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apply for a job.  What happens?  This has been haunting me for days.  It was on the local news in Minneapolis.  I can't say many television news reports stick with me for days but this one has.

"Being a black man in America today is essentially like having a felony conviction," said Professor Devah Pager, who specializes in sociology at Princeton University.

Pager's research on the entry-level job market shows that when it comes to getting a job, a black man has the same limited chances as a white ex-con.

(I did the tags search but could not find any diary on this.   But you can let me know . . .)

It was quite powerful on television.  They showed 3 actors going in with hidden cameras applying for entry-level jobs.  All had similar applications.  The white man was called after the interviews.  Guess who actually gave the black man some consideration for the job?  The two people hiring who happened to be minorities.  

I want to scream with frustration.  Andrea sits by me at work.  Her 27 year-old black boyfriend cannot find a second job.  He already works night audit at our hotel.  She has been so frustrated with him.  She has felt that he is just being lazy.  Of course, a job at a gas station or retail store is always available, right?  

Guess not. Just for white people.  I shared what I had seen on t.v. with her.  She is outraged.  We are both white, suburban, sheltered women who tend to get the jobs we apply for.  

Of course, discrimintation may not be the only reason Al cannot find a job but it certainly puts his job hunt in some perspective.

The black actor made an interesting statement.

"There's a role that can be dropped as being an ex-con," William said. "Once you drop it off your resume. I wear this resume. This is who I am."

He's right.  One cannot exactly hide the color of their skin.  But the ex-con can "forget" to put the felony on the resume.

At least, the WCCO I-team results were not quite as negative as the Princeton study.
is one has.

The I-TEAM's results were better than in the Princeton study, but still, a quarter of the time, the black applicant and the ex-con were treated the same, not as favorably as the white applicant.

It still doesn't make me proud to live in Minnesota.  I love MN, don't get me wrong.  But this is appalling treament.  An ex-con and a black man are not the same and should not be judged the same.  

Thanks.  I just needed to vent.  Maybe it will haunt me a little less now.

Originally posted to Boppy on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 01:37 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I thought you were going to tell a joke. (none)
    This was not funny at all.  Rather depressing actually.
    •  I can see where it would sound like (4.00)
      the start of a joke but I wouldn't tell a joke describing skin color anyway.  I found it depressing, too.

      He that chooses his own path needs no map. Queen Kristina of Sweden.

      by Boppy on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 04:42:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  With all due respect (4.00)
    We shouldn't be denying ex-cons jobs just because they're ex-cons, either. Unless we want them with no alternative than more crime.

    I do take your point, however. It's good someone has done these studies.

    In troubling times, it's good to read true stories about real people doing good things. HeroicStories, free

    by AllisonInSeattle on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 04:46:03 PM PST

    •  You are completely, correct. (4.00)
      But shouldn't a man who has never been convicted of a felony have some edge over a convicted-felon?  I think so.
      •  I agree with you. (none)
      •  I'd say no (none)
        A job applicant's criminal record, unless relevant to the specific job, should be off limits.

        In a job where there is unsupervised access to good or cash, a theif would not be a good hire. A child molester shouldn't work in day care (of course they ought to get life in prison IMO). However, if I am hiring for a job on an assembly line, those applicants should be reviewed based on skills. If I am hiring for any of the positions above - or almost anything, a drug record (the most common reason for doing time) is pretty irrelevant.

        •  But the point of this diary is how the (none)
          Black man is being discrimintated against.
          •  My response (none)
            was to a comment, not the diary.

            Of course it is disturbing ... no, disgusting (yet not surprising) that such a high level of racial employment discrimination exists today. It is still true that the most discriminated against group of discriminated against groups is still black people ... to be more specific black men. it is disturbing that the majority of white folks think the racial problem has been solved and that current disparities are based only on lack of education or effort among the black population. In fact, iirc, a study a few years back found that most white people now believe there is no significant differnece in pay rates between whites and blacks.

            Anyway ... my point should perhaps have been more clear that neither group ought to be discriminated against and that it's a sad state of affairs that such a measurement is such a valuable one.

      •  not really (none)
        The keyword here is EX-con.  Why should someone get a leg-up over someone who has been convicted of a crime and paid his debt to society?  

        Two wrongs don't make a right.  

    •  I am ashamed to say I wasn't (4.00)
      too concerned about the ex-con.  This isn't at all right of me.  I certainly believe in a person't ability to change.  I know I have had second and third and fourth chances in my life and believe strongly that everyone deserves that opportunity.

      He that chooses his own path needs no map. Queen Kristina of Sweden.

      by Boppy on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 05:06:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Okay, this is absolutely wrong! (none)
    Wow.  I can see where some black men seem to often sound so hopeless about the future when they talk.  Isn't this illegal??
  •  Very good diary. I live in MN (none)
    and am happy that their finding were a bit better here than where the study was orignally done.  However, it is still appalling.

