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My son is 19 and has been trying to get a job for three years...but nobody will hire him. I don't want to believe it's because he's black, but...

When my son hit 16 in March of 2011, I told him: "Welcome to the work force!"  I took him around to various fast food joints and grocery stores where he put in applications for basically any and every entry level job you can name from dishwasher to bus boy to bagger to stocker to janitor.  We both thought it would be a matter of time before he got an interview and then a job.  However, here it is over three years later and in spite of our continued efforts to find a job for him, he still hasn't been hired.

My son is a great young man.  He graduated from high school last year, made good grades and never got into trouble.  Right now, he's attending the local community college, where he continues to do well.  To put it bluntly, he's a model citizen.

One thing that really exasperates me is that one of his best friends of the Caucasion persuasion who I know well because he lives down the street from us and is roughly the same age, has already been hired at three different nearby places.  All of which are places where my son also applied, including the place with the golden arches, which generally hires almost anyone white that walks in without a prison record.  That young man from down the street is not nearly as intelligent, responsible, well-mannered, well-groomed or well-spoken as my son. Not even close.  Yet, he gets hired repeatedly?  And by the way, the reason he's had at least three jobs is because he keeps getting fired.

And you know the same idiots like Paul Ryan, who like to say young black and brown men are lazy and don't want to work, are the same bigots who won't hire a young black or brown man because they see them as untrustworthy, undesirable and scary. Extremely self-fulfilling, right?

My son is not alone in this ongoing struggle to find work.  According to the Black Youth Project, 83 percent of black male teens in the country are without a job.  And that's not because they don't want to work.  It's because they're largely stigmatized and rejected by hiring officials at American businesses and by our society at large.  

The fact that no one will hire my boy really bothers me and is having a very negative impact on his self-esteem.  Just the other day he asked me, "Is something wrong with me?"  Broke my heart.

When my son asked me that I told him, "No son. You're a wonderful young man. If they can't see that, something is wrong with them."

I imagine there are literally millions of disillusioned unemployed young black men and their parents wondering the exact same damned thing.  And unfortunately, all too many of these young men are so deflated and desperate they turn to lives of crime.  It's a sad and vicious cycle.

I'm of such sufficient means that my boy--no matter how frustrated or downtrodden he gets--won't need to become a criminal just to survive.  But, all my son and millions like him are asking for is a chance to prove they can be some of the best, hardest working, most trustworthy employees in America. They're ready to prove the Paul Ryans of the world wrong. Too bad it's the Paul Ryans of the world who are seemingly best positioned to refuse to give them that opportunity and then berate them.

Originally posted to Kwik on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 06:52 AM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community, Barriers and Bridges, and Support the Dream Defenders.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't know what to say (14+ / 0-)

    I know that what you say is true, and it is infuriating.   I know that we have severeal black men working at our office, and that it was education that got them through the door, but I also know that the CEO and board are all men and white.

    Has he tried a temp agency?    It's possible that, if he could his foot into that ONE door, it might help him build up a resume of short term positions on various jobs.   Another area to focus on is internship.   And, another thing that might help would be to get him to start a linked in page, and then start networking with all of your friends to help him build up an online "reputation".    

    I wish him luck!!

  •  Hmm, where I live it's almost entirely (5+ / 0-)

    black kids working at fast food restaurants, Walmart, etc.

    Which bugs me because I'm almost certain that many of them could be doing something better.

    But as far as the topic of this diary goes, it seems like they're not stigmatized per se wrt the type of job your son is seeking.

  •  See if someone at the Community College (16+ / 0-)

    can help.

    I'd suggest he do an internship with a local social services agency - or something along those lines - often they provide a door to a job.

    I can empathize with how you - your son and the thousands of young black men faced with the same obstacles - are feeling.

     

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 07:14:13 AM PDT

  •  I believe race plays a large role but (0+ / 0-)

    there are also other factors. I know you don't want to give your childs name, but too many kids of color have names that make no sense or someone thought it was cute.  While sad to say kids named LAQuiesha or Quwaice aren't going to get picked up for big name jobs unless someone guides them to that job.  We need to let young Black moms know that throwing some words together or trying to go back to our African roots doesn't work in 2014.  Any strike an employer will use to knock them out they will use.  
    This doesn't mean much for the millions of kids growing up today, but it's true.

    •  The solution to racial discrimination (8+ / 0-)

      in the workplace is not "letting young black moms know" that they named their kids wrong to survive in the white world. Please.

      It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

      by karmsy on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 07:51:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you serious? (6+ / 0-)

        Who do you think is hiring people for jobs?  I can assure you that it isn't some enlightened progressive blogger who spends their afternoon on the Daily Kos.

