Did Ben Jealous Diss Obama on Black Unemployment?

Did Ben Jealous Diss Obama on Black Unemployment?

Ben Jealous' statement of fact about Obama and Black unemployment is misconstrued as criticism.

Published January 29, 2013

NAACP president Ben Jealous is making headlines for being honest. When President Obama was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2009, the African-American unemployment rate was 12.7 percent. When he was sworn in a second time this year, the rate was 14.0 percent.

"[Right] now when you look at joblessness in this country, you know, the country is back to pretty much where it was when this president started," Jealous said during an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press this week. "White people in this country are doing a bit better. Black folks are doing a full point worse."

Quick to see his comments as a criticism of the president, some articles neglected to include the fact that citing Obama's "rising tide lifts all boats" theory, Jealous in the same quote also called on Congress to make more of an effort to work with the president in ways that will benefit struggling communities.

"With this president having said to us we need to invest in strategies to lift all boats, now that some boats are clearly more stuck, the question is will Congress join him in getting those boats unstuck, too," Jealous said.

Taking direct aim at congressional Republicans, he asked whether "the party of Lincoln" is ready to be "the party of people who united this country again and again" or would continue "playing to the cheap seats" with incendiary rhetoric.

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(Photo: MSNBC)

Written by Joyce Jones

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