    BTW, are you lovin the snow?

    •  Well, I haven't been out in it much (none)
      yet to play.  It kind of sucks for driving.  But it looks beautiful.  I hope we have a white Christmas.

      He that chooses his own path needs no map. Queen Kristina of Sweden.

      by Boppy on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 04:53:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tell your friend at work to help her (none)
    boyfriend find a job and be supportive rather than calling him lazy.  Treating him like shit isn't going to help.
    •  Andrea is not calling him lazy to (none)
      him.  Just something she privately tells me.  She treats him very well.  They live together and use her car because he no longer has one.  They need more money to live.  He has child support and some expensive tastes.  Like a $150.00 a month cable bill.

      He that chooses his own path needs no map. Queen Kristina of Sweden.

      by Boppy on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 05:04:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, I can't empathize with that (none)
        They need more money to live.  He has child support

        OK so far...

        and some expensive tastes.  Like a $150.00 a month cable bill.

        Hm, that should go from $150 to zero in two seconds. He needs to learn to live within his means, as do millions of our compatriots.

  •  Absolutely recommending. (none)
    •  Thanks. I appreciate it. (none)
      It has been bothering me so much.  I thought writing a diary about it would be cathartc and it was.  Reading comments helps, too.

      He that chooses his own path needs no map. Queen Kristina of Sweden.

      by Boppy on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 05:04:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So many diaries here haunt me. (none)
        Yet I keep coming back.  It seems that I have to read some everyday to feel in the loop of the world.
        •  Me, too. I am dKos addict. (4.00)
          When it was out the other day, my husband was encouraging me to mellow out about it.  But I kept saying "You don't understand"  I can log in to this website and get outrage and truth every minute of every day about what is going on in this country."

          He that chooses his own path needs no map. Queen Kristina of Sweden.

          by Boppy on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 05:18:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Haha, same here (none)
            Two comments in the same thread. What does that tell you? Addict. My wife keeps it to herself now, but she sure thinks it.

            I think it's a healthy addiction, though. This place is very informative about news as well as opinions. I can't help but keep up with Bush's shenanigans and it's not our fault that it's a full-time job.

  •  Five star activism from (4.00)
    Lois, over at the Real Cost of Prisons Weblog does an
    incredible job of continuing review of issues relating to the prison industrial complex within the US.  

    In particular, and relating to this diary,
    check out. Obstacles to Coming Home section  

    also see

    More Young Black Men Have Done Prison Time Than Miliary Service or Earned a College Degree

    "More strikingly than patterns of military enlistment, marriage or college graduation, prison time differentiates the young adulthood of black men from the life course of white males. Imprisonment is now a common life event for an entire demographic group," said Becky Pettit, one of the study's authors and a University of Washington assistant professor of sociology. Bruce Western, a Princeton University professor of sociology, is the co-author.

    "Prison is no longer just for the most violent or incorrigible offenders. Inmates are increasingly likely to be serving time for drug offenses or property crimes," Pettit said. "While there is enduring racial disproportionality in imprisonment, we find that the lifetime risk of incarceration is increasingly stratified by education. Over the past 30 years the risk of incarceration has grown for both blacks and whites, but has grown the fastest among men who have a high school diploma or less."

    "This has become increasingly important because we know ex-prisoners face a variety of challenges after incarceration," said Western. "These range from employer discrimination in the job market to increased risks of divorce and separation in family life. The experience of imprisonment in America has emerged as a key social division marking a new pattern in the lives of recent birth cohorts of black men."

    Satyagraha ~ there is no force in the world that is so direct or so swift in working.

    by under the bodhi tree on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 05:38:04 PM PST

    •  Jesus. (none)
      More Young Black Men Have Done Prison Time Than Miliary Service or Earned a College Degree

      Shocking. That tells you a lot... about this country.

      •  yes, shocking indeed (none)
         "Years ago, I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. . . . While there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." -- Eugene V. Debs

        Satyagraha ~ there is no force in the world that is so direct or so swift in working.

        by under the bodhi tree on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 06:56:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I remember, as a 22-year-old (4.00)
    college student, applying for a job at a restaurant in Oakland. As I waited for the manager to interview me, a black man came into the restaurant and asked for a job application. The guy was relatively well dressed and polite. Nonetheless, the manager whispered to the person at the desk, "Tell him the job's already been filled."

    I stood up, walked out and never returned. But I still remember that incident and my naive surprise to see such blatant discrimination in the workplace.

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mohandas Gandhi

    by trueblue illinois on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 06:29:53 PM PST

    •  I'm a black woman (none)
      And the same thing happens to me here in Los Angeles.  We're looking for a new place to live.  When I call on the phone, I'm told to come right over, check out the place.  Once a landlord sees me, then it's a whole different tune, "Oh, I just rented it."  (Yeah, in 10 minutes...okay.) "You have to have to make at least 3 times the rent."  That one, I'm ready for...I've been carrying out bank statements with me.  We got 3 very large payments the last few months, so it looks like we made close to $20K in Nov. alone.  That shuts them up quick.  

