Institutional Racism in Employment and Unemployment, Again

Aaron Glatnz has a good but too brief article at NewAmericaMedia on the continuing racial impact of the Bush recession/depression on the US, with its still 9.7 percent unemployment rate:

The unemployment rate for whites held steady at 8.8 percent compared to February and went down for Asians from 8.4 percent to 7.5 percent. But it rose to 16.5 percent for blacks from 15.8 percent. Hispanics showed a slight increase as well from 12.4 percent to 12.6 percent.

White and Asian Americans, according to these statistics, are not hurting as much as groups of workers as black and Latino Americans. One major reason for the differential is that governments are now cutting public services on a huge scale, as a quote from Seth Wessler, a researcher at the Applied Research Center, indicates:

“If the bus line you depend on is cut, it’s impossible to look for a job or even hold onto the one you have . . . and we know that across the country – from New York to Los Angeles – bus service is being cut and fares are increasing.”

Glatnz also quotes Peter Edelman, director of the Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy at the Georgetown University, about where job growth will come as the economy presumably recovers:

“The jobs that we project over the next decade that are reasonably well paying involve a degree of skills and a degree of preparation…and people of color have disparate educational attainment,” and will be less able to land that work without an associates degree or certificate from a local community college.

Census jobs may help some communities, but only temporarily and with modest paying jobs. They will be gone soon. And inequality in education looms again as a large factor in maintaining the systemic racism still foundational in this society.

There are many angles to this sorry story, and one recent one is how poorer American students are increasingly dropping out of college or seeking out the weak diploma mill colleges as a solutions to soaring costs. One recent investigative report by Peter Byrne discusses this issue in connection with an assessment of the situation of the University of California’s wealthy regents who are business investors, such as the chair of the regents who

has an abiding interest in education—a financial interest: while serving as chairman of the Regents, and head of the investment committee, he took control of a very profitable, national network of “diploma mills,” worth about $3 billion. These “career education” schools rely on federally subsidized student loans to generate profits that are then privately invested. Some of Blum’s schools have been investigated by government agencies (and sued by individuals) for, allegedly, delivering substandard educations, and, allegedly, concentrating on generating government-guaranteed student loan revenue at the expense of providing students with quality educations.

This article discusses the “creeping privatization of the University of California system,” a reality that means

as the UC system becomes increasingly expensive (and racially exclusive), lower income students are turning toward diploma mills.

The same is likely true for other major universities across the country. This is a structural and national problem, not just a local one, as the country becomes ever more unequal along racial and class lines.