        There's a good chance if you give your kid a ridiculous name, some person that is hiring them at one point in their life is mocking that name, that's reality.

        Getting a job is more important than solving something that won't be solved like racial discrimination.

        Who ya gonna shoot wit dat homie, you'd rather blast an original instead of a phony, true macaroni, you don't even know me, and why does your gun say n****z only?

        by mim5677 on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:05:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This comment I will tip. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, Kwik

          This point is well-taken. Yes, we still live in world where a white kid from a "nice" area can fuck up--not just once, but several times, royally--and still get the breaks to end up a "success" in life.

          A black kid from a crummy neighborhood just isn't going to have that kind of leeway. They had better get it right on the first try. Or not try, at all.

          No, it sure isn't fair. But it's true.

          Just the same, nothing gives anyone any right to lecture somebody in the position of trying to survive in a hostile culture about "what they need to be doing." You start telling someone, "You should learn how to name your kids," you sound like Dr. Laura.

          It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

          by karmsy on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:44:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't disagree (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            karmsy, Kwik

            at all.  I wish the people responsible for hiring people felt the same.  

            I say this to our participants all the time.

            "We have all worked for someone we felt we were smarter than, take that in to consideration when applying for jobs."

            Who ya gonna shoot wit dat homie, you'd rather blast an original instead of a phony, true macaroni, you don't even know me, and why does your gun say n****z only?

            by mim5677 on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:48:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, it's an interesting line (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Odysseus

              to try to walk, isn't it?

              On the one hand, you're paid to help people find jobs, to advise them, based on your presumably superior knowledge of the job market. On the other hand, the job-seekers you're advising may have had radically different life experiences than you--maybe tougher, a LOT tougher. So you fulfill your professional role by advising, on the one hand, and on the other, you bend over backwards not to be condescending.

              It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

              by karmsy on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 11:00:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think you have an accurate picture of the (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                karmsy, Victor Ward

                people I serve or how that relationship works.

                I don't have to bend over backwards to not be condescending.  

                Who ya gonna shoot wit dat homie, you'd rather blast an original instead of a phony, true macaroni, you don't even know me, and why does your gun say n****z only?

                by mim5677 on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 01:08:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I was merely speculating--pardon. nt (0+ / 0-)

                  It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

                  by karmsy on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 01:23:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's fine (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    karmsy

                    I felt my response would create more confusion.  

                    The people I serve in most cases are in dire straights and often just want me to provide my service and really stay job focused.

                    Who ya gonna shoot wit dat homie, you'd rather blast an original instead of a phony, true macaroni, you don't even know me, and why does your gun say n****z only?

                    by mim5677 on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 01:27:41 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  The solution to racism is not to conform to the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kwik, Odysseus

          expectations of racists, which is what you are calling for.

          There's a good chance if you give your kid a ridiculous name, some person that is hiring them at one point in their life is mocking that name, that's reality.
          No, if you give your child a name that people identify as black then they will face a stigma. There are plenty of white people with names that are ridiculous that don't have nearly as hard a time getting hired because they are clearly white names.
          Getting a job is more important than solving something that won't be solved like racial discrimination.
          And what about all those people who already have their name? Just let them rot without a job? Because this is basically saying we shouldn't do anything for the people already in this situation.

          No War but Class War

          by AoT on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:54:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are not conforming to the expectations of (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Victor Ward

            racists, you are conforming to the overwhelming norm of society.  

            Common black names

            Even among black people common names are pretty bland and just because someone mocks your name doesn't mean they have it out for the entire race, they could just be an idiot, and people have to understand the difference.  

            If the expectation is that every person who hires someone for a job be a highly educated liberal minded person who respects all differences there will be nobody to hire anyone, it is not a realistic expectation.   If someone has a ridiculous name it will be mocked, it's a numbers thing.  

            And what about all those people who already have their name? Just let them rot without a job? Because this is basically saying we shouldn't do anything for the people already in this situation.
            I don't even know what the fuck you are talking about here.  If you make some sense here I will respond, I can almost envision your crying as you were typing this.  Pull yourself together and ask me a real question.  

            Who ya gonna shoot wit dat homie, you'd rather blast an original instead of a phony, true macaroni, you don't even know me, and why does your gun say n****z only?

            by mim5677 on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 01:24:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "the overwhelming norm of society" is racist (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BlackClouds

              And the fact that you point out that we can't accept everyone to be accepting of black names is pretty much proof of that. And of course a great many black boys have names that are mainstream and could be of either race, the diarist noted his son was one of those.

