Wednesday, November 25, 2009

When White America Catches the Cold, Black America Catches Pneumonia


Young black males are faring the worst in this economic crisis. So reported a Washington Post article yesterday. The current unemployment rate for them is 34.5% compared to 10.2% nationally.

There are a couple of factors that explain this. One is that working class and poor blacks often worked in sectors like construction and manufacturing that have been incredibly hard hit. That factor explains why young white men also have a higher unemployment rate than the national average.

But there also seems to be discrimination at play. The article reported that black men with a clean record fare no better than white men recently released from prison. Whites were more likely to get hired for jobs than blacks with the exact same qualifications. Do any of you readers have another explanation for why these things are true apart from racism? I’d really like to believe racism isn’t a factor here.

This does have important implications regardless. Unemployed black young men who feel like their race disqualifies them from getting jobs are more likely to turn to crime, or the underground economy. Policymakers must do something to improve employment prospects for this demographic for both moral and political reasons.

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