December 11th, 2009
05:01 PM ET
7 months ago

Black Caucus sends strong economic message to Obama

Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver wrote Obama to plead for help for minorities..
Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver wrote Obama to plead for help for minorities..

Washington (CNN) – Members of the Congressional Black Caucus called on President Obama Friday to address the skyrocketing unemployment rate facing minorities - especially African-Americans and Latinos - and greater economic conditions plaguing low-income communities.

"Our job is to make sure the legislation that gets to the president's desk responds to the degradation and the crisis in our community," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, at a Friday news conference. "Our community is bleeding. And we are the worst hit."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in November 2009 for blacks is at 15.6 percent - and 12.7 percent for Hispanics. In comparison, the rate for whites is 9.3 percent.

The latest job numbers show that a drop in the U.S. unemployment rate dropped from 10.2 percent to 10 percent in November.

"Our Nation has suffered substantial unemployment and underemployment over a prolonged period, which has imposed significant economic and social costs, particularly in communities of color," the December 9 letter, from Chairwoman Barbara Lee and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver to Obama, stated. "We appreciate your attention to these prescriptive measures and look forward to working with you."

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soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Brian

    What does the white caucus think about this? Oh, that's right, there is no such thing because that would be discrimination.

    December 11, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  2. Nancy

    Why can't you people understand that employers don't want to hire because they want the President to fail and some of the people who can work don't because they are taking the high road to stay at home and get the pay check.

    December 11, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  3. Lee

    Most rich people are not evil, some are just greedy!

    December 11, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  4. Bren

    If Obama starts using the "race" card to fill jobs...........

    It is then time to begin filing "DISCRIMINATION" lawsuits if you are white!!!

    Speaking of whites being discriminated against (did I miss the CNN story about this??)--–the white firemen from Connecticut won their lawsuit-–they now get their earned/deserved jobs!!!

    And, they will now get ALL of their back pay as well.

    December 11, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  5. dee

    You guys kill me with why can't we have a white caucus. Well guess what.The government is your caucus.For too long we've excluded from your establishment and been blamed for it. In reality your greed and sense of intitlement got us all in this mess. Welcome to the bottom.

    December 11, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. Bev

    Just wait until the beginning of 2010--When Obama, Pelosi, and Reid try to push for amnesty for 20 million illegals--who will then also be able to bring in 20 million more of their family members through chain migration.

    I just do not see the MAJORITY in the country--including the moderate Dems-–being real happy about this. And, ALL polls are making this perfectly clear--but Obama, Reid, and Pelosi will do it anyways!!!

    As a matter of fact........With millions of US citizens without jobs-–when they begin to push for amnesty for millions of illegals--the doo doo is going to hit the fan in our country!!!!

    December 11, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  7. Kat

    Stop with all the freebies and handouts and I believe we would see people (all colors) go to work. Funny what a little hunger would do. Where else but the USA do we see so many obese people living in poverty? Wake up people, there are jobs out there, maybe what you're used to doing or making $$$, but a little income is better than none. I have always believed that instead of the government handing out welfare to people who do not, or will not work, let them help the underemployed. Makes sense to me.

    December 11, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  8. Obama-Mama

    He sees and knows the job crises....I guess everyone is waiting for him to pull out a magic wand and fix it.....

    December 11, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  9. Obama-Mama

    Gale December 11th, 2009 5:45 pm ET

    Why can Afro-American people have a Black Caucus, if there was a White Caucus, we would be called racists?
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    There is a white caucus. I will give you a hint. K

    December 11, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  10. m smith

    racism is alive and well in this country Look at some of the comments from the christian wing nuts.

    December 11, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  11. Steve (the real one)

    Dear Congressional Black Caucus. Just in case you need a friendly reminder.. HE IS THE PRESIDENT OF ALL OF US!

    December 11, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  12. jules sand-perkins

    Please define "Getto," used in a comment as an adjective.
    Is a Getto a small token for a pay phone in Italy–a small gettone? Is Getto related to ghetto? To a ghetto, or a description of a person as being "very ghetto?"
    Is "Getto" just another indication of the importance of education in getting a job?

    Whose responsibility is it to become educated?

    December 11, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    Maybe minorities should actually make an effort to contribute instead of the 2-year-old "gimme, gimme, gimme!" attitude.

    December 11, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  14. Steve (the real one)

    Some of the problems of LOW employment in African American communities is the fact that MOST, if not ALL, of the business are run by Asians, Arabs, Chinese, etc. They WILL NOT hire African Americans
    --------------------------
    Cop out! I know many black owned businesses that don't want to hire many blacks. I know that is a blanket statement be in my realm, true! Nobody is making us drop out of school or father multiple children with multiple "conquests". We are doing these things to ourselves. We booed Bill Cosby for saying as much! Now the CBC is basically saying we cannot do much on our own! and we need "special attention". Personally, i'm sick of it!