              I don't even know what the fuck you are talking about here.  If you make some sense here I will respond, I can almost envision your crying as you were typing this.  Pull yourself together and ask me a real question.
              Seriously? Crying? Go reread what I wrote and stop being an asshole. If you don't get it the second time around then I'll explain it using fifth grade words.
              If someone has a ridiculous name it will be mocked, it's a numbers thing.
              See, here's the thing. I have what was until recently a really weird name and uncommon. My partner has a really weird name. And yet we can manage to find jobs. Our names are both obviously white. If you think it's just weird names then you're fooling yourself.

              No War but Class War

              by AoT on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 01:50:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're being crazy right now. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Victor Ward

                Seriously, nobody fucking said that people should have white names, so just stop it, seriously right now stop pretending that anyone in this thread thinks that all people should name their kids white or non black names.  Nobody said or implied that.  Recognizing the truth is different from making a recommendation and you need to process that thought before you say anything else.  

                If someone applied for a job with the name Apple they would get mocked, that is not a black name.  The fact that someone finds a name strange does not make them racist, that is a fact that you can't deny.

                You can't ignore reality because "racism" you still have to take part in society and if you or anyone thinks that we are going to solve racism with something as stupid as black names you are living in a fantasy.  

                Who ya gonna shoot wit dat homie, you'd rather blast an original instead of a phony, true macaroni, you don't even know me, and why does your gun say n****z only?

                by mim5677 on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 02:16:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Actually, you didn't say that (0+ / 0-)

                  And because this was in the same thread I got a bit confused and thought you did. but yes, when someone says this: "While sad to say kids named LAQuiesha or Quwaice aren't going to get picked up for big name jobs unless someone guides them to that job."

                  That's pretty clearly picking out black names.

                  You can't ignore reality because "racism" you still have to take part in society and if you or anyone thinks that we are going to solve racism with something as stupid as black names you are living in a fantasy.  
                  And if you think that we're going to solve racism by not pointing out that people are racist then you are living in a fantasy. It's a symptom of racism, pure and simple. Acting like it isn't doesn't get us anywhere.

                  And again, what do you suggest for the folks who already have these "weird" names? Should they just fuck off?

                  No War but Class War

                  by AoT on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 02:34:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  They should do what every one else does (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Victor Ward

                    keep trying, unconventional name or not.

                    Pointing out racism and attempting to solve it through stupid methods are entirely different subjects.  

                    Yes it is racist to look at a you think belongs to (insert race) person and exclude them from __ because of that reason.

                    No it is not racist to look at a name you think is weird and mock it and exclude them from __ because of that reason.

                    But it is dumb to think that the names people give their children is going to solve racism.

                    I wanted to name my son Vader James (last name), my wife said no because she thought he would get ridiculed as a child and have a difficult time finding employment.  She stopped me from naming my child after Lord Darth Vader from Star Wars and it was a good idea.

                    Who ya gonna shoot wit dat homie, you'd rather blast an original instead of a phony, true macaroni, you don't even know me, and why does your gun say n****z only?

                    by mim5677 on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 05:58:28 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  The reality (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Happy Days, karmsy, AoT, poco

        Is that Joe and Jane can drink, party in college, do other stupid things. Leave college and get a high paying job and have a successful life.  Black kid caught doing something wrong? Jail, Criminal Record, No future.  This is why schools like Morehouse and Hampton are so strict with there students. You don't get second chances in this country.  There are Black kids now being kicked out of school in preschool because of "zero-tolerance" And nobody seems to care.

        This is America 2014.  

      •  Research has proven the impact of names (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Victor Ward

        It's a common sense area to be considered, by parents of any race. Along with other considerations of how one presents one's self, either in writing or in person.

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 11:46:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My children have "normal" names (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kwik

          and have still struggled with unemployment. When black unemployment in general is double that of whites and triple that of whites for blacks age 16-24 regardless of the overall economy, the problem is not their name; it goes far far deeper than that.

          Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

          by awesumtenor on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:18:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Absolutely agree (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Victor Ward

            But the debate initiated with the question of parental choice of names, and it is a factor that parents of all races consider in maximizing their childrens' opportunities.

            That doesn't negate that POC end up having to jump more hurdles than others. So if the resumes are from Lakeisha, Dawn, Lisa and Patty, Lakeisha won't make the cut. Then the short list has Dawn, graduate of Howard; and Lisa from SMU; and Patty from UCLA. Finally, community leadership is demonstrated by Dawn's years long involvement with the YWCA, Lisa's role with the Urban League Young Professionals, while Patty is a member of Junior League. Glaringly unfair as it is, Lakeisha "washed out" early on, simply because of her name.

