The Black Occupy Protester — Missing in Action

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As “Person of the Year,” Time magazine named “The Protester.” The subhead read, “From the Arab Spring to Athens, From Occupy Wall Street to Moscow.”

Well, yes, but what about the lack of American black protesters? Good Lord, where is the racial diversity/inclusion/proportional representation?

Back in the day, the tea party’s alleged lack of black participants was beyond worrisome to the media. The lack of black faces in the crowd allowed the major media to describe the tea party as racially exclusionary, if not … racist!

“Some of them in Congress right now with this tea party movement,” said Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., “would love to see you and me … hanging on a tree.” Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. said tea partiers can “go straight to hell.” A New York Times op-ed described tea partiers as “overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.”

So the formula is set: Lack of blacks plus “overwhelmingly white” equals racism. Right? Not so fast.

This formula does not apply to the Occupy Wall Street movement, which is as white as an Idaho picket fence. A Washington Post opinion piece cites a survey that found “African Americans, who are 12.6 percent of the U.S. population, make up only 1.6 percent of Occupy Wall Street.” And blacks are 25 percent of New York City’s population. Occupy Wall Street was a home game for them. By contrast, 6 percent of tea party supporters, according to an April 2010 Gallup poll, are black. That’s almost four times the number of blacks who make up Occupy Wall Street.

Why so few blacks in the Occupy movement?

A Washington Post opinion piece offered one reason — black resignation: “Perhaps black America’s absence is sending a message to the Occupiers: ‘We told you so! Nothing will change. We’ve been here already. It’s hopeless.'”

But blacks view the economy differently — and a lot more optimistically — than do whites.

Despite around 16 percent unemployment, as compared to the 8.6 percent national rate, and nearly 50 percent black teenage unemployment, blacks feel better about the economy than do whites. A February 2011 Washington Post survey found that 24 percent of blacks were “very” or “somewhat satisfied” with the economy, compared to 12 percent of whites.

A recent NBC poll found that by a lopsided 73 percent to 19 percent, most Americans considered the country on the “wrong track.” But not blacks. Forty-nine percent of blacks think the country is “headed in the right direction” versus 38 percent who do not.

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  • nate
  • slloth

    There have been no shortage of Blacks and other minorities in the meetings and marches I've been to. I guess it all depends on where you are and what slant you are going for. This article is full of generalizations with numbers based on speculation. Come to Oakland and experience a protest. Everything looks different from your couch on the other end of the corporate owned media.

  • Jim

    Recently the occupiers have been talking to black ministers about the recent acceleration of the countries economic degradation the has effected the Black Middle class so adversely.

    It is thought since the ministers are willing to listen they may be ready to activate their congregations.

  • Ralph

    Larry Elder is over-thinking this one a bit. The reason blacks reject the OWS bowel movement is simple. One black acquaintance put it succinctly "That's the white boy movement.". Blacks are reflexively anti-white and even more so since Obama's election. Didn't the O.J. trial teach us anything?

    But despite the tiny minority of blacks who get it enough to join the Tea Party (and those are probably middle-class or above) the majority support redistributionist policies. Why wouldn't they (apart from the central, moral issue)? They've done pretty well in the last forty years or so. The libs continually call them 'deprived' and oppressed and yet how does one get obese on deprivation. Where'd all those smart phones come from?

    Even middle-class blacks with pretty good jobs approve of redistribution. And why not? So many of them were 'redistributed' their jobs via AA. They have only contempt for whites and especially for the current crop of lefty weaklings that comprise OWS (I share that contempt, for quite different reasons). Why do you think they use the term 'lily' white?

    This has nothing to do with blacks rejecting any sort of OWS message. In fact, they can just stay home and let liberal white dupes go out and defend them, even while they rob the little snots of their goods. And the dupes still stand in solidarity with the People of Color, no matter how much they are abused by them. We should all have such reliable friends.

  • Reason_For_Life

    "How else to explain that while 57 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy, 86 percent of blacks approve?"

    The explanation lies in the fact that blacks are the single most racist group in America today. Obama's skin color blinds them to everything else. In 2012 Obama's percentage of black votes will actually RISE because of the necessity of showing solidarity with their race when a fellow black is under attack.

    In 2008 Charles Payne who regularly appears on Fox Business stated that he voted for Obama because of its "historic importance". Payne grew up in Harlem and took many beatings because he wanted to be a businessman. Despite a broken home and a hostile neighborhood Payne succeeded and is now the head of an investment firm. More than most people Payne knows what it takes to be a successful businessman. Still, despite knowing that Obama was an anti-capitalist, Payne voted for him.

    Larry, the only blacks who won't vote for Obama in 2012 will be you, Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. (Okay, maybe a more realistic number would be 2%)

  • Reason_For_Life

    I don't mean this to imply that blacks are fundamentally different from others.

    In Massachusetts 3/4 of the people approve of RomneyCare. All this means is that it is possible to buy men's souls with gifts from the state. Racial differences can make this easier especially when there is a history of racial exploitation as there was of blacks by whites.

  • Flipside

    Dear Mr. Elder, why does having more black people in a group make it more valid? Isn’t that just part of the stereotype that black people are more authentic than white people?

    • intrcptr2

      It doesn't, you knob.

      That's why the critique of the Tea Party that it is lily-white, and thus racist, is empty; to wit, because the Tea Party has so few blacks, it is racist and should be ignored.
      Larry points out the numbers simply to expose the hypocrisy, and the shallow, racist thinking of the Occupiers.

  • Oleg

    The whole OWS movement is about as grassroots as astroturf anyhow, the primary sponsors were big public sector unions and George Soros front groups like ADbusters.
    In Toronto, London, and other places most of the tents were unoccupied, only put there as a shell game to show numbers that did not exist. Most of the ones in Toronto could not identify senior politicians like the Prime Minister, yet we are supposed to turn to OWS activists for ideas on reforming society? I don't think so.
    One question never raised here is how many blacks actually turn out to vote in elections? I know that among the U.S population in general only about 45% actually bother exercising their franchise, it of course varies from year to year. From what I read some time ago only a small minority of blacks that are elegible to vote actually do so, I think it was under 20%. So there in lies the explaination, if the majority of blacks feel so disengaged that they don't bother taking a relatively passive act like voting why would they make a showing at the Occupy Wall Street ? Maybe they figured it was a worthless gong show all along?