    December 11, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. Jeff

    I think the black caucus does serve its purpose because of the fact I am a educated black man who has been trying to get capital to start a business in my neighberhood but continuously run in to redlining which is still being done today yet chinese, arabs ect never seem to have a problem setting up shop for the reason we all know so therefore go CAUCUS DO YOUR THING

    December 11, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  16. Ken

    The more these nuts in DC spend money we do not have, and attack American business, the more employment opportunities for EVERYONE will disapear. There is nothing new happening here, and the poor end results are known.

    December 11, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  17. Steve (the real one)

    @Mesa December 11th, 2009 5:35 pm ET
    I agree with you that we have examples of many who achieved but since Condi Rice and Clarence Thomas have conservative values most in my community disregard them! I cannot tell you how many times I have heard them being called "sell out" or worst! Foul mouthed rapped, on the other hand are valued! Yes, I said it!

    December 11, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  18. Niles

    Angry blacks have to do what I observe successful blacks doing.
    EDUCATE their children in the proper fashion starting young on what
    it takes to succeed in America. Hard work and cohesive family values
    and INDIVIDUAL responsibility lead to success as a whole.

    These principles are not exclusive to blacks, but to every culture in order
    to succeed.

    In the "every man for himself" economy today, no one will survive without
    these principles, not just blacks.

    December 11, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  19. GJ

    @Gale: There is a Congressional White Caucus, it is called the United States Senate.

    December 11, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  20. JON

    I'm a DEM but lets get real. The drop put rate is equal to kids in gangs and parents not taking a active role in their kids life. If you have a work force that's avg. ed. level is the 10th grade what kind of jobs are available in a slacking manufacturing environment .....zero. What do you want the President to do walk the kids to school , make sure they do their homework . It's time for the BLACK CAUCUS to start doing their job and stop playing the victim

    December 11, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  21. Chip

    Do you really think Obama and the rest of the government give a crud about the American worker? They don't care if your white, Black, Yellow or Green. They want to control every aspect of your life. Making you totally dependent on the government is how they plan to do it. Wake up America. You need to vote all these people out before it's too late.

    December 11, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  22. Independent in NC

    I agree that education is a huge part of the issue. The thing is, education goes beyond the classroom. It's not just offering the courses, it having families who support each other in completing the programs, attending classes, doing the work, and making that a priority. Not being lazy about it, doing it halfway, or carrying a chip around that no one understands your plight. The parents need to stress the importance and support the teachers in educating the youth, not arguing with them.

    Additionally, if you want more jobs, you need to clean up the areas so that businesses will want to come in and create jobs. Would you want to open a business in an area surrounded by dilapidated housing, garbage in the streets, and drug dealers? The government can provide some funding, but ultimately it is on the people who live in neighborhoods to work to create a community that businesses want to be a part of. No one wants to set up shop in an area where they're going to get robbed every other week.

    December 11, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  23. Erika PW

    Just the comments posted on this article alone is proof enough that racist ignorance still exists in the country....you don't have to be the typical Confederate flag totting, beer guzzling, far-right jack*** to be racist....

    First off, the CBC was created to address the issues within minority communities such as the Black community because issues like unemployment do affect us differently. Does that mean that we're the only ones being hit? Absolutely not, and anyone can tell you that. However, there are societal issues which lead to greater levels of unemployment in predominantly minority communities. The purpose of the CBC is to create ways through policy in which to leverage our communities and create the same type of employment opportunities and community growth as you would see in a predominantly white community (recession aside).

    If you do NOT understand this, it's probably because you have no experience or knowledge of what's going on in our communities whatsoever. You see race mentioned and the first thing out of your mouths are "get over it, minorities! We're all hit hard...it's your fault there's crime and poverty in your communities...etc." Why is it that the ones with the least amount of knowledge always have the most nonsensical garbage to say?

    Learn what the real story is about before you go spouting off nonsense....

    December 11, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  24. RT

    The president has previously stated that he is trying to institue programs that positively effect all Americans. He is aware that by doing so, those that are disproportianetly affected may receive more help as a byproduct. He has no agenda to somehow provide more for for African Americans for no apparent reason. He will do the right thing for all Americans.
    All congressmen and senators try to bring about policies that will positively influence their constituents. That is nothing new. The CBC has done many great things to make sure African American interests are expressed because historically they have been ignored. A white caucus is unnecessary because historically, the interest of white american males have always been put first in this country.

    December 11, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  25. annie against biased news

    They voted for obama because of the color of his skin forgetting that he was not qualified and had no experience now they have to suffer with the rest of us.

    December 11, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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