CNN's Harris Makes Liberal Race Argument on Unemployment

March 10th, 2010 1:55 PM

Tony Harris, CNN Anchor; & Don Peck, Deputy Managing Editor, The Atlantic | NewsBusters.orgOn Tuesday's Newsroom, CNN's Tony Harris applied liberal thinking on race to the unemployment rate, speculating if the debate over jobs would change if whites were out of work like minorities were: "I wonder what the discussion about jobs in this country would be like if the rate of white unemployment in this country was, say 15, 16 percent, as it is for African-Americans."

Harris brought up the race issue during a segment with Don Peck of The Atlantic 42 minutes into the 11 am Eastern hour. Peck recently wrote an article for the publication on "how a new jobless era will transform America." Besides bringing up the unemployment rate of blacks, the CNN anchor also cited the 12-13 percent unemployment rate of Hispanics, and then quoted from Peck's article: "Make the point here- expand on the comment, 'It will leave an indelible comment on many blue-collar white men and on white culture.' What do you mean by that?"

The deputy managing editor for The Atlantic first expressed his agreement with Harris: "Well, first of all, I think you're right to say if the unemployment rate were higher for all white people, I think the conversation would be different, and that’s what’s so important to recognize." He continued by highlighting the impact of unemployment on marriage and family life.

PECK: There are certain groups within the U.S. that have really dramatically-elevated unemployment rates- young people, minorities, and, as you mentioned, blue-collar white men as well. You know, this has been called the 'man-cession,' and that's accurate. Three-quarters of all job losses have been to men, in part, because construction, finance, and manufacturing have all really imploded, and- you know, when men are out of work for a long time, they are particularly badly affected, and that affects many things beyond them personally. Marriages tend to sour when men are unemployed for long periods of time. Men often don't pick up their share of the housework on average when they lose their jobs, and- you know, the happiness of husbands and wives are closely related, so the misery spreads throughout the home.

Two-thirds of all divorces are legally initiated by women, so I talked to a lot of family experts who really believe that there are likely to be a wave of divorces in the coming years, especially if this period of blue-collar male unemployment persists.