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  • African American Unemployment Disproportionate

    African American leaders should stop giving sermons and create a jobs bill that addresses this issue on local, state and federal levels. People want to and can contribute: we have to give them options.

    There is something out of balance with African American unemployment: the artificial number is around fifteen percent, but real numbers,

    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals,

    including those, who have stopped looking for work, as well as those who cannot find enough work.

    There has always been this uneasiness with black employment or lack thereof: on one hand, corporations are just starting to really incorporate black business leaders into the revenue lines of their businesses, so as much as there is supposed equality within work spaces – there are still some gaps that prevent African Americans from contributing to the full complement of any business.

    On the other hand: there are some cultural issues that must be addressed, where a large percentage of African Americans don’t have contemporary training to conduct twenty-first century work, and with of surplus of moderate and entry level labor, it will be hard for African Americans to be seen as first-tier workers within this group.

    What’s not being said: there are stereotypes about African American behaviors and mores, where employers might think that black people, black men especially are confrontational, difficult and intimidating – and many others think that black people are lazy and lack the intelligence necessary to do their work with consistently and with efficacy. I know as an African American, and the CEO of Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals that, like any other race – we have brilliance and indifference: beauty and pain, so I believe those stereotypes are just those. I know that the majority of black people will work hard and smart: will meet and surpass expectation: I know many of them just need a chance to contribute to the overall fabric of America in ways that are empowering, which benefit both them personally and a business exponentially.

    In another instance, which again is connected to the unemployment or underemployment of black people, is a virtually unknown phenomenon, especially within black epicenters. American immigration policies work adversely and disproportionately against blacks – black men in particular. This is a larger issue that cannot be covered comprehensively in a few paragraphs, but American immigration policy makes it hard for black men to get jobs that don’t require at least a high school education, because immigrants are sought-after and hired disproportionately for low-end service, agricultural and manufacturing jobs that were once a stronghold of black men – employment that was long-term and where black men acquired transferable skill-sets to upgrade their positions and pursue better lives.

    Employers advocate the current immigration policy, because they can depress wages and deny benefits, so they push emerging populations into those positions, which push many black men out onto the streets. The policymakers do understand this, but corporate interests dictate this policy, which tells me that America’s desire to right the wrong of past discrimination is much more rhetoric than practice. Without the ability to work through a living wage or to have honest work available to them – like all other Americans – it should not be surprising that many black men have trouble keeping their families together and eventually they seek renewal and revenue through the underground economy.

    A great article about how even the black middle class is unemployed or underemployed, is by Janell Ross, in her Huffington Post article Black Communities Struggle with Mass Joblessness, stated, “It isn’t easy for the businesses to thrive because too many of the homes nearby are vacant, Hurt said. However, Hurt’s organization has been able to place about 200 people in jobs, helping to build the city’s new and massive convention center. And, it has received federal funding that will allow the organization to rehab and sell about 40 area homes. The jobs and the homes should together do a lot for the community, she said.”

    I hope this looked at within proportion to all other races, but I know within a cratering economy: it’s every man for himself. African American leaders should stop giving sermons, and create a jobs bill that addresses this issue on a local, state and federal level. People want to and can contribute: we have to give them options so they can.

    Good Luck.

    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO
    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Career


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