This has been on my mind: Unemployment is high among African-Americans. And there are jobs in the low pay scale. Why aren’t we are applying?

Posted: May 9, 2013 in African American Stories and Viewpoints, Commentary by all means, Milwaukee African American Commentary, My Special Commentary
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On the radio today, on WNOV, there was talk about the immigration reform. The same reform that President Obama is still on the pulse in order to sign into law. As we know when or if the reform is approved for various reasons, the President will sign it as usual. Sounds a job, right? I heard that a caller who was blatantly biased about the introduction of the Immigration Reform, and having the Mexican folks come to America. In which as many times before, see the low wager jobs picked up. For this, I don’t have a problem with folks coming from their native countries, becoming U.S. Citizens legally and working in an office cleaning tables or packing bags for a pantry. I don’t. But when you hear about these jobs and those of us African-American see this or hear about it, why don’t we want them? We should know that the Unemployment rate nationwide has dropped to 7.3%. That’s the good news. But the bad news, according to the Grio, the African-American Unemployment rate is at 13.2%. Which is high. Here in Milwaukee, our African-American unemployment rate is at the worst of at least 50%. Many are asking and still wondering, why is the black folks in that percentage is still not working or applying, while the menial jobs are still open? Besides the skill, experience and I dare say racism.

But the “centralized reason” I think partially, even though the jobs are out there, there aren’t enough of US (us as in African-Americans)  applying. Partially, I think that is another factor in the high employment. I’m not talking about underemployed. But UNEMPLOYED!

Let me drop some science on this blog. And I want those of the 1980’s and 1990’s born to pay attention. And those older pay attention too. What I am about to comment is a lesson I’ve learned growing about work. Back in the old school days in which those older than me know, there were times when African-Americans were working with all kinds of jobs. Ranging from meat shops, funeral homes, street sweepers, welders, and many other occupational jobs that half today wouldn’t even touch. Or even work as teachers. For teachers, I know alot of females work at that profession and I’m not knocking the hustle. But what I don’t see is alot of Black males doing the thing in the classroom. Now there are some. But back then, it was an important concern plus idea. And I’ve heard that from a Hmong Elementary School principal and one of my former college professors who was Jewish.  Not kidding. Even at one point, the WWE wanted to recruit and or hire African-Americans not just for Wrestling, but maybe for other areas of employment with the company.

Also if the jobs being beneath African-Americans like scrubbing toilets is not huge, then what is? There was a time when Charles Rangel was interviewed in 2007 about a time he worked in hardware stores, mopped floors, worked at hotels either good or bad, but he still wanted to pursue at a career in which he has now, as a Representative. In his own words:

“I worked in hardware stores, I mopped floors, worked in good and bad hotels. But none of that meant a thing to me because I knew it was just a matter of time before I’d be out of it. So you need those jobs, and there’s no job no Americans wants – just give him some pay.”

So even a Congressman like Rangel had to start somewhere. Even he was drafted into the U.S. Military during the Korean War era.

According to some sources, I found that jobs like agriculture and maids, aren’t the norm for any American. Including African Americans. As an example, the issue of farming came up at one time, that was a turn off in the thought of Slavery. Not kidding. But on the flip side, I’ve seen black farmers! And one of my relatives is a farmer! So I don’t know what the big deal is. I’ve heard about service jobs like maids, servants for hotels and country clubs. Some won’t take those, but it is a job despite of the mindset. Now I know that what I’m writing here may be “sensitive” but it’s time to snap out of the funk and call it what it is. Black folks, we need to snap out of this! OK so a job like a cleaning lady or a master presser may not be a favorable job, but like my father once said: “A job is a job.” Of course we want to have the best jobs out there. Some of us are owning businesses. So I think those of us who don’t want to be maids or janitors, let’s be something else that can have some pride. Like working as a nurse. And yes, there are male nurses on the rise. Now if you are in these professions and show great pride in the work, I salute you. Literally.

Instead of waiting on our Government to get the jobs we would like to invest, why can’t those of us be the next CEO’s? Or the Business Owners? I driven around the Black Community around Milwaukee and looked at the empty buildings and the thought of me asking what should go here? This is why I do this, and plus I’ll do a part 3. And speaking of WNOV in Milwaukee, they are 100% black owned. Just a fact.

But right now, just get out to the house, work and get some skills black folks! Network also. Return to the college classrooms. Maybe if the positions I highlighted had more blacks working, there wouldn’t be a high amount of unemployment.


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