            “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

            by Catte Nappe on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 05:36:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The debate initiated (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kwik

              With the diarist stating despite her son's bring a model citizen, educated and refined, he is unable to find work where his less refined, less educated, less model citizen white peers are able to get hired and fired almost at will. Rather than address the glaring disparity, blame was laid at the feet of young black people for having been given a name that was "too black".

              If we were discussing the incidence of rape among young women and someone laid the blame on their wearing attire that was too revealing or deemed by some to be too sexy when they  leave their homes would you defend that position as well? I doubt it.

              Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

              by awesumtenor on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 10:31:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Amen to that! (0+ / 0-)

            Like you said: The problem is not their name; it goes far far deeper than that.

    •  Names play a role in hiring decisions, but... (7+ / 0-)

      we know they shouldn't. For the record, my son has a very generic name "Anglicized" American name that doesn't offer any ethnic clues.

    •  I am sorry but this is the most racist (5+ / 0-)

      nonsensical, idiotic thing I have read in...24 hours.
      I recommend that you read this article by Jamelle Bouie over at Daily Beast where he asks the question:
      Are Black Names ‘Weird,’ or Are You Just Racist?

      If we focus on “weird” African American names in jokes and conversation, it’s because blacks remain at the bottom of America’s racial caste system. “Hunter” is just as unusual as “Malik,” but it’s understood as “normal” because of its association with white men.
      I suggest you do some introspection.

      Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

      by JoanMar on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:41:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I remember those days. sucked. (11+ / 0-)

    couldn't get a job at my local supermarket, movie theater, various little shops... weird, right?  I was considered bright and well mannered and all that.  my best friend had the same problem, but FINALLY was hired as a dishwasher at one of the local restaurants.

    couldn't be cause it was a mostly white neighborhood... nahhhhh...

    someone above mentioned a temp agency.  in my 20s I did get a lot of jobs, some really good, through those, so there's that.  they tend to chew you and spit you out though.

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 07:22:51 AM PDT

  •  83%? Wow! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez

    Youth unemployment (18-24) is about 50% which is outrageous.  But according to the BLS, black youth unemployment is 62%, the worst.

    The economy is far from useful today.  And let's not go into under-employment or living wages or even minimum wage.  This cannot stand.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 07:24:52 AM PDT

  •  Lack of Black Businesses also doesn't help (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kwik, aimai

    Yesterday we went to a soulfood restaurant here in Indy. Delicious food!!!!  As we walked in to this crowded restaurant a Caucasian man and woman welcomed and helped us. All the while all of the other employees were Black.   Turns out they have owned the place for years, but stay in the background so most people don't notice.   Now there is nothing wrong with this, but I ask why don't people of color own a restaurant where every employee and every customer was of color???  Even with redlining and racism over the last 50 plus years you cant say there isn't enough money in the Black community to fund a soul food restaurant.

    •  The solution to racial discrimination (4+ / 0-)

      in the workplace is also not to "get black employers in soul-food places to hire black kids."

      This comment, though you probably didn't mean it that way, sounds rather patronizing.

      It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

      by karmsy on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 07:56:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not patronizing at all (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kwik

        If Black people owned businesses, supermarkets, banks, restaurants, pharmacies, etc... Black kids who were qualified would work there.  I have heard a saying all of my life which is true. You will never see a Black kid working at a Chinese restaurant in a black neighborhood.    Go check it out.  They have Latino cooks now in some of them, but nobody that looks like their customers.   I have a relative who founded the Black United Fund of NY.  You should check it out and see what happened to it once Gov. Spitzer decided it was too successful.   www.kermiteady.com

    •  Black people have never had enough biz to (7+ / 0-)

      employ most black people.

      The economy sucks & we are the last hired & first fired, always.

      nosotros no somos estúpidos

      by a2nite on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:33:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's an idea (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      milkbone, Odysseus, AoT, smkyle1

      You find banks that will lend to black people at anything approaching the rate they are willing to lend to white people, and I bet more black people will start businesses.

      In the mean time, how about ceasing to fill the thread with trite suggestions that do nothing to counter racism, while not-so-subtly blaming the victim for a system that is completely rigged against them.

      :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
      Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

      by radical simplicity on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:29:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm in. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        radical simplicity

        In theory, every part of that already exists.  How do we make that theory a reality?

        There are no words to express the intensity of my interest in solving this.

        -7.75 -4.67

        "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

        There are no Christians in foxholes.

        by Odysseus on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 10:06:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary, thanks. (5+ / 0-)

    I admit, I never understood the phrase "youth unemployment" until recently. If you were underage and wanted a part-time minimum-wage job, I thought all you had to do was go and ask a local shopkeeper to hire you. Easy. Like I did, in the 1980s. (I had some truly lousy early-work-experience breaks, ones I did not deserve, back in the 1980s, but that's for another thread.)

