By ERRIN HAINES and SUZANNE GAMBOA (Associated Press)
President Barack Obama’s jobs pitch is already playing well with Blacks, who had grown plenty irked with him over what they perceived as his indifference to their needs.
A day after Obama laid out before Congress his plan to kick-start job growth, many Blacks hoped it would translate into reduced misery for them over the coming months. While the country’s unemployment rate stands at 9.1 percent, Black unemployment has hit 16.7 percent, the highest since 1984. Unemployment among male Blacks is at 18 percent, and Black teens are unemployed at a rate of 46.5 percent.
The early signs of their reaction were positive.
Social media sites were abuzz with highlights from the president’s plan. Amid the comments were excited responses to the proposal, especially from the Black community. Twitter was full of similar bursts of excitement over the plan, with some Black Tweeters defending the president and applauding his message. One user tweeted: ”Taking a sharp tone ’cause the NumbersDontLie! Pass this bill and put America back to work.”
Prominent African Americans like Kenneth Chenault, chairman and CEO of American Express and Michael Nutter, mayor of Philadelphia, quickly applauded the plan. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., has been one of the most vocal advocates for dealing more effectively with Black unemployment, but she was enthusiastic.
For the president, it was a welcome change in tone after a steady drumbeat of criticism from members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who held their own job fairs and town hall meetings while protesting that Obama’s jobs tour across America last month bypassed Black communities.