Maxine Waters Asks Why The President Is So Afraid to Say ‘Black Unemployment’

In an interview with Loop 21, the outspoken lawmaker explains why she's been so critical of the president.

By Jorge Rivas Sep 14, 2011

African-American unemployment rates were double those of white Americans in August but Obama refuses to address or even utter the words "black unemployment."

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.,) who’s been the most vocal trying to get President Obama to call black unemployment by it’s name publicly spoke to Loop 21 about the President’s challenges with the economy and why’s he’s remaining silent on black Americans and the jobs crisis.

Loop 21: The Administration refuses to mention black unemployment even though it’s clearly the highest, and now we see with the Census figures that they suffered the worst increases in poverty. Will Obama ever name this problem for what it is?

Rep. Maxine Waters: I don’t know, it seems as if these are not the kinds of strategies [his campaign] have developed for him to be re-elected. Avoiding using the word "black" or "African American" seems to be what they think they need to do to appease or to get support from others in society. I don’t agree with that strategy. I don’t know what it would take to change their mind. I am working now on the fact sheet on the American Jobs Act where I see they are using targeting in ways that I have insisted — by targeting the communities with the hardest unemployment and the most harmed in this economic meltdown. Those communities should be targeted for support. In the follow-up fact sheet, they are talking about targeting and they have recognized that it should be done, but it’s not been part of his speeches. As the legislation advances, that targeting should be at the center of how we’re dealing with harm that is done [from the recession]. But in terms of how the White House says that in their language, I wish I could say I have influence over that, but I can’t say that I have that type of influence.

Loop 21: There seems to be plenty of endorsement from the Congressional Black Caucus of Obama’s American Jobs Act. Any caveats though?

Rep. Maxine Waters: Yes, I’m pleased the President did present what appears to be a substantial jobs act to create jobs by repairing the nation’s infrastructure, and schools across nation, and also investing in small communities. But the devil is in the details. I support the direction of this legislation and I will fight for it. We will all have to fight for it. There are a number of tax cuts for employers whether payroll or tax breaks to hire new workers. We have to make sure it’s not just a tax cut bill that’s only in anticipation of employers hiring, but that they are actually hiring. Now the real work begins.

Read more over at Loop 21.