The Structural Forces Behind Black Youth Joblessness

Reader Gesyckah's got a good articulation of how systemic inequity passes through individuals.

By Kai Wright Nov 24, 2010

[Naima Ramos-Chapman’s article and video]( on black youth joblessness has stirred some good discussion on the site. Naima reported on the longterm consequences for the remarkably high unemployment rate among black people under 24 years old–33.4 percent as of July, a rate that’s double that of their white peers. The 2-to-1 disparity holds among college graduates and that, together with the sheer size of the disparity, suggests a systemic problem. Reader **Gesyckah** offers this perspective: >professional connections have always meant a lot for people seeking managerial/white-collar jobs. However, Black people usually aren’t born with those professional connections. Histories of inequality among racial groups mean that some group’s are far more likely to have members with college educated grandparents and parents in upper-management than others. It’s not nepotism when your mother’s sorority sister passes your resume onto the hiring manager and gets you an informational interview at her company. > >Another thing is that everyone is kicking up their networking. People who are in selection and hiring positions have a large pool of networkers to choose from and are passing Blacks over for jobseekers from other racial groups. Most corporations have managed to mask the overt racism where applicants get to the interview and are turned down. But Black jobseekers are less likely to get the opportunity to interview. That’s a nice real-world illustration of how structural and, importantly, historical inequities get passed on through individuals and generations.