How has President Obama done for his core constituency? How have African-Americans fared in the Obama recovery?
Writing in the New York Times, Patricia Cohen has grim news:
Among recent [college] graduates ages 22 to 27, the jobless rate for blacks last year was 12.4 percent versus 4.9 percent for whites, said John Schmitt, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Strangely, the employment gap was far smaller in 2007, in the Bush years:
While there has always been a gap between black and white college grads, this 7.5 percentage point difference was far greater than before the recession burned through the economy. In 2007, for example, there was only a 1.4 percentage point difference, with 4.6 percent of recent black graduates out of work compared with 3.2 percent of similarly educated whites.
“This is very different from the past,” said Mr. Schmitt, a co-author of a study of employment among recent graduates published by the center. “You’d have to go back to the early 1980s recession to see that pattern.”
Historically, the periods during and immediately after downturns have been harder on blacks than on whites. But in this current cycle, the trend has been even more extreme.
If this has been caused, as Cohen suggests, by persistent racial discrimination, why is there so much more prejudice now? Why was there less prejudice during the Bush years?
Also, when you dig into the statistics and look at the black college grads who are employed, you discover that many of them have jobs that do not require a college degree:
So with his part-time low-wage job at Barnes & Noble, Mr. Zonicle can now count himself among the 56 percent of recent black college graduates who are considered to be “underemployed” or working in jobs that don’t require a degree. That figure was up from about 45 percent before the recession, according to the report by the economic and policy research center.
Even degrees in science, technology, engineering and math — so-called STEM fields where the demand is high — have not immunized recent black graduates against job search difficulty. From 2010 to 2012, the average unemployment rate among young black engineers was 10 percent, the center reported, while the underemployment rate was 32 percent.
Of course, we do not know anything about these students’ records.
Still, it seems strange that blacks should be suffering the most economically during the age of Obama. If you want to blame it on racism, you will need to explain why the gap was smaller during the Bush administration.
Wherever the truth lies, the Obama administration has mobilized to shift the blame? You don't think it's going to take responsibility for its own recovery, do you?
By now it is impossible to blame it on George W. Bush, so the administration has found another way to evade responsibility.
In the new narrative, the problem lies in the injustices that white police officers have been inflicting on American blacks.