According to a new report by the Young Invinsibles an American youth advocacy group, graduates of African-American heritage have a lesser chance of getting the same employment as their white peers who have the same qualifications.
The study published in June 2014 found that African-American graduates need two or more higher levels of education before they can compete on the same level as white graduates in the employment market.
This means that if there are two graduates- one black and one white, who both have a degree in say for instance, banking, both graduated with a first class degree from the same university, chances are the latter will get a juicy job with a fat pay check long before his black counterpart.
Furthermore, for the black graduate to land the same calibre of job as his white friend, he/she would have to undertake further studies on one or more levels to balance the scales and have a shot at that same juicy position.
The study makes a lot of interesting, but rather disheartening suggestions. For instance, 6 years after the big impact of the recession hit, young black men and women (between the ages of 18-34) are feeling the pinch even more than others in the US with a 16.6% unemployment rate compared to 7.1 percent for white youths.
There was also disparity between black male and female employment rates with black females without a diploma having a more favourable outlook (12%) to their male counterparts (15%).
This is probably because of society’s portrayal of black males as gun trotting, drug loving miscreants who are perpetually up to no good.
The bleak findings show that we are still grappling with the legacy of over 150 years of racial discrimination. Some would argue that racism is literally non-existent in today’s world, but studies like these show that while a lot of progress has been made, racism is still a problem in the west and it remains to be seen if black youths will ever have the same opportunities and prospects as their white peers.
Unlike decades ago when people like Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks fought against radical, open racism, the racism black youths are experiencing in the 21st century is more subtle and in many cases easily goes unnoticed. Graduates change their names to English/White sounding names to improve their chances of being called in for an interview. Black youths alter their appearance and imbibe a more western accepted stance in order to fit in and improve their chances of being brought into the elite fold.
The study’s claim ‘that race is associated with disparate unemployment rates at every level of education’ is a wake up call for anyone whose head is still in the clouds as to whether this is an issue or not.
Other factors preventing black youths from gaining employment include their place of residence as an overwhelming percentage live in rural areas or areas that don’t traditionally offer professional services, the low marriage rate amongst young black males as employers might take this to mean a lack of commitment and the unusually high number of black youths in incarceration.
From the moment they step out of college, the few black youths who made it through the education system already have the odds stacked against them and its no wonder that many give up after the first few attempts, adding to the already bleak statistics.
Across the pond here in the UK, it’ll be interesting to see or find out if a similar trend prevails, although it doesn’t really take a genius to see the difference in percentage of black ethnic minorities in top jobs compared to other ethnicities.
The only somewhat good news in this study is that African-American youths who work really hard academically and gain further qualifications have a great chance of earning the same as or even more than their white mates as they should. The solution say the researchers lies in education.
The more educated black youths we have over time, the better our chances of closing the racial gap and to achieve this, everyone from government to parents, schools and societies have a role to play.