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by S.A. Prince
One of America’s top research groups, the Economic Policy Institution (EPI), released a jarring report yesterday. The EPI’s research caught many by surprise, like a brick being thrown through your window.
“Young black college graduates (age 24–29) currently have an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent—higher than the peak unemployment rate for young white college graduates during the recovery (9.0 percent).”
That kind of information takes your breath away. You’d think that these numbers would be significantly closer. The EPI also goes on to say that often times blacks “feel the benefits during an economic recovery” at a much slower rate than their white counterparts.
If your jaw is still on the floor, please pick it up. It’s time we have a serious conversation about hiring discrimination.
Is hiring discrimination real?
It would be foolish to say it isn’t. The statistics prove its legitimacy. That being said, is hiring discrimination due to blatant racism on the part of whites? I would strongly disagree with any claim that says that it is. I don’t believe that white owned businesses, which are what most of American businesses are, white owned, are maliciously not hiring blacks due to their race.
Race does however have a lot to do with the aforementioned statistics. In a society that is overwhelmingly run by whites, a byproduct of that truth is preferential employment. If America was overwhelmingly run by blacks, the EPI’s findings would be flipped with blacks having preferential employment.
Therefore, the issue is a lack of black representation and ownership at the top of the job market. With so few black run businesses, there’s nobody “looking” to hire young black college graduates. Much of this has to do with social conditioning (Please read my article “A Honest Conversation About White Privilege.”).
Because whites and blacks often don’t have personal relationships with one another, except in the workforce and at college (American neighborhoods are still rather segregated), there’s room for social conditioning to persist and influence opinions. Whites’ opinions about blacks and blacks’ opinions about whites, are therefore subject to the whim and impulses of popular media.
And what does the media have to say about these whites and blacks?
Blacks are often shown as violent, loud, dependent, animalistic, welfare-loving, and “cry me a river” because whites have oppressed us for so long.
Whites are often shown as rigid, racist, insensitive, out for themselves, always highly educated, incredibly privileged, and “cry me a river” because blacks keep complaining about being oppressed, and “I am not personally oppressing them.”
Without a personal relationship with the opposite race, this is the low hanging fruit we reach for (unknowingly as a result of conditioning). So, is there any surprise that there is a skew in the hiring of black college graduates, who are OVERWHELMINGLY going to work for white owned companies?
Is hiring discrimination like housing discrimination something we can legislate?
Equality. That’s what it all boils down to. We’re talking about equal rights, specifically equal rights for workers, employed, unemployed and underemployed. Can equality be legislated?
Hold that thought. We’ll come back to it.
You know, we’ve tried to legislate equality in the workforce before. It’s called Affirmative Action. If you want to know the scholarly definition of Affirmative Action, click HERE.
Scholars, the media and politicians hold Affirmative Action in high esteem. Just look at this article from the Washington Post titled, “Why We Still Need Affirmative Action for African Americans in College Admissions.” Of course, the Post is talking about college and not the workforce, but I think it’s safe to say that if they feel the overwhelmingly white-run college system needs Affirmative Action, then they’d likely feel the same about the overwhelmingly white-run workforce.
Whenever we talk about Affirmative Action, academia and politicians put the blame for black misfortune everywhere but on blacks themselves. I’m not saying that the Washington Post and other Affirmative Action supporters don’t make a legitimate argument, but I do believe that it is skewed. Continuing to allow black America to play the “victim” helps nobody, and it stunts actual progress. Affirmative Action has been around since 1961. How much has changed for blacks since then?
Here’s the problem with Affirmative Action. Never Forget This. Creating a discriminatory policy to circumvent a discriminatory system is the most asinine and foolhardy manner to approach workers’ rights, and rights in general.
Affirmative Action didn’t close the gap on race issues in America. It alienated whites by thronging blacks into “white” corporate America, taking away their right of choice. Taking away the right of choice didn’t facilitate understanding, rather it increased America’s racial dysfunction. In my experience I have found that forcing groups together typically doesn’t work. No, I am not an advocate for segregation, but I am also not an advocate of forced inclusion.
Going back to our original question: Can equal rights be legislated?
No, equality cannot be legislated. Equality is something that an individual must choose. They must adhere to its beckoning within the depths of their soul. Anything else will cause strife. Equality is possible though. It is more than possible to close the employment gap, wage gap, and any other equality-sensitive issue. It must be a choice by the people though.
In the aggregate we must chose equality. We must choose to see each person equally and treat them as such. It’s possible, but before we can do that we must rid ourselves of discriminatory policies like Affirmative Action, even if they’re done with good intention. Like my boss used to tell me when I worked in Corporate America, “It’s not about your intention, it’s about the result.”