Thursday, October 07, 2010

Mr. President: Recession hitting us folk hard

The recession is crushing African American communities in major urban centers like Detroit and Memphis. Since the collapse of the auto industry and housing market, Detroit’s population has dropped to under a million from 1.8 million.

Today it is possible to buy a three-bedroom home in Detroit for around $10,000, however there are no buyers. Given this predicament, Mayor Dave Bing, a former NBA star, has suggested reducing the size of the metropolitan area in hopes of reducing the city’s expenses.

Bing’s proposal would require the city to demolish nearly 40,000 homes over the next several years. Poverty rates in Detroit are far above the national average. Some have asserted that such draconian approaches border on being a form of "ethnic cleansing." The fact is that almost a third of the city's 139 square miles is uninhabited.

Foreclosure procedures have been initiated against 1.7 million of the nation’s households, with the average borrower in foreclosure being delinquent for more than 400 days before actually being evicted. More than 650,000 households had not made a mortgage payment in 18 months.

In cities such as Memphis, the recession is having a similar effect due to rising unemployment and growing foreclosures. The median income of black homeowners in Memphis has dropped to pre-1990 levels. The unemployment rates for African Americans in the city is approaching 20 percent when it was below 10 percent just two years ago.

The recession is creating an ever-widening economic gap between whites and African Americans across the nation. Several studies have documented this disheartening trend.

The Economic Policy Institute notes that as of December 2009, median white and African American wealth fell 34 percent and 77 percent, respectively. A study conducted by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University concluded that for each dollar of wealth owned by a white family, a black family owns just 16 cents, based on Federal Reserve numbers.

The recession is real and it may take several years before any progress or improvement is noticed or felt at the community level. So for the time being, African American families will have to deal with rising unemployment and foreclosure rates and manage to survive the best way they can.


Casual leave letter said...

All this happened due to crash of WHO towers. We can't blame any one for this..Hope Obama will do something in his 5 years

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