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The rise of the African American Permanent Underclass PT1

Young Woman Thinking --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Young Woman Thinking — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

I believe a African-American permanent underclass is here.

Who are the underclass? According to Richard Florida’s article “The 66%: America’s Growing Underclass” 66% of Americans are in the underclass. Richard Florida quotes Richard Longfellow who says,

“Leave Manhattan and the Loop, head east from Seattle or north from the Bos-wash Corridor, hit the interstates through the Midwest and the South, plunge into the empty and echoing hearts of Detroit or Cleveland or the arid reaches of the Great Plains, and another America emerges. …

This is the land of double-wides and dollar stores, of closed mills and mines, of bankrupt towns, of casinos paying minimum wage to laid-off auto workers, of once-vibrant cities — from Newton in Iowa to Rockford in Illinois, to Terre Haute and Muncie in Indiana to Mansfield and Lima in Ohio, and onto Syracuse and Buffalo in New York — all created to serve industries or corporations that have gone away…

This includes inner-city blacks stranded in their ghettoes, a million Hispanic immigrants scrambling for a toehold, and many of the city’s whites, high school grads or even college grads tending bars or stocking shelves at Target. Not that they’re unemployed: many of these people have jobs, sometimes two or three jobs. They used to be middle class. If they owned a home, it’s foreclosed now. Their kids won’t go to college.”

That sounds like millions of Americans many of us know. However, my focus is on the African-American underclass. Did you know 27% of African-Americans live in poverty? The causes for poverty include racism, sexism, taking care of other relatives, lack of education, generational poverty and personal choices.

Have you noticed that many of the programs and social safety nets that have disproportionately affected African-Americans are being eliminated? Why? In order to compete with third world countries that offer cheap labor, we need a cheap and unskilled workforce. The growing underclass fills that void.

Because of rising costs and a reduction in tax base (a loss in property tax revenue due to high unemployment, reduced homeownership and migration out of cities) city, state and federal agencies are finding it much more financially viable to simply eliminate these programs that help poor people. Earlier this year President Obama signed a bill that cut food stamps. “On Friday, President Obama added his signature to legislation that will cut $8.7 billion in food stamp benefits over the next 10 years, causing 850,000 households to lose an average of $90 per month. The signing of the legislation known as the 2014 Farm Bill occurred at a public event in East Lansing, Mich.” President Obama signs $8.7 billion food stamp cut into law

Why are they targeting the underclass? First of all they don’t vote.  Secondly they are poor. Take a look at the net worth of the average Black family. You can march, scream and yell but you are nothing without political and economic power.

2013 Poverty Rate by Race/Ethnicity

Location White Black Hispanic Other Total
United States 10% 27% 24% 14% 15%

Source: The Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation

“In 2013, the net worth of the typical white family was nearly 13 times that of the typical black family, and 10 times that of the typical Latino one. Both gaps have widened since the recession ended more than five years ago according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.” The Wealth Gap Between Whites And Minorities Is Growing.

Even wealthy African-Americans are leaving poor African-Americans behind.

“Low-income blacks also slipped further behind. The share of black households ranking among the poorest poor – those earning less than $15,000 – climbed from 20 percent to 26 percent over the past decade; other race and ethnic groups posted smaller increases. At the same time, African-Americans making $200,000 or more a year were unchanged from 2000 at about 1.1 percent, even after a deep recession. Many affluent blacks are moving to the South, seeking a return to their ancestral homeland after a decades-long Great Migration to the North.” Census: As Affluent Blacks Leave Cities, Poor Slip Farther

November 2014 Unemployment status of the civilian population by race (numbers in the thousands)

Data White Black Asian
Unemployed

5,713

2,017

416

Unemployment rate

4.6

10.6

4.8

Not in labor force

72,558

11,968

5,178

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table A-2. Employment status of the civilian population by race, sex, and age Not Seasonally Adjusted

Many of my friends are pointing to 2041. Why 2041? That is when this country will be majority minority. People naïvely believe that because of the shifting demographics there will also be a shift in power. In fact, I believe the opposite. Power and resources (food production, water and jobs) are still controlled by a few and I believe their grip will be even tighter. An example of this is Ferguson, MO. You would think with 67% of the vote the Black vote African-Americans would run the city but take a look at who controls their local government.

 

Ferguson, MO city council.

Ferguson, MO city council.

So what is the point of this post? You are on your own. The government won’t help you. Wealthy African-Americans won’t help you. You and only you can solve it before it is too late. As long as wealth building, proper life planning, intelligent career choices, voting power and entrepreneurship aren’t priorities I predict even with the population projections, Ferguson is the future of America. This is my view. Feel free to disagree or even add to the post.

Look for tomorrow’s post  “How to avoid becoming a member of the Black underclass by looking at trends.”

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Thank you for reading,

Kisha aka Bougie Black Girl

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11 comments

  1. Steve Heard 15 December, 2014 at 17:00 Reply

    Excellent post! Excuses about lack of opportunity and the cards stacked against us aside, and both are true, there is no one coming to rescue us. It’s not ‘sink or wait for a rescue boat’, it’s ‘sink or swim’.

  2. L, Higgin 15 December, 2014 at 21:04 Reply

    Hello Bougie, Outstanding and truthful post. If you go to “The AutomaticEarth” under Debt Rattle December 2014, under the byline “American are 40% Poorer than before the Recession” African American households fell by 43% to 11,000 dollars. Your post and Khadija Nassif commentary over the years has spoken of what will happen to many Black American who felt to provide for their future. The government has cut financial aid, food stamps, and will reduce other social programs. The Black underclass is here to stay, and if you choose to bury your head in the sand. Oh well!

  3. @manifique 16 December, 2014 at 14:15 Reply

    ” As long as wealth building, proper life planning, intelligent career choices, voting power and entrepreneurship aren’t priorities I predict even with the population projections, Ferguson is the future of America.”

    YES. You hit the nail on the head. thank you for writing this and I look forward to the next post.

  4. Eva 16 December, 2014 at 14:36 Reply

    Great post. However I have to disagree with one thing. Wealthy blacks are NOT leaving NYC, no way, in fact they’re coming to live here, if they can afford it.

  5. JamaicanWomanAMK 16 December, 2014 at 18:01 Reply

    ”As long as wealth building, proper life planning, intelligent career choices, voting power and entrepreneurship aren’t priorities I predict even with the population projections, Ferguson is the future of America.”

    So true. Sad to say but most African Americans aren’t looking out for their own interests at heart and focus on entertainment as a way to not worry about what is truly going on in their communities. In fact, I believe this article is the truth because I have been reading Muslim Bushido for a while now. Everything Khadijah Nassif and you are writing is true.

  6. Yolanda 11 February, 2015 at 16:53 Reply

    Blacks have always been the permanent underclass, that’s how the system was set up. And yes, too many of us don’t vote. But for those that do, if we aren’t voting for people who have our best interests at heart, how much power do we have in the voting boith? We monolithically vote Democrat. Well, what have tge Dems done for us to deserve our vote? Absolutely nothing. Ignorance is inbred, bad life choices are perpetual. Bad parents who aspire to nothing can’t raise their kids to be any better. And Blacks don’t have generational wealth. Peiple die and leave nothing for their families. How many Blacks do you know who own the means to provide for their families? My husband is a long time business owner, he comes from a family where each generation owns their own business, we raise our children with the mindset that we make our own way in this world. We have this idea that education is the end all to be all & it’s not. Going to college & getting a job is not going to give us wealth or the keys to the American dream. As long as we depend on others, we will always be the underclass.

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