    I've started to understand that the "job shortage" doesn't just apply to living-wage full-time jobs; it also means that high-school and college-age people often can't get the leg-up they need to be productive members of society.

    Often, it's due to reasons entirely not their fault.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 07:36:17 AM PDT

  •  42.6% unemployment among black youth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    last I checked.

    I doubt that any unemployment, underemployment, or workforce participation problems are going to be addressed any time soon, and certainly I don't expect this one to be addressed first, if anything ever actually is done.

    The chance for stuff like this to be addressed was 2009-2010.

    Sure once I was young and impulsive, I wore every conceivable pin. Even went to socialist meetings, learned all the old union hymns. Ah, but I've grown older and wiser. And that's why I'm turning you in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 07:57:23 AM PDT

    •  Lol yes, we had two years only to fix our racial (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight

      problems in America, and we could've solved it all the , too.

      /s

      So it's 2014 now...what's the strategy...complain about the past? I don't think that will change anything.

      While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

      by GoGoGoEverton on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:40:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think this is funny at all. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        smkyle1

        And we did have only two years to make a start, and we could have made a good one. We didn't.

        What is there to LOL about? The 42.6% figure or the 83% figure?

        Sure once I was young and impulsive, I wore every conceivable pin. Even went to socialist meetings, learned all the old union hymns. Ah, but I've grown older and wiser. And that's why I'm turning you in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:43:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your ridiculous assertion (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Victor Ward

          that the average young black male's plight in the US, difficult since the colonial era, could've been solved in 2 years, and since it wasn't cannot be helped now, is chuckle-worthy Dem spite, absolutely.

          While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

          by GoGoGoEverton on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:49:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's your assertion. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WisePiper, radical simplicity

            I said we could have made a good start, and we didn't. And we could have. And we didn't.

            I didn't say it couldn't be helped now. I said I didn't know how to do it. Given the Tea-party-controlled House, which you and yours use as an excuse for turning up your hands and saying "Sorry but nothing can be done!" on just about every topic, I think I can be forgiven for not seeing how we can make headway on this via federal politics. Especially since, when we had the nation's first African-American president with a 65% approval rating, and large Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate, we failed to do anything, which makes most clear-eyed people more than a little dubious about the idea that all we need do is throw Republicans out of office and replace them with Democrats to make headway on this and any number of other issues.

            Regardless, the federal government is currently not a place conducive to bettering the lot of anybody unemployed, much less young black men, who have it the hardest and are the least regarded by people in power, who generally see them as nothing but potential criminals.

            Sure once I was young and impulsive, I wore every conceivable pin. Even went to socialist meetings, learned all the old union hymns. Ah, but I've grown older and wiser. And that's why I'm turning you in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:16:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Are black female youth being hired at a greater (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, AoT

    rate? Because it's a long distance from 42.6% to 83%. Oh well, maybe it just got a lot worse since the last time I looked at the stats.

    We can expect all these measures to keep getting worse. The people actually running the country are not interested in creating jobs outside prisons and foreign sweatshops. And they're no friends of the black community either.

    This is what happens when a handful of rich white men with seriously vile ideas about money and society (not even Roosevelt or Kennedy-style ethics here, who with all their flaws were capable of occasionally having good ideas and implementing them) anyway, this is what happens when rich white men with neoconservative or Randian ideas get more or less total control over the government at all levels.

    As the extraction of money and resources and its concentration at the highest levels increases, you can expect crap like this to get worse and worse.

    Sure once I was young and impulsive, I wore every conceivable pin. Even went to socialist meetings, learned all the old union hymns. Ah, but I've grown older and wiser. And that's why I'm turning you in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:02:46 AM PDT

  •  If it has been three years (0+ / 0-)

    the problem isn't his skin color.

    I help black people with serious backgrounds get jobs and they often do it in less than six months.  

    There is something wrong with his job search but it's not his color.

    Who ya gonna shoot wit dat homie, you'd rather blast an original instead of a phony, true macaroni, you don't even know me, and why does your gun say n****z only?

    by mim5677 on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:08:30 AM PDT

    •  Well then, why don't you offer to help him (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight

      Or would you rather pronounce unfounded assumptions about someone you've never met, living someplace you don't, in order to prove you're the awesomest?

      :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
      Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

      by radical simplicity on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:32:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm what would be considered (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Victor Ward

        an expert in the field.  

        The reason I haven't offered any help or advice is because that would be presumptuous of me.  Someone in my situation would have to ask questions about what types of behaviors they are practicing in their job search and it wouldn't be fair or do any good to offer small chunks of advice without any context or follow up.  

