The debate about what race means in America today has even brought forth views that USA is becoming a ‘postracial’ society. However, the grim facet of reality in this recession reveals fault lines thought to have disappeared.
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While President Barack Obama, who sees himself as Black is being seen as a role model by Biethnic people, Blacks are losing jobs faster in USA then ever since World War II.
- 8% of Black men in the US have lost their jobs since November 2007, according to a report by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.
- In March 2009, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a bleaker picture for Black Americans.
- 12.6 per cent of all Black Americans have lost their jobs since January 2008. Contrast that with 9.7 per cent of Hispanics and only 6.9 percent of white Americans.
Is Racial Diversity Under Threat in the USA?
One of the areas the effect of the recession is visible is racial diversity in the workplace. The Pew Research Centre reveals that Blacks and Hispanics were twice as likely to have reported being laid off or even fired in the past year.
- A staggering 21% of Blacks and 19% of Hispanics compared to 11% among whites reported losing their job.
- Only 3% of Black male students are in Gifted/Talented programs, as compared to 7.6% of White, non-Hispanic male students (Schott Foundation 2008).
- Only 32.8% of African American male students complete college. This is the lowest rate among all racial/ethnic groups in higher education (Journal of Higher Education 2008) .
Before the current recession, in the UK, eight years of economic growth lowered the white male unemployment to 6%, while the Black male unemployment remained at 27%.
Employment levels amongst ethnic minorities fell by ten percentage points in the 1990s recession, more than other groups.
The UK Government fears that ethnic minorities will be hardest hit as the economy deteriorates and plan to give them extra help during the recession. Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell announced a controversial drive to ensure ethnic minority workers are not 'left behind'. Conservative MPs, warn that this might entrench division. Shipley MP Philip Davies said:
'This is simply outrageous. The Government should be targeting support at all who need it.”