For Discussion: White Folks Have Recovered From Recession, Blacks Still Suffering As Middle Class Declines

- By Bossip Staff Categories: Bolitics, News, Race Matters

recession blacks

The recession has been real for the past few years and unfortunately for people in our community there has been no relief or recovery; meanwhile white people have been able to overcome:

Who gets more job callbacks: White felons or blacks with clean records?

Horace Davis did become a drug dealer. He illustrates another dimension of the recession’s impact on blacks: While law-abiding folks are falling out of the middle class, those who got in trouble with the law are further than ever from a second chance.

After serving four years for drug trafficking, Davis walked out of prison into the middle of the recession in 2008. “I thought to myself, I’m older, I need to get a job, move on. The dope game was dead to me,” Davis says, sitting on a concrete porch in an Asheville, N.C., housing project.

In the past few decades of the “War on Drugs,” harsh sentencing laws have sent a disproportionate number of black people to prison, even though blacks are not more likely than whites to sell or use drugs, according to a 2008 report by the Sentencing Project. Today, about 280,000 African-Americans emerge from behind bars each year. They are often the last of the last to be hired.

After Davis got out, he spent months applying for dozens of jobs mopping floors or flipping burgers. He carried a letter from the state offering a $2,500 tax credit for hiring ex-offenders. He got one call back, from a chicken restaurant. “We’ll be in touch,” Davis remembers them saying. They weren’t.

“Nobody wants black felons in their businesses,” says Davis, 26.

A 2003 University of Chicago study by Devah Pager sent young white and black “testers” to apply for real low-wage jobs. Some of the testers were randomly assigned felony convictions. The study found that whites with felonies were slightly more likely to get callbacks than black applicants without criminal records. “The penalty of a criminal record is more disabling for black job seekers than whites,” Pager and other researchers wrote in a follow-up study in 2009.

Davis says he learned skills in prison: “How to cook, clean, horticulture, janitorial. I can do it. I’ve been trained. Tile, carpentry, mortar, edging and trimming, all that. I can operate a backhoe, a roller. Any opportunity to do something that would show my talents, I’d do it. It would be my ticket out the streets.

“I just need someone to give me that chance. A nice construction job, anything. I would hold onto that until I die.”

Some economists say the real black unemployment rate is as high as 25 or 30 percent, because government figures don’t count “discouraged” workers who have stopped looking for jobs and dropped out of the labor force.

The decline of the black middle class

Some see a bitter irony in soaring black unemployment and the decline of the black middle class on the watch of the first black president.

“I thought Barack Obama could have provided some way out. But he lacks backbone,” Princeton professor Cornel West told truthdig.com recently.

He said Obama had sold out the poor and become “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats … I don’t think in good conscience I could tell anybody to vote for Obama.”

Yet many jobless blacks do not blame their plight on the president.

“I have no problem with Obama when I look at what the alternatives are,” Wilder says.

Goldring doesn’t think Obama is doing a bad job either. “The unemployment situation is not the best, but I don’t think it has a lot to do with him,” she says. “Fixing this economy, it’s going to take time.

Wiley, the Center for Social Inclusion director, says Obama should be applauded for several initiatives that have helped the black middle class, such as programs to modify certain mortgages and prevent foreclosure due to job loss.

She would have liked Obama to aggressively counter the suggestion that first black president would be showing favoritism if he specifically helped black people.

“It’s the right thing to do for the nation,” she says. “Black people are a huge segment of the population, they’re especially hard-hit, and the country cannot recover if the black community — as well as the white community and others — does not recover.”

Discuss…

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Comments

  • raeday

    i cant imagine being an ex con in this economy and looking for a decent job. I mean i am a college grad with yrs of experience, who just happens to work for a major corp in nc but after a year im still in a entry level position not making the wages i deserve. Its very hard to advance but its all i have. I dont want to lose another job because itll be years till i find a new one!

  • i see $$$

    that’s not all whites are getting paid..they coming to me n my crew to finance from hobo productions to .build 40 floor buildings..

  • Truth

    im black & have been thoroughly blessed during this recession. I landed a great job & work hard to maintain it. Stay out of the streets, make your money legit , lay off the weed, take care of your families & you will be rewarded.