        What I did was offer some clarity as to what is not holding him back based on the information his mother gave.  Based on my years of experience helping people with barriers to employment overcome those barriers and get jobs, I feel confident that his race is not the problem.

        Had she given a description of what was actually happening when he went to apply for a job, how he was answering interview questions, etc... I would have provided advice based on that information.  She did not, so I did not.

        My assumptions were based on information not a desire to prove how good I am at my job.  

        Murderers, sex-offenders, thieves, drug addicts and dealers, people with disabilities of all types, and people of all colors.  I have helped every one of these types of individuals get jobs, I know when race is an issue and when tactics are an issue.  I don't need to meet someone to tell the difference even with limited information.  

        It's not because I think I am good, it is because I have the experience and trust in my ability.  Why does that make you mad?  I know more about this type of thing than most people, isn't that just a product of my hardwork?

        Who ya gonna shoot wit dat homie, you'd rather blast an original instead of a phony, true macaroni, you don't even know me, and why does your gun say n****z only?

        by mim5677 on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:42:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It comes across as victim blaming (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, Kwik, BlackClouds

          You feel qualified to state that there must be something wrong with this young man, because his skin color cannot be the problem, even though you know exactly nothing about him, his background, his location or his interviewing presentation.

          I grew up in a very white community - one that was so bigoted it drove several highly respected professional sports celebrities out of town (Jim Rice, KC Jones, and others). It is a well-heeled, "respectable," suburban, northern community that just happens to have a deep vein of very strong racism.

          There are places in this country where absolutely everything is about the color of your skin. There are places where you might be able to buy your way into the country club, but that doesn't mean you won't be shunned when you deign to walk in the door - no matter how much money you have, how well educated you are, or how respect-worthy you may be.

          I am glad you have a good track record of helping people find jobs against terrible odds, but you are using your experience where you live as a lens by which to judge everyone everywhere, and implying that what is clearly a systemic problem in our country (83% is systemic, period) is really the fault of the victims.

          :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
          Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

          by radical simplicity on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:57:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are not understanding what I am saying... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Be Skeptical, Victor Ward

            I didn't say there is anything wrong with him.  

            To go even further I didn't even say there was anyone responsible for his not being able to find a job in three years.

            I simply said that his job search is where the issues are.

            That says absolutely nothing about him or his character period.

            There may be a place in this country where race is everything but McDonald's ain't one of those places.

            I live in Minnesota, no state in the union has a worse disparity of unemployment between blacks and whites.

            Funny they wrote this today.

            See what you are thinking since I'm saying this case isn't about race that I am blaming the victim if there is one and that I am implying something beyond what I am saying and that would be incorrect.

            When 83% is the number we want to use, I can assure you that some of the blame if we need to blame someone rest squarely on the shoulders of the youth.  I could provide many examples if you want.  Some of the blame falls on employers as well but back to the case of the person we are talking about 3 years is too long to blame on something as simple as racism.  You could have figured that out after 6 months and came up with a solution, 3 years means something else is going on. It's what I know from what I do, no judgement, just assessment.

            Who ya gonna shoot wit dat homie, you'd rather blast an original instead of a phony, true macaroni, you don't even know me, and why does your gun say n****z only?

            by mim5677 on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 10:26:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  There are plenty places (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kwik, AoT

      where his skin color will prevent or impede his getting a job - and all the social science data backs that up.

      The high rate of Black male youth unemployment isn't an accident

      Hell - my local HS here wouldn't even hire black teachers - for years and years. I'm in NYS.

      "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:40:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's not the case with this kid (0+ / 0-)

        if it was I would say so but this is what I do for a living.

        I live in a state with the worst racial disparity in the country with regards to employment.

        I find lots of jobs for people of color with significant barriers to employment in less than three years all the time.

         

        Who ya gonna shoot wit dat homie, you'd rather blast an original instead of a phony, true macaroni, you don't even know me, and why does your gun say n****z only?

        by mim5677 on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:46:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I am sorry. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radical simplicity, Odysseus

    I would do something about this if I could, but I'm honestly not sure what to do. Since my money is tied up in supporting people who can't get jobs or who can no longer work due to failing health, I can't even start a small business to employ some people.

    When you have to use your resources as an umbrella for your near and dear, you can't use them to benefit the larger society. Which I guess is the point of this financial and economic Blitzkrieg.

    Sure once I was young and impulsive, I wore every conceivable pin. Even went to socialist meetings, learned all the old union hymns. Ah, but I've grown older and wiser. And that's why I'm turning you in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:10:35 AM PDT

  •  Dress conservatively when meeting an employer (0+ / 0-)

    I don't know how your son presents himself to potential employers, so I am making this comment to those who don't do what I recommend.

