Saturday, December 29, 2007
President Reagan Was Not Hostile To Blacks by Akindele Akinyemi
I have to put away the greatest myth in modern Black history before we close out 2007. Did former U.S. President Ronald Reagan hate Black people? Was he against the working class in our community?
I ask that question because everyone in my family hated this man. I was taught that Democrats fought for the working class and people have jobs when a Democrat is in office. I was also taught that the Republicans hated Black people and we never have jobs when Republicans are in office.
I was also taught that if Black people became Republicans we were sellouts and Uncle Toms.
I was taught that Ronald Reagan is the moral enemy of the Black community. After leaving my "hatred of White people" stage in my 20s and began to view the world in a different light I went back to examine the actual policies of Ronald Reagan. Come to find out that he was not a bad President after all.
For example I remember growing up here in Detroit that President Reagan cut social spending for the poor. After doing some serious research I found out that Federal spending for social programs increased from $344.3 billion in 1981 to $412 billion in 1989, a 19.7 percent increase using 1982 dollars. As a percentage of Gross National Product, social spending during Reagan's two terms averaged 1.73 percent.
I was also told that Reagan supported the apartheid in South Africa. After doing some research on this it comes to find out that President Reagan Reagan pursued a policy of "constructive engagement." According to the Journal of Modern African Studies, Great Britain, "This policy held that quiet diplomacy, contact with oppositionist bodies, application of fair employment practices under the Sullivan Principles by American companies operating in South Africa, assistance programs to train Africans, and public statements endorsing reform would do more to undermine apartheid than would confrontational measures, including sanctions and disinvestment."
More importantly what I have never heard of until now was how from the end of 1982 to 1989, black unemployment dropped 9 percentage points (from 20.4 percent to 11.4 percent), while white unemployment dropped by only 4 percentage points. Black household income went up 84 percent from 1980 to 1990, versus a white household income increase of 68 percent. The number of black-owned businesses increased from 308,000 in 1982 to 424,000 in 1987, a 38 percent rise versus a 14 percent increase in the total number of firms in the United States. Receipts by black-owned firms more than doubled, from $9.6 billion to $19.8 billion.
So in other words, the Black middle class GREW under President Reagan. So how come we hate this man so much if this was our decade of prosperity?
Sounds like to me that people in my own family as well as around here in my community disliked Reagan because they had a problem with his ideology. We can say the same with Former Governor John Engler here in Michigan. We all know that Engler was a much better Governor than Jennifer Granholm because unemployment was 3% under Engler.
Criticism of Reagan from black leaders is motivated by hate and fear, not an objective review of policies adopted during Reagan’s eight years in office or the status of black Americans. Reagan increased funding for civil rights enforcement, his Justice Department brought more suits to enforce voting rights in its first three years than the Carter administration had in four years. And of course, Reagan signed legislation making Martin Luther King Day a national holiday.
The Reagan tax cuts were a boon for black businesses and entrepreneurs no less than whites, and millions of black Americans went to college, became homeowners, and started achieving the American Dream. Most do not even know he saved Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee with a $50 million grant to keep Black graduates attending the school to graduate.
On the flip side, under Presidents Johnson and Carter whose "war on poverty" and "Great Society" programs led to today's massive welfare system has kept blacks in poverty, in poor neighborhoods with bad schools, and left them with few options to improve themselves.
Inner-city blacks, who have given their vote to the Democrats for the past forty years, are left wondering what that party has done to remedy the still-prevalent problems within their community.
The leaders of most black advocacy groups refuse to see or admit this. They are still liberal, and so they blame Reagan for their loss of political power and relevancy. As well they should.
Furthermore, Black teenage unemployment fell faster than did white teenage unemployment. And blacks started businesses at a rate faster than that of whites. In 1981, the nation's poverty rate stood at 14 percent. It declined to 11.6 percent in 1988, Reagan's last year in office.
U.S. Census Bureau statistics concur. A set of minority economic profiles released by the Census Bureau show that black households had a median income of $19,758 at the time of the 1990 census, up 84% from 1980, The Associated Press noted in 1992. During that period, white median household incomes climbed 84 percent. The New York Times also reported on the 1990 Census figures indicating blacks did better economically during the Reagan 80s. High school graduation rates also increased, records indicate.
So if President's Truman words are exact by saying the "buck stop here" in the White House we can easily say that President Reagan was a good friend of Black America. If we STOP looking at things emotionally in our community and look at things logically we can begin to see through the lies and deception of the liberal left or through those who claim to be independent voters/thinkers.