The Afro-Netizen has some solid articles up that I want to comment on.

1) Somalia — Black people’s eyebrows tend to rise a little whenever there’s any serious U.S. government interest in Africa since the usual mode is blithe ignorance and dismissal. For example, Darfur. So I got an “aha” when I read this article and saw that the Horn of Africa is oil-rich. No wonder the Bush regime is so interested. And I thought they wanted to do something about Al-Qaeda finally. Silly me. The Bush strategy for dealing with a Democratic Congress would appear to be do whatever we want before we get caught/stopped such as beginning the Iraqi troop escalation before Congress can say no.

2) James Brown helped to popularize the term “Black” as a self-description now used throughout American society — almost single-handedly. It was an example of the power of black radio. Today, one of the wealthiest and most powerful black women in America, billionaire Cathy Hughes, built her empire in black radio and has since launched a compelling, less embarrassing competitor to BET — TVOne. How much money and power is there in black radio? Ask Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, Tavis Smiley and all the politicians and corporations supporting their programs. Props to the Black Agenda Report for this analysis.

3) The Oprah Effect. It would be easy to look at the success of Oprah, Magic Johnson, Kenneth Chenault and say, wow black people are doing alright. There’s no need for programs to level the playing field like affirmative action. African-Americans wield more economic and political power than ever before. But we still have an uphill climb.

Economic inequality correlated so closely with race that:

• African-Americans were twice as likely to be unemployed as whites.
• To attain equal employment in the United States between blacks and white, 700,000 more
• African-Americans would have had to be moved out of unemployment and nearly two million
African-Americans would have to be promoted into higher paying positions.
• The poverty rate for blacks was more than twice the rate for whites.
• Nearly one out of every two blacks earned less than $25,000 but one in three whites made that little.
• Median black household income ($27,000) was less than two thirds of median white household income ($42,000).
• Black families’ median household net worth was less than 10 percent that of whites. The average white household has a net worth of $84,000 but the average black household is worth only $7,500.
• Blacks were much less likely to own their own homes than whites.
Nearly three-fourths of white families but less than half of black families owned their homes.

We must achieve solid economic power if we are to exert real political power. Discussions of affirmative action that howl about making sure that the economically disadvantaged be taken into account rarely talk about the strong correlation between race and economic disadvantage. And the fact that racial discrimation is one of the root causes of poverty (at least if you believe these stats). Hmm…why is that?

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