Black Unemployment So Bad The UN Investigating: What This Really Means

In a recent article on the United Nations may investigate the incredibly low numbers for black employment in the U.S. The United Nations governing body is making the claim that the U.S. government is not living up to its commitment set up under previous human rights agreements. Among other absolutely sobering statistics listed in the article, the rate of unemployment for black men is at 20.2% in comparison to 9.6% for white men. These rates may be worse because the percentage does not include the numbers of people who simply stopped looking for employment. The rate of pay for black men is also lower than white men. The rate of unemployment is not monolithic. It goes across the spectrum of black life from the young, old, college educated, high school educated, urban or rural.

If the facts in this report are true, there are some serious things that need to be addressed. Systematically and socially blacks have been at the bottom of the employment ladder since Slavery. It is often said that when America catches a cold, black America has the flu. This report and subsequent investigation by the United Nation only proves that point further.

The first systemic issue that needs to be addressed is how we properly educate black people from elementary school to college graduation in hopes of gaining employment during those years and beyond. I believe that as long as education continues to be one of the most segregated and imbalanced facets of American culture, then we can not be surprised when black unemployment mirrors that. How can we expect black people to be adequately prepared for work that in today's market calls for more education, if the level of education blacks attain is not on par with whites.

Secondly the issue of black incarceration, especially amongst males needs to be on the forefront. The amount of black men in prison is completely disproportionate to their percentages in the general population. More often than not the reason for incarceration stems from non-violent drug offenses. When inmates are released, it is often very difficult to find employment based on felony convictions. The laws in the U.S. need to be overhauled so that they can be more fair to people of color. Laws also need to be reformed so that when inmates do come out of jail that they are able to obtain employment. At the end of the day the system becomes very circular. Someone gets locked up, serves their time, gets released, can't find a job and get locked up again. This cycle is ugly and often is the norm.

Blame needs to be spread around not only amongst larger segments of society. Black people can and should take their fair share of the blame for the unemployment issues that are prevalent. Black people often blame others when they do not push ourselves to be better and do better. If they do not strive for excellence and success then they can not expect it to be given to them. Black people need to create economic opportunities for others in their community as well. When black people do this, then they will not need to be dependent on others.

The issue of black unemployment is a long and deep one. The causes of low employment is very cyclical and multifaceted. There is more than enough blame for everyone to take some ownership. But at the end of the day the larger question must be asked and hopefully answered. What can we do, as a larger society to make sure this issue is addressed? It is beautiful that there are instances where black people achieve huge successes. But that needs not be an aberration, but the norm. But on a much simpler scale black people do not need huge examples of success. Simply all they need is an opportunity to make a livable wage and be fully functioning participants in creating their own American Dream. Is that too much to ask for?


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