Growing Up Black in America – The Job Market

The job market in America is one of the best in the world. Capitalism is a way of life here and it is possible to find your way to financial independence. Many people come to America in search of the American dream and some do find it. Sadly this country’s wealth has been held predominantly […]

Growing Up Black in America – The Job Market

The job market in America is one of the best in the world. Capitalism is a way of life here and it is possible to find your way to financial independence. Many people come to America in search of the American dream and some do find it.

Sadly this country’s wealth has been held predominantly by one group of people – white men. They have had the benefit of a better education, some come from families that were wealthy and that wealth is passed down and they are taught that they are privileged
from an early age. The really sad part in our American history is that many of these same people have thought it right to take advantage of people who are not like them and do not have the same benefits in their heritage.

All we have to do is look at foreigners who have come here to build a better life. The Indians who were here before the English and how they were robbed of their land and their heritage. The blacks who were brought to America as unwilling slaves and forced to endure the hardships of slavery at the hands of people who fled England to escape oppression only to come to America and continue the same practices.

Working as a black American means that when you go to apply for a job most times the person who interviews you is white. They are not looking to engage fairly in their hiring practices with such things as nepotism and prejudice guiding their decisions. Now before you think these claims to be false let me share some firsthand personal experiences;

1) While in college and working my way through school I worked in an office. I was taking accounting classes and an opening for a beginning bookkeeper opened up. The current Bookkeeper was retiring and the Junior Bookkeeper in the office needed help. My boss put me in the office to help out since he knew I was in college for accounting. I proved myself in the office and applied for the job. The Junior Bookkeeper was being promoted and wanted me to take her job because we worked well together.

The company ended up hiring a man with no accounting background for the position and wanted the Junior Bookkeeper to train him. When I asked why I was not being offered the job the response was “he is a white man with a family to support.” This was my first up close picture of job discrimination.

2) I worked for a company that fired me after 7 months saying I was not performing. This same company released a 50 year old white woman and a 43 year old Mexican American who worked in the same position as I did. When I complained legally it was revealed that my boss was prejudiced against anyone over 50 and black people. He had made claims months before that I would never survive at this company because he would make sure I failed. I pointed out that I was the only black employee there in that division and racial prejudice seemed the obvious reason. Needless to say they went out and hired some “token blacks, Spanish and older people” so that it would not appear they were prejudice.

3) I was the first black person to move into my neighborhood. My neighbors did not speak to me when I spoke as I saw them outside. They never invited us to block parties. Yet one day my neighbor had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. His wife was visibility worried and which house did she come to asking for help? Her daughter was in school and she needed to go to the hospital. She asked my wife who comforted her and took care of her daughter while they were away. The black family had to come through to help the white family who had ignored them as neighbors for years.

Let me ask: how many people do you know were fired strictly because of their skin color? If you are a black American and you work here there is a good chance you will face racial discrimination. If you move into the wrong neighborhood you will face discrimination. Conditions have improved but make no mistake. It still exists and is like the Corona Virus spreading hate when it should be spreading love.

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