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Black Unemployment and Black Employers: Why Don’t Blacks Hire Blacks?

By Chico C. Norwood

According to the latest report released by the United States Department of Labor, the overall unemployment in America was 8.2 percent for the month of May. For the African American community the news is even bleaker. The report revealed that unemployment in the African American community sits at 13.6 percent, substantially higher than any other ethnic group.

Everyone wants to point the finger at President Obama.  It seems that Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West have made it their life’s mission over the past four years to blame President Obama for all of the ills in the black community. But before I throw my President under the bus, I want to offer a little food for thought and hopefully get a good conversation going.

When you point the finger at someone else it always seems to be pointing back at you.  So, if the African American community is pointing the finger at President Obama for not getting jobs, notice that that thumb is pointing back at us. While we’re blaming the President we should really start looking at ourselves.  The reality is that unemployment in the black community has been an issue since Lincoln freed the slaves. But I digress.

A fellow writer and I were talking one day and she pointed something out to me.  She said, “have you noticed that all of the black elected officials (in the Los Angeles area) have white communication’s/ press deputies.” After she said this to me I began to pay attention.

When Karen Bass was first elected to the California State Assembly she had a black communications/press deputy. I can’t remember her name, but after about a year this young black woman left and went to work for a hospital.  Bass did not replace her with another African American, although there were qualified Black writers out there. Bass replaced her with a white female. This white female press deputy stayed with her until Bass won her Congressional seat.  Of course, this young white lady had no problems finding another position because immediately after leaving Bass she surfaced several months later as the press deputy for L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel.   After Bass won her congressional seat her first hire for the Los Angeles communications/press deputy position was a young Caucasian man.

I telephoned L.A. Councilman Bernard Park’s office, one day, to obtain some information and I was referred to the communications/press deputy who was also a Caucasian male. A position he held up until several weeks ago when he was replaced by a young girl who, from my knowledge, is not African American. Both Caucasian males, like the Caucasian female who worked for Bass, did not miss a beat and have since moved on to greener pastures.

The reason I point this out is because I know several qualified black writers who could serve as press deputies who are unemployed and have been for a while,  have excellent writing skills, the professionalism, the media contacts and are familiar with the districts of these politicians to have filled the positions from the onset.

One day, I was speaking with the publisher of one of the local black newspapers in Los Angeles and learned that his office manager is Hispanic and the person who distributes his newspaper is Hispanic.  While driving down the streets of Los Angeles one afternoon I looked over to find a Hispanic male driving the van for the Los Angeles Sentinel, which touts itself as being the largest black-owned newspaper in the west.

Let’s take a look at the Los Angeles fast food industry for example. Visit any McDonalds, Carl’s Jr., or Jack-In-the-Box, even the one’s owned by African Americans and you will find the managers are generally Hispanic. Once a Hispanic manager is in place the majority of the employees suddenly all become Hispanic, even at the black-owned fast food franchises.

I ask you to think and think hard on the next few questions.  Have you ever seen a black bank teller at an Asian-owned bank?  Have you ever seen a black cook in a Mexican or Asian restaurant?   Have you ever seen a Hispanic waiter or cook in a soul food restaurant?  Have you ever seen a Caucasian bank teller at a black-owned bank?

I’m aware that there are supposed to be laws against employment discrimination due to race, but do you mean to tell me that in the majority of fast food restaurants in Los Angeles, where over 90 percent of the workforce is Hispanic, the owner or manager cannot find one black person qualified to flip a burger?  Do you mean to tell me that Black fast food restaurant owners cannot find or hire one black manager or ensure that the workforce at their restaurants are 50-50? There is not one Chinese restaurant that can find a black cook who can prepare Chinese food or a Mexican restaurant that can find a black cook to make Mexican food?

Let’s go a step further. Almost none of the top black professional athletes have black agents. I must give kudos to Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers because his agent is former Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher  Dave Stewart, who is black and played in the 1980’s and went on to work in management as assistant general manager with the Blue Jays , before becoming an agent.  Stewart negotiated Kemp’s eight-year, $160 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the biggest in franchise history.  According to an ESPN article, in the 2007 NFL draft 14 out of the first 15 players selected were African-Americans, but only one — Gaines Adams of Clemson — selected an African-American agent. I guess it’s true what my friend the late Howard Ransom use to say, “the white man’s ice is always colder.” But I digress again.