    For men, clean and pressed khaki pants, polo shirt or collared shirt in a light solid color or white with no printing on them.  Wear shoes not sneakers.  Hair conservatively cut.  For other jobs, a sport coat and tie are needed, others require a suit.  

    People react to people based on dress and make assumptions about them.  People generally dress to reflect how they would like other people to perceive them.  

    Too many young men apply for work dressed for what their friends would like rather than an what an employer thinks there future employees look like.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:31:24 AM PDT

    •  Believe me, he grooms & dresses appropriately... (4+ / 0-)

      Being a professional myself. I see to it. And he's far more articulate at 19 than I ever could've dreamed of being.

      •  If you know small business owners or a person (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kwik, Catte Nappe, Odysseus

        responsible for hiring at a larger company, have your son meet this person and ask the business person if their is anything your son should be doing differently to improve how he presents himself to potential employers.  This should be done without any expectation that these business people are expected to hire your son.  It is best to do this with 2 to 4 business people.  Don't argue with them if they make any negative comments, ask them to expand on their comments and mention any other issues, make it easy for them to tell you things that could be improved.  If more than one business person make similar comments, there is a high probability what they are saying is true.

        Have this discussed both with and without your son being present.  

        Also, as your son is studying at community college, apply for entry positions at companies he would target after getting his associate degree.

        While waiting for a job offer, your son should consider volunteering for a credible, non-political organization , preferably one supported by local businesses, so he can develop references and possibly leads for jobs.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:54:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Do you live in the South and/or (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez

    a depressed area?

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:42:37 AM PDT

  •  The conservative solution to this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical

    is to do away with the minimum wage.

    No, seriously, they bring that up in the same sentence as the black teenage unemployment rate on a regular basis.

    29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:50:20 AM PDT

  •  HELP YOUR SON LEARN TO PROGRAM (5+ / 0-)

    i cannot stress this enough.

    it is INCREDIBLY EASY to get a job if you are a programmer. I am a self employed black male and have been for about ten years now. If your son has any desire to learn programming, and always wants to be able to find a job, please, please please help him learn to program.

    •  That's a great idea! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Denise Oliver Velez, AoT, scorinaldi

      Thanks. I'll mention this to him.

    •  Not necessarily (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, Odysseus, scorinaldi

      Age and connections are the determining factors in getting a job in tech, unless you have the wrong amount of pigment in your skin, in which case it's color, age, and connections.

      You can't be too old, or you're out. You had better have strong connections to people who work in places that are hiring. And you probably shouldn't be black, especially if you're going to try to get a job without connections.

      Headhunters literally will NOT send black people on interviews unless the hiring manager has specifically requested "diversity" or some other code for people who are not lily white. I know, because as a hiring manager, I asked a headhunter why there were no applicants of color, and the response was "we didn't know you wanted any." After that, I had to tell every single headhunter I worked with that I wanted a diverse team.

      Headhunters want to be successful in their placements, because it increases their income. In a bigoted society, it is in their financial interest to discriminate by not sending people of color on interviews. And this is a very bigoted society.

      :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
      Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

      by radical simplicity on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:41:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That varies a LOT from place to place (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Be Skeptical

        and from time to time. And even more so when it comes to someone who has experience. But networking is key, if you have some other interest and you learn to program/sysadmin/whatever computer stuff, then you are much more likely to get a job in the business, especially for black men, in my experience.

        No War but Class War

        by AoT on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 10:32:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  you're right it's not a guarantee (0+ / 0-)

        BUT it's pretty damn close. I've been self employed as a programmer for a long time, gigging doing django / python / mysql, etc.. for clients who don't work through hiring managers.

        haven't wanted or needed a full time job, and haven't had to get one

        take it from someone who does it for a living--programming offers an INSANE degree of flexibility,

  •  I'm just so sorry for your son. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, Kwik

    This is just crushing, and so very unfair.  I don't have any "helpful suggestions" or anything like that. That would be ridiculous. I just have tons of empathy.

  •  I wonder... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kwik, Catte Nappe

    I wonder if there is any public information on minority owned businesses in your area.   It's possible that a minority owned business might be more willing to give him a start.   I really think that's all he needs -- a start.  Once he has "experience" on his resume, it will get easier.  His experience and references will help to push past prejudice, at least in some situations.

  •  Apply Where Someone You Know Works (5+ / 0-)

    This situation breaks my heart. It is difficult these days for all teenagers to get their first job, but even more so for young black men.

