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The Liberal Media’s Fixation on Race

No matter if it’s the New York Times, CBS, or MSNBC, the mainstream media seems to expect us to share their liberal fetish with “race.”

The latest example of this was an exchange between CNN Newsroom anchor Tony Harris and Don Peck, a writer for the Atlantic magazine. Harris stated: “I wonder what the discussion about jobs in this country would be like if the rate of white unemployment in this country was, say 15, 16 percent, as it is for African-Americans.”

Harris’ biased comments were inserted into what might have otherwise been a useful discussion about unemployment and its causes. As a result, things went exactly nowhere.

All available data show that blacks have been particularly hard-hit by the recession — so it wouldn’t have been out of line for Harris to inquire about this or to ask what might lie behind the numbers.

But that’s not where this CNN anchor was interested in taking the conversation. He implies that if the rate of unemployment was higher among whites there would be a different response, a heightened concern. In other words, his view seems to be that the nation doesn’t care about black people.

But this view is based on exactly what? Well, nothing … other than the all-too-pervasive view that black people, always and everywhere, are … victims.

Henry Louis Gates’ popular black-themed website The Root recently posted an article about the recession and job loss. Its title: “The jobs are coming back — but are they black?”

Okay, help me out here. What’s a “black job”?

Late last year, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) met and demanded that Obama directly address black joblessness.

The CBC’s ultra-leftist chairwoman, Barbara Lee, who can always be counted on for some inane comment, said: “The Congressional Black Caucus recognizes that behind virtually every economic indicator you will find gross racial disparities.” Oh really? Behind every economic indicator?

With this slant in mind, it’s clear that Tony Harris, from behind a desk at CNN, is simply parroting the same arguments as the victim lobbyists at the Congressional Black Caucus.

What do they want the president to do? In a letter to Obama, the CBC said they want 10 percent of all job programs earmarked for “low-income communities.”

Okay, let me do a bit of interpreting for you. In CBC-speak, that means they want jobs set aside for black workers — in other words, racial preferences.

Later this month, television talk show host Tavis Smiley will assemble black leaders in Chicago to discuss whether Obama — the president of the United States – should sign up to serve their black agenda.

Who will some of the panelists be? Among them will be Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jesse Jackson, the ever-wordy academic Michael Eric Dyson, and Mr. Public Intellectual himself … Cornel West. Hey, maybe CNN’s Tony West will show up to “impartially” cover the event.

By the way — don’t expect any black conservatives to speak at this event. Alternative perspectives are … what’s the word I’m searching for … oh yes, unwelcome.

How will Obama respond to these demands that he dance to the tune being sung by race advocates? We’ll soon find out. To Obama’s credit, when pressed earlier on this issue, he responded: “I think it’s a mistake to start thinking in terms of particular ethnic segments of the United States rather than to think that we are all in this together and we are all going to get out of this together.”

At least he got that right.

It’s the lazy — and frankly ignorant — approach to argue that black jobless rates equate with racism, as CNN’s Tony Harris did.

I know that facts are like kryptonite to liberals, but here goes:

  • According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, by the 12th grade — on average — black students are four years behind those who are Asian and white.
  • According to the Census, nearly half of black Americans have never been married.
  • Nearly 10 million black families lived in the country in 2007, but nearly one-third of these families were single mothers with children under 18.
    20 percent of black families were grandparents raising their grandchildren.
  • Nearly half of young black children living with a single mom are poor.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 94 percent of all blacks killed between 1976 and 1999 were killed by other blacks.

What’s the importance of these statistics? Well, they show that the issue of black joblessness rests on many complicated and sometimes uncomfortable factors. Some of these factors are education levels, cultural attitudes, family stability, and safe neighborhoods — things that can contribute to making a person employable … or not.

When you examine all the factors involved, it becomes clear that knee-jerk claims about black joblessness and racism are largely a smoke screen.

The bottom line is that there is really no such thing as black, Latino, Asian, or white unemployment. There is simply a painful lack of jobs for all-too-many Americans. The solution will be an economic recovery that includes jobs growth for all workers — regardless of their ethnic background or skin color.

Liberal race baiting by CNN talking heads, and others, plays no role in this solution.