Q&A of the Day – The NAACP Florida Advisory & How Minorities Perform in Florida
Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.
iHeartRadio: Use the Talkback feature – the microphone button on our station’s page in the iHeart app.
Today’s Entry: @brianmuddradio NAACP Florida boycott. How do minorities perform in Florida compared to other states? That should tell the real story.
Bottom Line: This is a story which gained momentum throughout the week and predictably was reported breathlessly by those politically opposed to Governor DeSantis in local, state and national news media to end the week and throughout the weekend. Your question is a good one, in that as the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. If Florida is really a racist state which is hostile to minorities, those who live here would be on the frontlines of that impact. But first, let's establish the facts with what’s actually transpired because the characterizations of this event have often been skewed. A la the suggestion that the NAACP has called for a boycott of Florida. As of now, they have not.
Last Thursday, the Florida chapter of the NAACP voted unanimously to request that the national NAACP board issue a “travel advisory” for minorities, with a specific emphasis on Blacks, not to travel to Florida due to their perception of the state being a hostile environment due to policies enacted by the state in recent years. Policies cited by the Florida chapter of the NAACP as hostile included Florida’s election integrity measures, parental rights in education policy and the rebuffing of the newly proposed AP African American studies course. That’s where we stand. The National NAACP board won’t consider the request until a May meeting. So as of today, there isn’t any official policy change from the organization pertaining to Florida. Thus, no boycott is forthcoming for at least another month-plus if it ever does.
Should the NAACP National Board eventually choose to boycott Florida, it wouldn’t be a first and Florida wouldn’t be the only state under a sanctioned advisory by the political interest organization. South Carolina, the state with the 7th highest Black percentage of population was under an official boycott from 1999 through 2014. Missouri, the state with the 19th highest percentage Black population is currently under a “travel advisory” by the NAACP and has been since 2017. The fact that you probably hadn’t even heard of this until now is an indication of how much weight these matters truly carry. Now, I mentioned the NAACP is a political interest organization. While they’re not generally characterized as such, make no mistake that they are by way of mission as currently articulated. Their summation statement as provided prominently on the homepage of their website reads:
- From police brutality to COVID-19 voter suppression, Black communities are under attack. We work to disrupt inequality, dismantle racism, and accelerate change in key areas including criminal justice, health care, education, climate, and the economy. When it comes to civil rights and social justice, we have the unique ability to secure more wins than anyone else. Help make racial equity a reality.
It’s not worth diving into the general lack of validity of the opening line of that mission statement for the purpose of addressing today’s question. That said, the fact that the organization makes declaratives which are political narratives, as opposed to evidenced fact, is an important context to the developments as it pertains to the Florida NAACP board seeking a travel advisory. And this takes us to the matter at hand. How do minorities, and specifically Blacks, perform in Florida compared to other states?
I’ll use employment as a comparative measure. While we have monthly employment reports, the Bureau of Labor Statistics aggregates racial data on a quarterly basis. So, the most recent data is from the 4th quarter of 2022, or essentially where we stood entering this year.
National unemployment rate Blacks:
Florida unemployment rate Blacks:
National unemployment rate Hispanics:
Florida unemployment rate Hispanics:
What a narrative buster, right? Florida’s unemployment rate is 31% lower for Blacks than the national average and 28% lower for Hispanics for the national average. It’s hard to envision a state which has engaged in policies which could be so detrimental to Blacks and Hispanics so as to warrant an advisory to not even visit – yet that has produced unemployment rates which are exponentially lower than those of the country overall. But wait there’s more, much more as a matter of fact. Florida’s unemployment rate isn’t just far lower than the national average for Blacks and Hispanics. Florida’s unemployment rate is the 3rd lowest overall for minorities, and specifically for Blacks with only North Dakota and Utah, two small states with small Black populations which are ahead of us. Florida is demonstrably one of the top three states in the country for minority opportunity currently. What’s more unemployment rates for both Blacks and Hispanics are currently at record lows in our state – meaning that as the Florida Chapter of the NAACP is seeking an advisory against minorities traveling to our state – it comes at literally be the best time in history for minorities in our state. There are two sides to stories and one side to facts. These are the facts.