The Daily Grind Video

The Obama Administration is saying that stimulus money is headed out now and should begin creating jobs. However, based on what they are saying, will it reach Black America?

The Obama Administration recently stated that stimulus money is beginning to make its way down to lower levels of the economy, helping to create jobs that Americans badly need. Although opposed by Republicans that point to the continued unemployment rate increase that we have seen over the past several months, the Democrats are talking about highway projects, construction projects, and other “shovel-ready” jobs that are being prepared now so that the economy can turn around.

If this is the best way for jobs to get back into the economy for Americans, Black folks should be hopping mad.

In addition to the Obama Administration policy of preparing “shovel-ready jobs” is the notion that a level of amnesty should be given to millions of illegal immigrants currently residing and working in the United States. With this belief in tow, the impact of new jobs that the disadvantaged and unemployed will be lessened because American dollars continue to fall through a vortex that doesn’t include African-Americans.

Allowing the current culture of employment in the labor-intensive fields of the American economy (e.g., construction jobs, field work, etc.) to continue without immediately imposing stricter labor laws to ensure that Americans are getting the stimulus-funded work is irresponsible. Just one glance at the construction forces in areas such as North Carolina will highlight a very stark fact for Black people: although not every Latino one sees in a construction work force is illegally working in the United States, for every one illegal worker that is there, he takes a job that an American has paid for and should be working. In an era where Black America is suffering in greater numbers that the general population, this is a reality that should not sit well in Black communities everywhere.

Personally, I don’t care if the illegal worker is from Mexico, Vietnam, Canada, or Russia. Illegal immigration is not a race issue, but disadvantaged Black people losing out on good job opportunities from the stimulus package should be – to us. It should not be tolerated.

If America is going to take on record debt in order to turn this economy around, Black America must use the opportunity to maximize this chance to gain equal economic footing. If we focus on getting stimulus money for more head start programs and after-school care but do not prioritize optimizing our eligibility for jobs more, we will only have more social programs and not enough family dollars to turn around Black poverty.

Black people should make sure that more “shovel-ready” jobs are going into the hands of more African-Americans. Even Black men with hiccups in their work history should be considered over those that, legally-speaking, are not eligible for these jobs. Not involving more Black people in the primary purpose of the stimulus – jobs – makes the American economy stimulus package increasingly less American.

Lenny McAllister is a syndicated political commentator and alumnus of the African-American Leadership Summit. McAllister is a Visiting Fellow for the Center of New Politics and Policy. Find him on Facebook (, Twitter (, and where McAllister’s weekly video commentary can be found (courtesy of Fox Charlotte.) His book “Diary of a Mad Black PYC (Proud Young Conservative)” will be available online June 2009.