  • BLACKS HOLD EACH OTHER BACK

    ITS NOT THAT BLACK PEOPLE CANT FIND A GOOD JOB…NO THATS NOT THE REASON THE MOST COMMON REASON WHY BLACKS CANT OVER COME THIS RECESSION IS BECAUSE THEY HOLD ONE ANOTHER BACK FROM MAKING ANY KIND OF SUCCESS…JUST SAYING..BLACK PEOPLE NEEDS TO STOP BRINGING DRAMA AND JEALOUSY TO THESE WORK PLACES SITTING ON THEIR A$$ES TALKING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE ALL DAY ESPECIALLY COMPLAINING ABOUT THEIR JOBS.

    WHY RAPPER M&M AKA SLIM SHADY IS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL RAPPER IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS NOT ONLY BECAUSE HE’S WHITE…NOTICE BLACK RAPPERS NEVER BEEF WITH HIM BUT GO AGAINST EACH OTHER WHEN EVER ONE DROPS A ALBUM “MY POINT EXACTLY”…BLACKS WILL ALWAYS BE AGAINST ONE ANOTHER WHEN IT COMES TO SUCCESS,MONEY OR FAME

  • BLACKS HOLD EACH OTHER BACK

    ITS NOT THAT BLACK PEOPLE CANT FIND A GOOD JOB…NO THATS NOT THE REASON THE MOST COMMON REASON WHY BLACKS CANT OVER COME THIS RECESSION IS BECAUSE THEY HOLD ONE ANOTHER BACK FROM MAKING ANY KIND OF SUCCESS…JUST SAYING..BLACK PEOPLE NEEDS TO STOP BRINGING DRAMA AND JEALOUSY TO THESE WORK PLACES SITTING ON THEIR A$$ES TALKING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE ALL DAY ESPECIALLY

  • Stay out of the white man's jail!

    Things are bad but Cornel West, his side piece Tavis Smiley really need to quit with the 1970s plight of the black male in America literature. Neither have solutions and gay azz men are NOT about family. Obama is trying…..he not God, the saviour of the USA….and AFRICA IS BEGGING HIM LIKE THE ELECTED HIM. Black men it understood that many of you didn’t have fathers or grandfathers..ok…, but even your mother and grandmother told you to KEEP YOUR BlACK AZZ OUT OF THE WHITE MANS JAIL AND LEAVE THAT DOPE ALONE! Y’all whining, clubing and dropping seed! West and Smiley gay….women and children are not on their agenda. @TRUTH ….YOU ARE SPEAKING TRUTH.

  • 9thfloor

    Well, whatever the case, lets make sure not to lay any blame on brother Barack. Farakkhan, Smiley, West, and the entire Congressional Black Caucus need to all be wrong first. Barack can do no wrong. Memorize and repeat, then re-elect.

  • Cici & Coco -The Besties

    Well u know God helps those who help themselves. Yesterday was very different from today. A 9-5 job wont do much if u have a fam. College is mandatory now. Me im young i have no bills im not married & i have no children. The reccession hasnt hit me much because im not rushing. School is my focus & my bf. Congrats to some of my fellow brothas & sistas who r goin places & r blessed. To the rest who r strugglin it’s better to press on rather than give up. You’re blessed with life.its not over yet. Theres no time for negativity so those who r hatin.. Just stop. Its true some blacks hold back other blacks. Smh we r so divided.

  • Stay out of the white man's jail!

    Farakkhan, West, and Smiley are nothing but SHITZT TALKING NICCAS ! THOSE THREE OLD BISHES THAT ALWAYS KEEP SHIZT GOING forever. NEITHER CAN OR EVER WILL PRODUCE ANYTHING but farts! NEITHER ONE OF THEM COULD GET ELECTED DOG CATHCHER…..ALL ARE KNOWN FOR TALKING big SHITZ AND RUNNING AND HIDING…..WEsT AND SMILEY ARE COWARDLY HOES SPEWING THEIR MACHO DL….RHETORIC! BOOO BOI! FARAKKHAN’S FOLLOWERS CAN’T VOTE ANYWAY…..MOSTLY EX-CONS!

    HEY Tavis AND West maybe you could get elected grand marshall of this year’s gay pride festival! Gay Mafia…..come on with your bully media hounds ……OUT THEM! I AM SURE OBAMA WONT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT YOU!

  • xoxo

    “ Stay out of the white man’s jail!” AKA gina
    i see you..

  • Stay out of the white man's jail!

    Stay your azz OUT…lol. Trolling are ya:-) How many ways would you like for me to OUT YOU TODAY:-)

  • Big Ryde

    Like my man say, “Stay out the White Man’s jail!!!”

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