Forgive me for being a bit crass but I find President Obama’s and some of our more illustrious PA politicians’ sudden interest in the death of a young black man named Trayvon Martin highly suspect, totally hypocritical and without serious merit.
From President Obama’s bizarre and inappropriate post-Zimmerman verdict press conference to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter calling Martin’s death an "assassination" – to the protests from Pittsburgh to Philly, all of these people are claiming to want not just justice for Trayvon. None of these politicians have done anything to improve the economic status of black men in America. Let’s get real. In Barack Obama’s America black men have economically and socially fared worse than any other demographic group.
First, let’s address the issue of crime. Much has been made of the statistic of black on black violence, which stands at 94% percent. But here’s the really startling statistic everyone is overlooking: according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics – anywhere from 8,000 – 9,000 black males are murdered every year in America. In Philadelphia – our state’s murder capital – approximately 325 murders a year. Which means since Mayor Nutter took over in 2007 there have been about 2,000 murders mainly of African-American males by African-American males. And since Obama became President in 2008 – anywhere from 40,000 to 45,000 black men have been murdered.
Have we seen any serious action from Nutter or Obama on fixing that problem? No, we have not.
Second, let’s talk about why some of this violence might be happening: the failure of the current progressive education model.
When the labor department released job numbers this June the nation’s unemployment rate remained at just below eight percent. But for African Americans it actually increased and is now at 13.7 percent. That is nearly double the national average for all individuals.
Let’s get specific about the African-American men that Mayor Nutter and President Obama and others suddenly are so concerned about. Half of all African-American men without a high school diploma are unemployed. And the high school drop-out rates of African-American boys – particularly in cities like Philadelphia? They are some of the highest in the nation. Here’s why: 86 percent of African-American fourth grade boys score below proficiency levels in reading. I wonder if Mayor Nutter and President Obama are aware that we build jail cells in this country based on reading proficiency scores in the fourth grade? Of course they are. These are not dumb men – just hypocritical ones.
Despite these numbers, President Obama keeps these children trapped in substandard schools by refusing to adopt school choice and instead insisting on maintaining the federal government’s failed stranglehold on education. This is simply morally unjust. Our own Republican- controlled general assembly – which should be at the forefront of educational freedom – didn’t even get school choice passed. This is a loss for every child living in Pennsylvania, regardless of race.
Third, when Barack Obama and other pro-big government leaders in Pennsylvania insist on growing bureaucracy and leading us down a path of more debt and spending – the consequences become very real for people at the bottom of the economic scale. As Pennsylvania’s pension bomb continues to tick away it is the working poor – many of them African-Americans, and particularly men – that so many black leaders claim to care about that will be hurt the most. But whom do these so-called leaders stand up for in the pension fight? Big Labor. Such breathtaking hypocrisy!
Also, as the President and Mayor Nutter chest beat about "justice" for Trayvon. Perhaps they would like to think back to 2008. Remember the famous video of the Black Panthers patrolling a West Philadelphia polling places with Billy clubs? Most of those going to vote in that district were African-Americans. But despite the obvious intimidation at that poll and the video evidence to back it up – neither Michael Nutter nor Barack Obama did anything about it.
And of course, in the most stunning case of hypocrisy from this President Barack Obama has yet to shed a tear on the reports that a white 13-month-old girl was shot in the face and killed by two black teens in Georgia. So blinded by race is this President that he could see himself as Trayvon 35 years ago, but as the father of two daughters – he could not show a moment of empathy or shed a tear for the parents who witnessed the violent death of their little girl?
(Jennifer Stefano is Pennsylvania state director of Americans for Prosperity and a commentator on Lincoln Radio Journal. Follow Jennifer on twitter @stefanospeaks or at www.jenniferstefano.com.)
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