(Photo coutesy of Wikimedia Commons)
I’m not intending to come off sounding preachy. But ultimately, I’m sure somebody will interpret this blog post in that way.
I would like you to watch a quick, one minute video titled “Every Job I Have Worked at Has Been Primarily White” from The Whiteness Project, an interactive investigation into how Americans who identify as “white” experience their ethnicity. After you watch the video, I hope you think about this topic and, if you have a similar experience to the man featured in it, like I have, ask yourself why you think this is.
Why do I think that is? It’s a historical fact that blacks and other minorities in this country have been shut out of or had limited access to educational and employment opportunities, and other means of advancing in society – by government policy and/or straight-up racism by employers and schools. This still happens in 2015, unfortunately. And as a result, the workforce today, outside of the service and retail industries (in other words, low-paying jobs), is mostly white, and will stay mostly white if all things remain constant in this country.
In my opinion, this is unacceptable in a country that prides itself on having equal opportunities for all. I also think employers have the resources to change this. Instead of lamenting a dearth in talent to fill thousands of open positions, invest in jobs training programs like Per Scholas or Year Up that service low-income areas.