    Ask your friends about part time jobs where they work. A lot of these are never posted and end up going to kids whose parents or friends work there. Once your son has had a job it should be easier to find the next one. Nepotism is a great way to get a first job, whatever race you are.

    If he still can't find a job, get him to do some volunteer work so he has something that shows his abilities and responsibility on his resumé.

    "The Trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat." attributed to Lily Tomlin

    by uniqity on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:35:40 AM PDT

    •  Volunteer work is a good way... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT

      to start building a resume. Nice idea. Thx.

    •  Foot in the door, but not necessarily closure. (0+ / 0-)

      My experience with internal recommendations is mixed.

      I had a dozen year career in one field, took a three year sabbatical to get licensed in another, and eventually returned to the first.

      After that return switch, employee references were critical to getting me interviews.  6 of the 7 interviews I got were because an internal acquaintance recommended me.  However, the 7th was the one that hired me, via a traditional recruiter.

      My current job came from an employee referral, but it was the only application I sent out, so there's no comparison for effectiveness.

      Employee referrals are better than nothing, and they clearly work for some people, but don't expect too much.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 11:58:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Racism continues to be a dominant issue in America (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, Kwik, awesumtenor

    Studies have shown that:
    1) Whites with a criminal record have a better chance of gaining employment than black men with clean records.
    2) After submitting a job application, people with “black sounding” names are less likely to be called for a job interview.

    Keeping in mind that hindsight is 20/20, I feel that black mothers must enlighten their children about these and other facts that will impact their adult lives.

    It can be doubly traumatizing to grow up shielded from these realities only to learn them when entering adulthood without forewarning.

    I remember so clearly when I noticed that my son – at the age of 14 – was beginning to look like a man.  We are black. He is dark skinned and was beginning to show signs that he would probably grow to be a very big muscular man. My gut told me that I needed to have “the talk” with him. Black people know what I'm talking about. I had to prepare him for what he'd likely face in his encounters with the white world especially as he began to look more like a man and less like a cute little boy. All of my son's friends (and he was very popular so I'm talking dozens) were non-black because we didn't live in a black community and he was the only black kid in any of his classes from 3rd grade through 12th. Because he was popular, my concern was that he'd balk at my attempts to explain racism to him – he was so connected to his friends and their families welcomed him into their homes with open arms. But what I sensed was that that was going to change, especially as he went through puberty. And, sadly, it did.

    Not long after I'd warned him to be careful when he was out and about with his tight-knit group, an incident occurred that made him take note. He was about 15. A half dozen of his friends were going to the cineplex. He went with them. After the movie was over as they exited the theater, they walked into a situation immediately outside. They walked into a huge crowd which was normal (we live in Los Angeles) but this time, several police officers were rounding up a bunch of kids in the crowd. The kids being rounded up were all black. The officers then grabbed my son.  My son asked what this was all about. They gave him no answer. My son then frantically told his buddies, “Call my mom!!”. The officers looked at my son's friends and asked them if they knew my son. They answered YES! The officers asked if my son was with them. Again they answered YES! So the police let my son go. This was my son's initiation into life as a black man. His word meant nothing. He had to be vouched for by his white friends before the police would believe he had nothing to do with whatever they thought he'd done.

    Today he holds advanced degrees, is married, owns property, and by most measures is a successful man. But more important, he is a kind gentleman with a beautiful loving spirit but even today, he gets hassled.  I worry about him everyday because the LAPD and the Los Angeles County Sheriffs give people like my son grief.  DWB, driving-while-black, seems to offer them probable cause for pulling him over at will.

    I could go on but won't. I'll end this by saying that black parents owe a duty to their children, especially their male offspring. The kinds of encounters my son has had did not take him by surprise. He was coached on how to respond. He went to a great 4 yr university and then on to graduate school. He still struggles with racism at work and in the world but at least he's in a better position than he would have been in if I had not prepared him.

  •  A post-graduate education is a must... (0+ / 0-)

    If you're Black and expect to compete in the workforce. And please make sure he understand that his major should be a 'profitable' one - not one that takes 5 years to acquire, costs an add'l $50k in tuition, but doesn't result in a fat salary at the end. - a fellow African American

    •  It helps (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kwik, Be Skeptical, smkyle1

      but it is not a must... not in all fields, at least. In the IT field one can be black and do very well without a post-grad degree. My experience has been that having aptitude to learn and adjust, adapt and perform without requiring formal training and being willing to stretch oneself to add skills to one's skillset and taking initiative to take on challenges can make one more employable even than those with post-grad degrees...

      Even with all of that, sometimes the best thing one can do is go where work is in one's field... in IT that generally means either coast although there are places where jobs and incomes are plentiful in between...

      Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

      by awesumtenor on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:42:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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