2012 – A Commentary on the Bad, the Good, the Hopeful

Breathe a sigh of relief everyone, in 2012 it began to look like the economy was stabilizing. Housing prices stopped their downward spiral; unemployment rates stopped soaring and the stock market is doing a pleasant little rally dance. It’s all good.

Well… except for Blacks, that is. Sadly, it is taking longer for this news to translate in a positive way to African Americans.

The unemployment rate rose nearly a full point for Blacks in October, while it went down for everyone else. Housing prices in Black neighborhoods continued to stay depressed — in fact, a recent study showed that if you want to snap up an inexpensive house, head for College Park. And, the stock market, hmmm…very few African Americans gauge their ability to survive by what it does.

Here’s the good news. Black people survive. Making bricks without straw, eking out a living, getting along, hanging in, and managing. Hard times are no stranger.

African Americans have always led the way for people under siege.

Celebrate the positive. Obama won reelection and this time we’re sure he’s going to listen to the minorities, women and young people who put him over the top.

In 2012 we put five new Black Congressmen and women in office: Joyce Beatty from Ohio, Steve Hosford from Nevada, Mark Veasey from Texas, Hakim Jeffries from New York and Donald Payne Jr. from New Jersey — all Democrats. And a new Black senator was appointed, Timothy Scott from South Carolina. He’s a Republican but he’s the first African-American senator from the South since the 1800’s. That’s something.

We, of course, maintain our ability to sing, dance and entertain. Kerry Washington and Don Cheadle are leading multicultural casts to great heights in “Scandal” and “House of Lies.” The Black ladies of “The Help” got well-deserved attention — Octavia Spencer won an Academy Award for her role. Denzel Washington continues to be award-worthy and so does Jamie Foxx. Also in 2012 Beyonce had a baby (yay!) and Chris Brown and Rihanna got back together (whatever you think of that).

Everyone knows we sure can play some sports, and more than that, we do it with grace, style and ease. Look at Tyson Gay and Gabby Douglas during the 2012 Olympics.

African-American small business ownership continues on the rise, according to new data, despite a rough ride in 2012. Corporate America leaders got even more diverse according to Black Enterprise magazine: “We continue to see the emergence of African-American senior managers who are literally rewriting the script of global business,” says Black Enterprise Editorial Director Sonia Alleyne. “Their presence proves that diversity at the very top fuels innovation and performance that’s vital for organizations to stay competitive in a rapidly changing environment.”

And we know how to give back to our community once we’ve made it. In 2012, Oprah Winfrey, Bill and Camille Cosby, Magic Johnson, Russell Simmons, Tom Joyner and many others have proven that!

Here in Atlanta, much has changed this year. There have been many heart-rending passages and there have been transitions that were surprising, expected or positive. On pages 6, 7, 12 and 13, we list a few of both on Passages and Transitions pages. Take a look.

So, burn a list of the bad things that happened in 2012. Think warmly and thankfully of the good. Then, drink a toast to a hopeful 2013.


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