A Generation of Black Youth Is Losing Its Future in the Jobs Crisis
Naima Ramos-Chapman, Colorlines, November 18, 2010
A job deferred, is a dream deferred. The Great Recession has set youth unemployment rates skyrocketing to unprecedented altitudes, leaving 4.4 million young people without work just as we begin our careers—a stunning share of them African Americans. There are of course immediate consequences—wrestling with college loans, overstaying our welcome at our parents’ homes, plain frustration. But we’ll also be living with the consequences for many years. In particular, it is likely to mean that the already large black-white wealth gap—a disparity that many researchers say defines economic inequity—will grow as my generation comes of age.
Black youth have the highest jobless rate among all races and ethnicities, and that rate is still rising. In the past year, while other youth jobless rates have flat-lined, blacks and Asians have continued to trend upward. And existing racial disparities have widened across the board since the recession began. As of July 2010, while white youth unemployment rate was 16.2 percent, the jobless rates for black youth was double: A whopping 33.4 percent.
Many things drive that alarming statistic. There’s the fact that African Americans as a whole are feeling the brunt of the recession more severely than other demographics. And then there’s the long list of other inequities that black youth face and that, in turn, make employment more difficult even in a good market: the high drop out rates and the uniquely aggressive policing of black neighborhoods, to name two. (Read the full article)