      Now, if I'm with my husband (he's white), I never have to deal with that sort of crap.  It's amazingly frustrating and I'm sure the Housing Dept. is tired of me filing complaints.

      •  I am so sorry (none)
        that you have to deal with that crap. That must be so frustrating and humiliating. I can't believe (actually I can) that it's still so widespread and commonplace. Keep filing those complaints ... who cares if they get tired of hearing from you; you need to know you've taken a stand.

        First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mohandas Gandhi

        by trueblue illinois on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 09:17:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Educated but ignorant (none)
        Your story reminds me of an anecdote. I got a fellowship for grad school that's given to immigrants or children of immigrants who've accomplished something pretty original or exceptional. We have these dinners once in a while where we all get together and discuss weighty issues (led by the director of the fellowship).

        One woman who got the fellowship writes often in the newsletter of a medical school about public health, and I mean on a global scale (vaccines, AIDS, etc.). She was born abroad as well, so you would think she'd be a little socially aware. Somehow at one dinner we were talking about racism or racial profiling, and someone mentioned the fact that black people are often followed in stores. This woman, who is white, proclaims, "but that would never happen in Boston!"

        Most of us were shocked at how ignorant she could be. All the black students fired back, basically at the same time, "it happens to me all the time!"

        We have a long way to go...

        You also reminded me of a PBS documentary about how the government instituted segregation in the 50's by dividing neighborhoods into low-risk and high-risk areas for loans, basically encouraging banks to decline loans to blacks. Several black couples talked about the very same experience you had ("well, it's not me, but the manager... the owners..."). Pathetic.

    •  Bravo! (none)
      Admirable gesture.
  •  Working in the Bronx (none)
    I'd see all these 19 year old white kids - Italian, Irish, whatever, who'd barely gotten out of high school grade-wise, some with serious drinking/drug issues, none all that outstanding, get jobs with NYC in Parks, Sanitation, or in Unions like Paperhandlers (manual labor, no skill or smarts needed).  They got in through brothers or fathers or uncles or just some guy in the neighborhood.

    Meanwhile you had these black and hispanic women who'd worked their tails off to put kids through parochial school raising kids who'd done as well as they could (and notably there was a preonderance of single parent households - with mothers raising kids).  We're talking about kids who were respectful and motivated.  These kids couldn't get their feet in the same places.  There was a clear and obvious difference.  

    Now some argue that this is simply "connections" and that's how things work - even though it's not supposed to in Civil Service.  Unions, yeah, there's preference all the time in some.  It seems like every group moving up a rung on the ladder gives preference to its "own" andtries to keep the next group along from moving up but there is an element of prejudice here that makes it far more difficult.  At the same time though, there weren't as many men around for the black kids - fathers, uncles, whoever, around already IN jobs.  DOes such "insider" help matter? Clearly, yes. I suspect that might have been part of it all. Yes prejudice was also clearly a factor.  There is great competition for decent "livable" jobs at the entry level - especially without advanced education. The groups that were in teses jobs gave preference to those from their own group. However I found it absurd for first generation immigrants to talk about being "American" and being prejudiced against blacks whose family had been here for a few hundred years.

    At the same time I now see the failure of others given great chances in suburban schools to use that opportunity.  The whole "being white" thing that denigrates doing well in school is an absurdity, but let's be blunt.  It's not cool to do well in school at that age for most.  Nerd....
    you know.... but it IS worse among the black kids.

    so....... what's the answer?  

    "Proving you're BETTER" doesn't work if you can't get a chance...... or somehow think you're denying your "identity" by doing well

    Preferences, "affirmative action" -  can help get people in the door but is discrimanatory itself in employment..... and in school has a mixed record.  Those admitted under affirmative action where I went to school were NOT in engineering and science but took the "easy" social sciences route - which was hardly the reason to go to an Engineering school.  The small number of minorities that DID graduate with tech degrees were in high demand.

    Some simply "give up" and look for other ways to make a living - many of which don't pan out...

    Ironically, you saw many minority WOMEN make it through college and succeed quite well in governmental service (when Civil Service DOES work). Far more than men - and I do not know why but it seems to do with pursuit of education and college. Women WERE mor likely to do so than the men.  BUT those same women - in white collar positions - were contemptuously of men who were perceeived to be "lesser" status.  I know someone my age who got a degree in Engineering after Air Force service.  It was easier for him to go into business with his father owning an autobody shop.  He is successful and has done well but is acutely aware of how he has been viewed by most black women.

    Relevant ramblings..... Complex issues and I have only had an outsiders view....  no solutions...

    Ironically our military is one of the most "color-blind" empoloyers butnot a route I would reccomend to anyone at this point in time.....and the topic of a past diary.

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