Capitalism Crucifying Americans of Color

The Black Commentator has a good piece on the Bush Depression that has already hit hard many Americans of color. This is the black and Latino situation, which has many elite white male capitalists as the ultimate creators of it:

Unemployment now stands at 13.3 percent among African American – 15.4 percent for black men. There were 124,000 fewer black people at work in March than in February. Hispanic workers’ unemployment was 11.4 percent last month, up from 7.0 percent a year ago. The rate for white job seekers stood at 7.9 percent in March, up from 4.5 percent a year ago.

These are gross underestimates of unemployment since the government under top capitalists’ pressure leaves out people who have given up looking for work, or who want full time work but can only find part time work. Capitalism’s catastrophic failures can also be seen in many other areas:

Unemployment is not the only area where capitalism’s current crisis is battering African American individuals and families. Taken as a whole black people are getting poorer as a result of developments over which they have no control. The mortgage crisis has hit especially hard with housing foreclosures reducing economic assets that people had worked hard to acquire and was key to their plans for the future. African American median family income has actually declined over the past decade.

Creative Commons License photo credit: japetonida

United for a Fair Economy has a good report by Amaad Rivera, Jeannette Huezo, Christina Kasica, and Dedrick Muhammad on how dire this situation is, with related data on the “silent depression”:

Many American Blacks today are already experiencing a silent economic depression that, in terms of unemployment, equals or exceeds the Great Depression of 1929. Almost 12% of Blacks are unemployed; this is expected to increase to nearly 20% by 2010. Among young Black males aged 16-19, the unemployment rate is 32.8%, while their white counterparts are at 18.3%. Overall, 24% of Blacks and 21% of Latinos are in poverty, versus 8% of whites. In the corporate world, we are seeing the highest executive pay and the biggest bailouts in history. CEO pay is 344 times that of the average worker.* The riches of the few mask the deepening recession in the working class and the depression in communities of color. Extreme economic inequality (which the U.S. experienced in the 1920s and is again experiencing now) is often a key indicator of recession and/or depression.

The Black Commentator article also notes the international impact:

The situation facing African Americans and other people of color in the U.S. has a global corollary. The policies carried out by the major industrialized countries amid the expanded process of globalization have for decades increased the inequities both between and within many countries.


  1. And one wonders why so many African Americans vote left or why the tea-parties had so, so much milk.

    Al in all, capitalism isn’t a bad type of economy to have. But when the capitalist and capitalism is used to maintain a racial hierarchy, we get the results.

    One of the things the occurs to me is that this flies in the face of the meme that minorities don’t want to work or haven’t educated ourselves enough; that the problem is our culture. Can culture really make us that unemployable? Really? And I suppose it’s also our culture that causes the mainstream media not to notice a crisis until it begins to creep on the door steps of white Americans.

    Of course, I’m being sarcastic, but I hope you get my point.

  2. siss

    [Among young Black males aged 16-19, the unemployment rate is 32.8%, while their white counterparts are at 18.3%.]
    Kids in this age group WILL have high unemployment rates, reguardless of race, because they should be in school, not in the work force…

  3. Victor Ray

    Wow, Siss, I have seen you say a lot of uninformed things but the above is preposterous. If all kids in this age group will have high unemployment rates, how does this explain the yawning gap between 18 and 32 percent?

    A ton of social science research, much of it featured on this blog, shows that black men are hugely discriminated against in the workforce. A week or two ago Jessie posted an article about institutional discrimination in hiring in New York restaurants. Also, Devah Pager has an infamous study showing that white men WITH CRIMINAL RECORDS are more likely to get called back for jobs that equally qualified black men without.

    I know that evidence doesn’t necessarily convince people who are certain that many (most?) things can be explained “regardless of race,” but your above statement is profoundly misinformed.

  4. siss

    Kstate, these numbers do reflect summer/partime jobs, good point.
    I never addressed the gap Vic, I just suggested a reason why they are so high… not why they are disproportionate. No need to regurgitate what already has been established or be defensive.

  5. Victor Ray

    If this is “regardless of race” as you claim it is consistent that you assume other factors may be causing the gap. That is not defensive, just logical.

  6. siss

    Since you missed my point, yet again, Ill just restate: I never addressed the gap Vic, I just suggested a reason why they are so high… not why they are disproportionate.

  7. Toby

    As a person who works as a vocational counselor it is difficult to say if most of these employment problems are simply due to race. I work with people who also have some serious mental health issues add to that a poor work history and a criminal history-no matter how minor-plus transportation issues and finding/keeping work is a tremendous problems.
    On a side note it is harder to place a white person with a few college degrees in a job they “think” they can handle than a black man with a 10th grade education who is willing to work almost anywhere. These days it’s easier to find work for people with developmental disabilities than highly educated people!

    By the way “race” is rarely an issue in my office since I will often initiate that issue myself.

  8. Aaron

    “The Bush Depression?”

    I’m no supporter, but the seeds for the current economic situation were probably set in the mid-80s – when the debt crisis we are in now began. Bush certainly contributed to the situation, but there is blame to be laid on both sides of the aisle in DC.

    As for the “meat” of the post – I’d say the lack of awareness/understanding of the disproportionately high unemployment rates (especially for Blacks), from an ideological standpoint has a lot to do with colorblindness. In the “race no longer matters” era popular explanation will just reside at the individual level further perpetuating the problem at hand.

  9. Toby

    No1kstate: liars never figure and figures never lie.
    And, what does the research show? Nothing-just empty numbers to manipulate and play around with. Just like the so-called research that states that one out of every 4 children will be diagnosed with Autism.
    By the way my statements concerning unemployment were based on observations not on opinion. Hopefully researchers will do the same.

  10. Researchers just don’t “observe.” They observe closely and record. The count every occurence, not just the ones the stick out to them. Hense, why we take stock up our country by results of research and not the random observations of random people.

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