So, what is my point?  The point is Blacks won’t even hire blacks, so how can we blame the president  or expect someone else to hire us when our own kind won’t hire us.

The bottom line is that integration has proven to be a double-edged sword for the Black community.  We relinquished everything to assimilate into white America.  During the times of segregation and Jim Crow, as ironic as it may seem, we thrived in business because we had no choice. We had black banks (St. Luke Penny Savings, etc) black-owned pharmacies, black-owned insurance companies, cleaners, markets, etc., and we hired each other.  Today, in this day and age of “diversity,” which I call “new age acceptable segregation,” the black community owns nothing while other ethnic groups thrive because they support each other in their business endeavors. They hire each other, they do business with each other, they recycle their dollars into their communities and take our money out of our community; while, we are still slaves on the white man’s plantation looking for him to hire or take care of us; still looking for someone else to be responsible for us.  But why should the white man or anyone else hire us, when we won’t even hire each other.

I wish Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West would revise their agendas and begin to focus on black business owners, black professional athletes, entertainers, etc ., who have the resources to help put black Americans to work but choose to hire Whites, Asians and others to do the same job that an African American could do. If Caucasians, Asians, Hispanics, and Middle Easterners do not have to follow the rules when it comes to hiring, then why should Black folks.  It’s time we started holding our own accountable and taking care of our own.

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11 Responses to Black Unemployment and Black Employers: Why Don’t Blacks Hire Blacks?

  1. C. C. Higgins Reply

    July 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Thank you so much! This needed to be said!

    “How can we expect others to hire us when we won’t even hire ourselves?”

  2. Enoch Mubarak Reply

    August 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    ….Now you are catching on.

  3. steven Reply

    December 31, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    “We relinquished everything to assimilate into white America.”

    Your people DEMANDED integration honey! Sit-ins, pray-ins, civil disobedience… REMEMBER? No people in all of human history ever did such a thing (and into the very racial group -anothr people’s established society -they’re also claiming is their brutal oppressor? hmmm). Yes, there were/are consequences. Naturally. Written laws were used to alter the natural order. I’m sure ML King thought he was leading his [gullible] blacks into the proverbial promised land — where white people’s tax base would forever more provide for the blacks … and relieve the black man of that burden. People’s perception of black male prior to 1964 was that he didn’t want to work – or provide for a family. That perception holds true today.

  4. Ben Reply

    January 6, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    To the Author: I do see your point about Blacks refusing to hire Blacks, and Blacks spending their hard earned dollars in other communities. First, Black business are scarce and need to provide better customer service & more competitive pricing to attract and retain Black customers. I’ve heard a lot of complains from Black ppl regarding these issues. Second, Black employers will go out of their way to hire other races due to a lack of competent or desirable Black employees. Some Black employers may feel that it’s easier to boss a White employee –they rarely talk back. Nonetheless, I think some Black managers do hire Blacks, but will not go out of their way looking for one per se. Asians & Hispanics do support the own kind probably because they’re more family oriented and believe in their own kind; it’s a persistent problem with Blacks. I think part of the problem is that Blacks do not trust or respect each other as much as they do other races. It’s also true that Blacks are many times more likely to be victimized by other Blacks (Black on Black crime) than other races. Also, many Black managers fear of being labeled a racist for not hiring Whites.

  5. ann teacher Reply

    March 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Thank you..Your article was so well written. Yes, the march is over and African American have to start fending for themselves. The days of free cheese and hand outs are getting slim. We need to start creating our own opportunites for employment. I have been unemployed for 16 months. Then decided to open up my own school and hired 4 very excellent teachers. Tired of hand out from white folks. It only keeps up down. Since they don’t want to hand out jobs, they will continue to hand out food, clothing and guns. Quality education, housing and the free of our men is not in their plans. Great article, keeping making us aware.

  6. Apres Ski Reply

    April 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    When the Irish migrated, they got jobs faster because some already spoke the king’s English. Blacks don’t want people who pretend to be middle and speak Gutter English to their family and friends on the phone. If you noticed, after Obama got in, blacks started changing their speech.

    Also, dark-skinned mixed race professionals are mistaken for blacks as well. They do have just as hard a time finding a job like the rest unless they know someone. Caribbeans are much further ahead than Blacks when it comes to getting work. Their ancestors were raised under British, French, Dutch and a slew of others. But they do speak English not that rap stuff. They can read &write whole sentences as well.

