Is There Any Such Thing As A “Black Issue”?!?

by Guest Contributor Average Bro, originally published at Average Bro

During the campaign season, lots of folks were critical of candidate Obama for not speaking out more vocally about issues that pertain to the African American community. Many saw his race-neutral style as one that largely skirted his ethnicity, and focused perhaps too much on catering to “mainstream America”. In the end, all this panned out. Obama pulled 95% of the black vote, which sounds ultra-impressive, but is more or less in line with what most Democrats running for President have received.

Anyways, Barry is in office now, and going about the bid’ness of saving the world, yet many are still holding his feet to the flame on these “black issues” and exactly what he’s going to do about them.

President Barack Obama should specifically address disparities in black unemployment, foreclosures, education and health care, the National Urban League says in its annual “State of Black America” report.

Despite the progress represented by the election of the first black U.S. president, blacks are twice as likely to be unemployed, three times as likely to live in poverty and more than six times as likely to be incarcerated, says the report, which was being released Wednesday by the civil rights organization.

Obama has said that the way for government to help minorities is by improving things like education, employment and health care for all Americans.

But “we have to be more specific,” said Marc Morial, president and CEO of the 99-year-old Urban League.

“The issue is not only (blacks) doing better, but in closing these persistent gaps in statistics in this country,” Morial told The Associated Press. “Our index shows that the gap in African-American status is about 71 percent that of white Americans. We will not rest until that number is at 100, and there is no gap.”

I suppose I get Morial’s point here. A black President should be more compassionate about Black folks than perhaps, well, a white guy, which is what every President prior to Obama was. As head of the Urban League, an organization that actually does grassroots level community work (unlike, say, the NAACP, whose mission I’m not really sure of), Morial also has the clout to pull such a card.

On the flipside, is there really any such thing as a “black issue”? Aren’t “black issues”, just plain ole “American issues”, albeit on steroids? Seriously, is there anything that genuinely qualifies as a uniquely “black issue”?

The achievement gap exists between black and white students, true. But it also exists between White and Asian students. Perhaps most alarmingly, the achievement gap persists amongst girls and boys of all races and ethnicities.

Unemployment always hits the black community hard, but when it’s raining on the whole country, the fact that your shirt’s been soaked a few minutes longer isn’t gonna win you much extra sympathy.

Crime is universal. Folks get offed errywhere. Sure, it happens a bit more frequently in places with high concentrations of poverty, but murders are hardly an exclusively black province. I don’t need to tell you about drugs.

A lot of black folks took a bath via predatory loans that lead to the collapse of the housing market, but only 6% of such risky loans were given to minorities as a whole. A sh*tload of white folks are in shelters right now too.

Many diseases hit blacks at staggering rates, but few of them are exclusively “black” problems. Hypertension is an American problem. As much as I hate the vocoder and the way it’s destroyed black music, it too, is an American problem.

So, with all that said, what exactly is a “Black Problem”?

Question: Is there such a thing as a “uniquely black issue” or are Black America’s issues just America’s issues, times 20?

Urban League asks Obama to address black issues [AP]