Would shipping inner-city black youth to farms while deporting undocumented immigrants who are already working here solve the black unemployment problem? Western New York Congressional candidate Jack Davis thinks so.
"We have a huge unemployment problem with black youth in our cities," Davis said at an endorsement interview last month. "Put them on buses, take them out there [to the farms] and pay them a decent wage; they will work."
His comments made even his fellow Republicans flinch. "I was thunderstruck," said Amherst GOP Chairman Marshall Wood. "Maybe in 1860 that might have been seen by some as an appropriate comment, but not now."
Boyce Watkins of Black Spin wondered if Republican leadership revealed his remarks because they were pushing for a different candidate. Even so, something should be done about the unemployment rate of black teens. Naima Ramos Chapman reported last fall that a generation of black youth is losing its future in the jobs crisis:
Black youth have the highest jobless rate among all races and ethnicities, and that rate is still rising. In the past year, while other youth jobless rates have flat-lined, blacks and Asians have continued to trend upward. And existing racial disparities have widened across the board since the recession began. As of July 2010, while white youth unemployment rate was 16.2 percent, the jobless rates for black youth was double: A whopping 33.4 percent.
Class warfare between black workers and undocumented immigrants does not seem like it will solve the root of the problem. But GOP leadership isn't immune from manufacturing black-brown tensions. Julianne Hing reported earlier this month that members of the Congressional Black Caucus publicly criticized Republicans during a House Subcommittee Immigration hearing that tried to exploit tensions between the two communities.