Will the Failing Economy Advance Racial Justice?

By Guest Columnist Oct 03, 2008

by Samantha Erskine I’m wondering how everyone else feels about the idea that our failing economy might advance racial justice. On November 4th, we will find out what America really cares about. On the one hand, we have a Black presidential candidate who has a solid economic solution to the financial crisis, and on the other, the white candidate has admitted that he does not understand economics nor does he have a well thought out position on it. Clearly, the economic crisis has hit communities of color the hardest. However, all of America is now paying the price for the federal government’s refusal to crack down on predatory lending – an issue that some conservatives tried to blame on the "irresponsible borrowing by poor people of color." Now all of America (I hope) realizes that when economic policies fail to provide justice to the most vulnerable in our society, the end results affect each and everyone one of us – including the wealthy. We have one candidate who plans to provide $50 billion to jumpstart the economy and prevent 1 million Americans from losing their jobs; provide tax cuts to 150 million workers; eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year; and invest in 21st Century job creation, including 5 million new "green jobs; among other plans. We have another candidate who plans to continue to reward large corporations rather than struggling Americans, and who supports bailing out these corporations but who was not so hard pressed to bail out families affected by Katrina. So, are Americans so uncomfortable with the notion of a president who isn’t white that they would tolerate 4-8 more years of America’s crumbling economy (and other ills) and vote for a man who thought the economy was flourishing the same morning that Wall Street completely tanked? Or will they check their own racism and vote for the candidate who-as surveys suggest-they put more faith in to fix the economy? Put another way, will Americans vote for a white man who they do not trust to handle the economy or will they vote for the man who will help us through this financial crisis, regardless of his race? I can’t wait to find out.