Black People : 2011, the Year and its Effect on the Black Community, from the Final Call

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    2011: More Trying times for Black America

    By Starla Muhammad -Staff Writer- | Last updated: Dec 28, 2011 - 12:56:59 PM

    U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Henry L. Butts in a CH-53E helicopter preparing for landing on Al-Asad Air Base, Iraq. Photo: M. Trent Lowry

    ( - For Black people 2011 reinforced the glaring reality that no matter who occupies the White House, overall conditions of the masses in the Black community do not change and in many cases, it worsens. Even for the Black family living in the White House, 2011 further revealed even they were not immune to being disrespected, stereotyped and attacked.

    For events and news stories affecting Black men, women and children, this year bears witness to the insight given by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad that no man or woman can rise above the condition of his or her people.
    What lessons did Black America learn this past year and what did 2011 say about the state of Black America? The economy, health, crime, international events and politics took center stage this year yielding mixed results according to a cross section of Black activists, analysts, leaders and commentators.
    “Things have not gotten better for Black folks,” Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University finance professor, author and creator of told The Final Call.

    Angel Perry, 2, holds up a sign during a rally to re-occupy a home in San Francisco, Nov. 1. after resident Carolyn Gage was evicted in January, 2011. The Perry’s home was foreclosed on. Photo: AP/Wide World Photos/Paul Sakuma

    “I think that our spirit of independence grows every year. We are learning how to create our own jobs or at least we now understand that’s going to be the solution and that really looking for state or government sanctioned solutions is only going to take us so far,” says Dr. Watkins.

    “You can’t do a whole lot better than having a Black president and we found that our suffering actually increased under a Black president relative to what it was before,” adds Dr. Watkins.
    Despite the grim statistics, Dr. Watkins says 2011 was overall a good year for Black people because “we are always looking forward because we are survivors.”
    Dr. Watkins says Blacks have become increasingly more astute politically since the election of President Obama but channeling it into effective organizing has still fallen short.

    Troy Davis

    “You really can’t think of too many scenarios this year in which we actually organized toward a purpose and achieved our goals. You saw some of it happen maybe with the Troy Davis execution but that really wasn’t as much of a Black thing as it was a liberal kind of human rights sort of thing that happened to correlate with African American interests,” says Dr. Watkins.

    “I think that we have a lot of work to do when it comes to organizing effectively but I think in terms of learning how to think for ourselves, I think we made a lot of progress,” he adds.
    The Black community faced “everything” in 2011 says veteran, award-winning journalist Bev Smith. “We faced every kind of critical problem a community can face, from illness to crime. But I think it would be the combination of crime and unemployment that are the two issues that have not thoroughly in my opinion been addressed by leadership across this country if there is any leadership,” Ms. Smith told The Final Call.