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Why is Corporate America Doing This?

Updated on January 4, 2014
Corporate America
Corporate America | Source
Ralph Ellison
Ralph Ellison
Invisible Man, copyright 1952
Invisible Man, copyright 1952
Black vs. White Unemployment
Black vs. White Unemployment
2010 Graduation rate by race
2010 Graduation rate by race

Just follow the math

“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves or figments of their imagination, indeed, everything and anything except me.” Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man 1952

Some basic back of the envelope calculations:

Current white college graduation rate: 60% (pathetic enough)
Current black college graduation rate: 40%

http://www.jbhe.com/features/50_blackstudent_gradrates.html


Current overall unemployment rate: 7.3%. By race: white 6.7%, black 13.4%.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/08/21/through-good-times-and-bad-black-unemployment-is-consistently-double-that-of-whites/

http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseed16.pdf

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t02.htm


Now for the math.

If we use just the graduation rates, the unemployment rate for blacks should be just 1/3 higher than whites as their grad rate is 1/3 lower than whites. That would give a black unemployment rate of 6.7+(6.7/3=2.2)=8.9%. But it is 4.5% higher or twice the white rate and making it 150% (2x white/1.3xwhite=1.5) higher than it would be by education alone.

So why is corporate America doing this?

The benefits to not doing this are immense: higher employment means higher rates of home ownership, better educated children, lower crime rates, lower medical costs, less welfare, more vacant prisons (a decent paying job means you are not burglarizing homes to feed yourself) and far smaller urban ghettos.

Why is corporate America refusing to hire black Americans at a rate proportional to their earned skill sets? If I were a young black teen looking at college and its intended payoff, would I fork out 100K on this gamble? That gamble being having less than a 1 in 7 chance (14%) of finding a job much less one that pays enough to pay the loans back? The answer is obvious: No. I would take an apprenticeship instead.

What this institutional racism does:
This corporate-based racism has multiple trickle-down consequences. It perpetuates urban ghettos by preventing natural integration based on income. That creates a less vibrant society as we become more homogeneous (whites live next to whites, blacks next to blacks, latinos next to latinos) and our world views more rigid. Why are we doing this even today in 2013? Jim Crow was supposed to have ended 30 years ago.

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