“My President Was Black”

*The Atlantic magazine has announced that it’s reprinting the January/February issue with the cover story “My President Was Black,” but the reprint will include an error that Native Americans say is all too common.

In his 17,000-word piece, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote: “African Americans rank at the bottom of nearly every major socioeconomic measure in the country.”

Coates may not have thoroughly done his research because according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it’s the Native Americans who rank at the bottom.

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The 2015 American Community Survey shows that:

  • The percentage of those enrolled in preschool or nursery school who are “African American or black (alone)” is 6.1 percent; for American Indian or Alaska Native alone, 5.7 percent.
  • For those in college or graduate school, the figures are “African American or black (alone),” 28.3 percent; American Indian or Alaska Native alone, 21.4 percent.
  • For those with less than a high school diploma, African American or black, 15.3 percent; American Indian or Alaska Native alone, 20.9 percent.
  • Graduate or professional degree, African American or black, 7.5 percent; American Indian or Alaska Native alone, 4.8 percent.
  • Not in labor force: African American or black, 38 percent; American Indian or Alaska Native alone, 41.9 percent.
  • No health insurance coverage: African American or black, 11 percent; American Indian or Alaska Native alone, 20.7 percent.
  • Poverty rates for families and people for whom poverty status is determined: Identical for both groups at 21.6 percent for “all families.”

Bryan Pollard, Cherokee, president of the Native American Journalists Association, told Journal-isms that the omission of Native Americans is “fairly common.”

“With all due respect to Mr. Coates, I would suggest that he make an appointment to visit an Indian reservation. The level of profound poverty found on so many Indian reservations is difficult to comprehend in the midst of the world’s most affluent nation,” he said.