Between the travails of the U.S. Postal Service and the slower shrinkage of the public sector at the state and local level, the dependence of African Americans on government and quasi-government employment will create problems as both wages and employment in the public sector come under pressure.
But there is also some good news from the female half of the community. A piece in the Washington Post analyzes a recent survey which finds Black women doing well in nearly all conceivable metrics. As increasing numbers of Black women enter the professional world, they are beginning to close the the earnings gap between themselves and their white peers. And the good news goes beyond the monetary: the survey finds Black women to be more ambitious, more religious, and more optimistic about their future than many other groups, with a strong understanding of the value of hard work and achievement.
Condoleezza Rice, in other words, is not alone.
One very interesting finding: more and more Black women are setting up as entrepreneurs. According to census bureau figures, 900,000 businesses are owned by Black women, a sharp expansion in recent years. Moving from bureaucracy to business is necessary to success in the 21st century; that so many Black women have figured this out and are acting accordingly is excellent news.
As is perhaps true for women of many races, the biggest problem Black women face today, according to the Post/Kaiser Foundation survey, is all about men. The disproportionately high incarceration rates and lack of job opportunities for many Black males means that many Black women are not in long term relationships or stable marriages.
The confident, entrepreneurial, faithful and optimistic women found in the Post survey are one more reason to be bullish on America in the 21st century.