In speaking with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto recently, House Majority Whip James Clyburn made a sick statement when commenting on the country’s low black unemployment numbers.
“Whether you like his style or not, or tweets or not, or comments or not, [President Donald Trump has] delivered the goods for a lot of African-Americans, has he not?” Cavuto said during the interview Tuesday.
“With record-low unemployment levels, for one group after another, mostly with African-Americans,” he continued. “You don’t think that’s something that’s constructive?”
“Come on, Neil,” the South Carolina Democrat scoffed. “No, because it’s not true. I’m saying African-American unemployment is not the lowest it has ever been, unless you count slavery. We were fully employed during slavery.
“So this all depends on how you measure this up.”
Clyburn is exactly right: It does all depend on how we “measure this up.”
When we “measure this up” by truth and objectivity, we find that black unemployment has reached its lowest rate ever. The latest employment figures that came out last September show a jobless rate of 5.5 percent for African-Americans.
Unemployment was even lower for Hispanics at 3.9 percent.
In fact, that latest report also indicated that overall unemployment dropped 0.2 percentage points to 3.5 percent, which by all accounts is the lowest it has been in 50 years.
However, when we “measure this up” by falsehood and nihilism, we can make equivalencies between slaves and employees, comparing them as one and the same.
Clyburn’s statement was not simply antithetical to truth, it was anti-logical.
No slave was an “employee,” and no one kept in slavery was “employed.” Slaves were prisoners, period. They were either captured or born into that torturous life.
Saying blacks were “fully employed during slavery” is like saying Jews were staycationing at Nazi death camps or Rwandan Tutsis were keeping fit outracing their genocide. It is sick and twisted.
The larger issue here is the fact that America has become so riven politically that partisan divides cannot be crossed even by something that is demonstrably and altogether good, such as historically low unemployment rates for all people across the board.
When partisans can put aside their petty differences to agree on that which is objectively positive for the country, perhaps then these political polarizations will begin to melt.
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