Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the address in 1963 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, making “I Have A Dream” synonymous with the promise of civil rights. The White House commemorated the event with a Tuesday statement released that purported to show the administration’s low unemployment numbers for black Americans.
“More than half a century after his speech, our Nation reaffirms our commitment to protecting the promise of America for all our people,” the statement read. “For this reason, my Administration is continuing to create an environment where the American Dream—and its many opportunities—are available for all hardworking Americans. As a result, for example, we have already seen the unemployment rate for African Americans reach a record low.”
Trump has pushed the narrative that his administration is responsible for the unemployment numbers, but there is more to the story than the president’s claims.
The rate of black unemployment, 6.6 percent as of July, is at a record low since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began breaking down the numbers in the 1970s. But the number is still drastically higher than white unemployment, which sits at 3.4 percent.
And the numbers don’t count incarcerated people.
Black citizens are incarcerated at a rate five times higher than whites. Although African-Americans only count for 12 percent of the U.S. population, black people represent 33 percent of the prison population according to a January Pew Research Center study.
Trump also fails to mention that the black unemployment rate, as with the overall unemployment rate, has been steadily declining long before he entered the Oval Office. Former President Barack Obama left office with black unemployment at 7.8 percent, which is a nearly 6 point drop since his inauguration.