Saturday, September 19, 2009

Black Males Expected to Make Bricks Without Straw

By: Min. Angela Lee Price
When it comes to black males in this economy, I am reminded of what Pharoah told the Israelites, make bricks without straw (Ex. 5:6-7). In many cases, black men have the desire to provide for their families and children, but not the means. They are expected to provide without provisions, the jobs necessary to make ends meet.

We are experiencing the full affect of this economic recession right now. The current national unemployment rate is at 9.7%. Kentucky's unemployment rate is at 11.1%, the highest its been since they started keeping track 33 years ago according to yesterday's Courier Journal Newspaper. What this particular article does not show is that overall unemployment in west Louisville, the area with the largest African American population in the state. West Louisville black unemployment rate is 13.4%. And black male unemployment in west Louisville is 17.5%, five times higher than east end employment based on census data. Yet, Pharoah is out there declaring, "Lazy, that's what you are-lazy....Now get to work" (Ex. 5:17-18). Sure, there is enough blame to go around, but the fact is, the statistics speak for themselves. We as a Christian community need to step up and help out. But how?

As scary as those statistics are, the unemployment rate for black males in many urban cities is double that of their white counterparts. Buffalo, Milwaukee, Detroit, St. Louis, and Chicago have all seen black male unemployment higher than 50% in recent years by some accounts. By all accounts, black males are hardest hit by this recession. They are "the least of these." In fact, it has been mentioned in several studies, including the Chicago Reporter article, Double Trouble that an unemployed white male with a criminal record stands a better chance of gaining employment than a black male without a criminal record.

Help us put a face to this group of "the least of these" by providing feedback to the staggering statistic of black male unemployment. What can the church, particularly the black church do to help?

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