  7. Flip side Reply

    May 13, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Very good article. What is happening in the Black community today is the same thing that happened in South Africa and other Black countries. When the black males become successful, very few marries a dark skin black woman. Sure, anyone can marry whom they want, but we are the only race on earth were MANY of,our wealthiest members do not marry their own kind, especially dark skin women. Now we will see a lot of light or mix race children than all black ones. Today South Africa has the larges population of mix people because MOST successful blacks marry the white South African women.

  8. Tracey Hood Reply

    June 5, 2013 at 3:19 am

    Check this out, I left a fair paying job as a financial controller for a company run by Caucasians who treated me poorly = only to work for an all black group home for less money as a financial controller and was treated worse by my own kind. While living in Georgia police were summoned to my home for a simple vandal report, to my surprise the black officer talked to me like I was a sub human – I asked him “what are you doing trying to show the white officers that you can treat your people bad too” needless to say I was arrested that evening…………

    After dealing with such nonsense for 36 years I had to seek therapy – only to be told by a black therapist that if I felt victimized by racism in America that I had an unrealistic view of the world today. What?

    What ever happen to power to the people?, where went the love for one another?, How do we retrieve our unity, dignity and self respect? I fear that we may soon be extinct. Poverty, Drugs, Aids, Mis-Education, Incarceration and Inter-racial relations will destroy us…………

    • Troy Watson Reply

      August 3, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      I agree totally with you Ms. Hood. The answer I know lies in black people and black men in particular starting their own businesses of all sorts from shoe shines to retail stores, to Corporations and hiring each other in management, supervisory and key decision making roles of power. But the only way this is going to happen is by realizing that unification will bring more wealth, better loving relationships, and financial strength and power laced with many safety nets that can and will catch all of us if anyone should falter. Somehow black men have got to mobilize with the mindset of not selling out, by buying in every type of business known to man and eventually owning and running it PERIOD. I don’t care if were offered money to sell it. Sell it to a black with a contractual stipulation not to sell it to a non-black. PERIOD!!!!! I propose a 4 pronged plan of cooperation, education, acquisition and ownership with the collective mindset of I’m doing this for my people. But the black people who resolve to actively make this happen have to empathize and see the need in our race/culture, and be determined to help save our culture, knowing that in the process they will save themselves as well. The Black community has 1.1 trillion dollars in circulation. But what we do with it has to be done silently not put on display, flossed or broadcast in media.That’s what the hispanics did they organized/mobilized and moved in and took over SILENTLY. We can’t alert people who don’t really respect and love us as black community to what we are planning to do collectively our plans must only be discussed among ourselves. And that will take trust,love and a reassurance that all will benefit. How do we get to trust and love ? Answer: All differences must be put aside. Gender wars between the black men and women have not helped us at all. IT MUST STOP NOW !!!! Competitive angst between blacks in general must stop NOW! And a mindset based on the unshakable fact we can prosper, financially and live a very sweet life more than we could ever do alone should start NOW! Blacks must realize absolutely no one is going to love you like your own people. I don’t care if they marry you, hire you or work for you, It’s not going to happen because they will still feel obligated to bond to their own race than you. I don’t care how famous you are what position you hold or much money you make or possess. Once these facts are realized you will see an extremely quick change in the Black community that will blow your mind !The revolution Must NOT BE TELEVISED!!!!

    • Saleem Hanee Reply

      September 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      Good morning Ms.Hood.Are you familiar with Dr.Umar Johnson? He will be here in Los Angeles this Sunday 15th and Monday 16th at Blessed Love on Vernon Avenue.Dr.Umar is a nationally recognized board certified psychologist that is developing a boys academy and girls academy to teach our children.He also helps women who have problems with their children being mistreated and held back in the public school system.If you want to be in an environment where black people actually love and respect each other,you should come check it out.

  9. hatebeinganigg Reply

    September 23, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    plain and simple america sucks if you are black. because of our self loathing race. it’s better to be black anywhere but in america which is why africa has like 30+ billionaires who are black and america has only 1 black billionaire.

    blacks are so fucked up in this country i am proud to say that i am ashamed to be black. i hate being black in america so much that when i get enough money, i’m going to plant roots in africa and s. america.

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