In the last few months Donald Trump has been trying to appeal to the African American community mostly by telling them how terrible their lives are. Earlier this summer he said that “our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape they’ve ever been in before. Ever. Ever. Ever.” Perhaps someone should remind Mr. Trump about slavery, Jim Crow and separate but equal, I’m sure our African American citizens do not need to be reminded.
It seems unlikely that African American voters will respond to his assertion that their lives are so terrible that they might as well vote for an openly racist candidate that tried to win them over with pandering condescension.
One of the “facts” that Trump has pointed to over and over in his attempt to attract black voters is the unemployment rate of African American youth.
“If you look at what’s going on in this country, African-American youth is an example: 59 percent unemployment rate; 59 percent,” Trump said in June, and has repeated several times in the past week. “If you look at what’s going on with Latinos, Hispanics – tremendous unemployment rates. You look at what’s going on with so many groups. We’re going to make it great for everyone. We’re going to bring jobs back to our country.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate for African Americans aged 16 to 24 is 18.7%. That is less than one third of the number of 59% that Trump has quoted repeatedly.
It is unclear where Trump is getting this 59% number. Politifact tried to juggle some numbers that included black youth that are disabled, attending high school or college or otherwise not looking for work and got pretty close to the number, but Trump said “unemployment rate.” That phrase has a specific definition, it means people without a job actively looking for work.