Aside from the economic losses, the political power of the African-American community also has waned as both Democrats and Republicans try to woo the growing Hispanic community.
The power shift was publicly illustrated in June 2012 when Obama announced a path to legal residency for at least 800,000 illegal immigrants. Many say that those immigrants — few of whom have college degrees — will compete for jobs against those hit hardest by the economic downturn, including African-Americans.
That deferred deportation policy is poignant, partly because Obama used his 2007 speech to argue that African-Americans be hired to help rebuild New Orleans. “We don’t need Halliburton doing it — we can have the people who were displaced doing that work,” he declared.
However, many of the reconstruction jobs have gone to immigrants, partly because immigrants are more willing to move from their communities. After the 2005 flood, the city gained 37,000 Hispanics, even as the majority-black population shrank by 20 percent, according to Governing magazine.
In Obama’s White House, African-Americans also lost out to gays. In 2012, Obama also backed gay advocacy groups’ effort to change marriage form a child-focused relationship to an adult-focused relationship that would include childless same-sex couples. That shift clashed with the socially conservative view held by many African-Americans. In numerous state ballots, African-Americans have voted heavily to support the traditional definition of marriage.