Even as the U.S. economy recovers, African-Americans and Latinos continue to disproportionately experience hardships in their frantic efforts to find work and maintain homeownership, according to a new report from the Boston-based United for a Fair Economy.
Release of the 25-page report, “State of the Dream 2010: Drained – Jobless and Foreclosed in Communities of Color,” coincides with the annual commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“The report’s release is the highlight of the dream Dr. King spoke of so many years ago,” UFE spokesman Mazher Ali told the AFRO. The report claims that the economic downturn has further put King’s vision in jeopardy and that his dream is far from being realized.
“I think we all agree ,” Ali said, “and it’s going to take more than these color-blind broad spectrums of policy approaches to remedy that.”
The nonprofit UFE began its research for the report last year and focused on areas where unemployment rates and poverty were the highest. The group found that African-Americans and Latinos continue to deal with the brunt of the economic recession.
According to the report’s summary, from December 2008 to December 2009 the unemployment rate increased by 4.3 percent for Blacks and 3.7 percent for Latinos, compared to 2.4 percent for Whites. The unemployment rate for Blacks currently stands at 16.2 percent, the highest of any annual rate over the past three decades.
While the country as a whole experienced only an economic “downturn,” Ali said communities of color were exhibiting Great Depression-like symptoms.
He said the amount of time that African-Americans and Latinos will grapple with recovery depends on policy decisions and whether any social movement is able to change them to be more favorable to minorities.
UFE also blames growing instances of joblessness on rising foreclosures, which have stripped “unprecedented” wealth from communities of color, according to the report.
Among the report’s list of changes recommended to speed up economic recovery for minorities are a recommitment to affirmative action policies, better tracking of job creation efforts and imposing an immediate moratorium on foreclosures.
“In health crisis situations, people tend to look at the most vulnerable which include children and the elderly, and make sure that they get attended to quickly,” said Ajamu Dillahunt, one of the report’s five authors. “We need the same kind of approach in this economic recovery.”