The truth behind the poverty statistics

The poverty data released this week obscures the fact that the brunt of the current U.S. economic crisis falls squarely on the shoulders of the African and Latino communities.

Unemployment claims rose to 428,000 last week with a staggering 7.14 million people now receiving benefits. Millions of others are no longer looking for jobs, have maxed out their unemployment or work from time to time in low paying temp jobs that cannot meet their needs.

Last year 48 million people ages 18 to 64 did not work even one week out of the year.

Census data released earlier this week show that 50 million people now have no health insurance and 46.2 million—about 15.1 percent of the U.S. population—are living below the poverty line of about $17,000 a year for a family of three.

Of that 46.2 million, 44 percent of them have now sunk into deep poverty defined as earning less than half of the income needed to escape poverty.

Forty-five million people in the U.S., a number greater than the population of many countries of the world, are now forced to live with the meager support of food stamps.

About 1 in every 6 people of the U.S. population lives below the poverty line as people are doubling up in housing with other family members more than ever before.

These are stark statistics overall but the reality for African people is in fact far more severe and tempers the effects of this current crisis on the white community.

According to the New York Times, ("Soaring Poverty Casts Spotlight on ‘Lost Decade,’” 9/13/11), African people experience the highest poverty rate in the U.S., at 27.4 percent, compared to 13 percent of white households, with Latino people now at 26 percent in poverty.

The poverty rate for white people is only 9.9 percent.

The African poverty rate in the U.S. is now the highest ever in the 52 years since the Census Bureau started tracking poverty.

Recent employment figures show that the African community is now unemployed at a rate of 16.7 percent, with 18 percent of African men and 45 percent of African teenagers officially jobless. White unemployment is only 8 percent overall and 23 percent for teens.

This does not count the more than 1.3 million African people who have been taken out of the workforce in the discriminatory Jim Crow prison system, with additional millions of Africans on parole, probation or awaiting trial.

With millions of Africans unable to provide for their families because they are tied to a prison system that makes billions of dollars for the mainstream white economy every year on the criminalization of African people and on their enslaved labor, it is no surprise that 40 percent of African children live in poverty, compared to only 12.4 percent of white children.

Comparing the stark conditions of African people to conditions in the white community reveals the reality of colonialism inside this country.

So while the poverty rate is one in six overall, it’s only about one in ten for white people but nearing one in three for African people.

While median white household income in the U.S. is $51,846 (down from $52,717 last year), for African families it is nearly $20,000 a year less, currently at $32,068 (down from $33,122), according to Huffington Post, “Black Voices,” by Trymaine Lee, Sept. 15, 2011.

These statistics make it clear that African people live in colonialism inside U.S. borders, and are catching unmitigated hell. An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer from June 2011 stated that many black men in their 30s, 40s and 50s can expect to never work again.

Clearly African people are bearing the brunt of this crisis. While white people are now facing “job insecurity” for the first time in their lives, African people have no jobs, no food, no money and no future under this system but prisons, poverty and police occupation.

The U.S. government is using African people as a buffer to keep the worst economic crisis since the 1930s from seriously affecting the majority of the white population.

It is clear that white people’s security, opportunity and standard of living exists on a pedestal built on the enslavement of African people, theft of the land of the Indigenous people and colonial plunder, genocide and domination of oppressed peoples around the world.

It is the resistance of African, Arab and oppressed peoples, rising up throughout the entire world against U.S. and European domination and violence that has created the crisis that is reverberating throughout the industrialized, affluent centers of imperialism.

The Uhuru Movement, led by the African People’s Socialist Party is not only building organized African resistance worldwide, it is building real programs for economic self-sufficiency and self-determination for African people—programs such as community gardening and a health and fitness gym in St. Petersburg, FL, a maternal and infant wellness center in Sierra Leone, and an education and youth program in California.

Ultimately the resistance of African and oppressed people will bring this crisis-ridden, parasitic system to its knees, as the peoples of the pedestal rise up to recapture their own land, resources and self-determination.

Imperialism, the enemy of the majority of humanity, must go.

We in the Uhuru Solidarity Movement are calling on other white people like ourselves to break our alliance and unity with the unjust and unsustainable white power system that has given us prosperity at the expense of everybody else for so long.

We call on you to put your future on the side of African people and others who are building a new world that will end poverty, injustice, war and imperialist violence.

We understand that to join this new world built on justice we must be part of righting the historic wrongs that are responsible for these statistics and for the anger of the rising peoples of the world.

We recognize that genuine reconciliation with African people requires reparations for centuries of white terror and stolen African labor and resources.

We are calling on you to Take the Pledge of Solidarity with African People, support the campaign to build the Days in Solidarity with African People and contribute towards the $10,000 goal for the work of the Uhuru Movement to unite and liberate African people everywhere.


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