On November 30, the New York Times posted an interesting article titled “In Job Hunt, College Degree Can’t Close Racial Gap“. Overall, it was an informative and useful article in identifying the tremendous amounts of racial discrimination in the workplace that still is rampant in the United States, as well as painting a portrait of pity for the African American men interviewed for the article. What this NY Times article is lacking, however, is the recognition of why this racial disparity in hiring practices continues to exist. Instead of explaining why this problem exists, the article does a fantastic job of tiptoeing around it, stating:
“Discrimination in many cases may not even be intentional, some job seekers pointed out, but simply a matter of people gravitating toward similar people, casting about for the right “cultural fit,” a buzzword often heard in corporate circles.
There is also the matter of how many jobs, especially higher-level ones, are never even posted and depend on word-of-mouth and informal networks, in many cases leaving blacks at a disadvantage. A recent study published in the academic journal Social Problems found that white males receive substantially more job leads for high-level supervisory positions than women and members of minorities.”
It’s painfully obvious from this excerpt, and from the article as a whole, why an accomplished person of color is at a grave disadvantage when applying for a job in this country. Not only is the country’s current ‘recession’ a factor in the grim employment rate of people of color, but the fact that corporate America relies on institutionalized racism ensures that the grim employment rate of people of color stays just that. America’s richest and most successful has been built on the backs of people of color, all the while denying those people truly equal opportunity to achieve, or at least to make a decent living in a respectable job. Until we are able to admit that the reason we have such an enormous racial gap in the workplace due to a system of institutionalized racism controlled by a few powerful white elites, this disadvantageous gap will continue to exist.