Economics pensive

Published on October 12th, 2012


Akindele Akinyemi: Black Americans Are At Fault For Not Reducing Black Unemployment

Recently, it was reported that in August the Black unemployment rate in the United States is 16.7%,its highest level since 1984, while the unemployment rate for Whites fell slightly to 8%. The Congressional Black Caucus has rolled out a jobs fair to urban areas that has been hit hard by the economy in hopes of putting people back to work.

However, as usual, Black people in America are on the wrong side of this issue. Unemployment is high in our community not because of the lack of jobs. It’s high because we do not take the time to invest in OURSELVES as a community. In other words, Blacks do not hire Blacks in our community. If you look at other communities Jewish people hire Jewish people first, Italians hire Italians first, Arabs hire Arabs first, etc.

Ask these communities if they have a high unemployment rate compared to the Black community. The answer would be no. Same concept of the dollar turning over in these other communities 10-20 times before it leaves their community. In the Black community it does not turn over one time before it leaves our community. So we shoot ourselves in the foot.

Other communities train their children to become visionaries and entrepreneurs to invest in their own community to build legacies for their future children. The Black community in America teaches and train their children to get a job. In fact, we train our children not to only get a job but to make sure they get a 401(k) while other groups train their children how to read stocks and mutual funds.

Careerbuilding exists in other communities with low unemployment rates. Job seeking exists in our community. And because Black people in this country are still dependent on Black elected officials to create jobs for them we fall short of understanding how real entrepreneurship works. These elected officials are going around promoting a job fair when we should be promoting a career fair. We have to change the way we think and the way we view our careers if we want to survive.

Black people in this country were so dependent on manufacturing jobs that carried our families for most of the 20th century that when the country began to switch to a service economy most of us got left behind. Today we live in a technological era and the most of the jobs are high-tech jobs that people from around the world are getting instead of us. Again, we have to change our focus and direction if we are serious about surviving and competing in a 21st century career market. Wealth is the key to our freedom not politicians like President Obama.

I do not blame racism for the high unemployment rate in our community. I blame ourselves for not taking the time to invest in ourselves. There is no glass ceiling in our community. There is fear, excuses and conspiracy theories that prevent us from going higher to achieve our dreams. The Republican Party is not holding Blacks back from getting a job. We are holding ourselves back from lowering the unemployment rate.

If we wanted to lower the unemployment rate we could do this overnight. For those who think President Obama is supposed to fix the Black unemployment rate or any politicians are fooling themselves. The only way to combat unemployment is education. Community colleges are booming with new students every semester so they can take a new career path to a better lifestyle. Online schools are another option to help people get back on their feet with their education. Of course if you have time, enroll in a 4-year college and do not forget about the smaller fast-track programs that you can become certified in to help you compete in a competitive job market.

Our community needs welders, plumbers, electricians, computer specialists, etc. Not only use those skills to your advantage but help build a career and legacy for your children. Make your money both domestically and internationally. There are other places globally that needs your skills. Obtain a passport and enhance your knowledge of geography to help you prepare for a new career market globally.

I’m sorry to say but sometimes I feel we are our own worst enemy when it comes to reducing our own unemployment rate. Let’s hold our faith-based and non-profit communities accountable for careerbuilding and entrepreneurship. Young people can tap into organizations like Kiva to obtain microfinancing for social business and social entrepreneurship companies that can become sustainable. Non-profits play a huge role in economic development. If the nonprofit sector were a country, it would have the seventh largest economy in the world. Think about it. Churches make more money on Sunday than General Motors, Chrysler and Ford Motor Company combined.

Yet, we have a high unemployment rate? We blame wealthy conservatives for our downfall? We need to promote a culture of production and accountability not a culture of excuses. If Africans can come over to the United States and become successful what is the excuse of Black Americans not being able to make it?

Blacks in this country generate over $1 trillion in buying power. We have the resources to pull ourselves out of poverty and to reduce the unemployment rate. We simply choose to play the victim and not play the victors in this crisis. We must become wealth builders if we want to survive the 21st century.

About the Author: Akindele Akinyemi is one of the nation’s most respected educators, coaches and leading authority on educational options through organization, leadership, ethics, management, and change in educational business Akinyemi is a hard-hitting Nigerian-American conservative educator, blogger, motiavtional speaker, researcher and political commentator. He is well known for his hardline views on education and his “blunt” way of expression. He sits on the boards of diretors for the Detroit Black Alliance for Educational Options and Attucks Inc, and the co-founder of the Emerging Leaders Think Tank, which is geared towards building educational and economic institutions through urban policy.

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