of America; everyone has bootstraps; it’s up to you to pull yourself up. Government plays no role, or at best a minimal one.
Of course, Dreyfuss is being sarcastic, highlighting the increasing challenges black people continue to face.

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