by Ayvaunn Penn, YourBlackWorld.com
Recent Department of Labor Statistics report that black teen unemployment now almost exceeds 40 percent, while the overall teenage unemployment “rests” at 23 percent. Varying from state to state, the black teen unemployment numbers can get even worse. For instance, in Illinois it is 47.7 percent.
It would have been awesome if the Department of Labor Statistics had also conducted a study to figure out why. Until they come through with that, however, we can always speculate. First, we can look to the latest Apple incident in which a white manager asked two black men to leave the store and made a point of explicitly telling them, “I am discriminating against you.” One reason unemployment is down for black teens, I am sure, is discrimination. Those negative stereotypes that put all black people in a box labeled lazy, crazy, and violent appear to haunt us wherever we go. No matter how qualified we are, sometimes that still is not enough. This is one of the major reasons not only black teen employment is down but also black employment period.
Don’t get me wrong. I know our nation has made a lot of progress in that area. My great grandmother picked cotton, and my parents had eggs thrown at them by white children on the playground during integration. I am not denying that we have largely moved past that. What I am also saying, however, is that there is a lot of progress to be made when it comes to employers thinking twice before hiring a black citizen.
Ayvaunn Penn is a spoken word artist and an award winning writer degreed in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works visit ayvaunnpenn.wordpress.com. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black World, email submissions to ayvaunnpennspokenword at gmail dot com.