Forum Post: In Mike Bloomberg's NYC white felons have a better shot at employment than Blacks with clean records
Posted 5 years ago on July 17, 2012, 2:56 p.m. EST by fiftyfourforty
from New York, NY
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Figure 2 shows the results
from this second three-person
team in which the white tester
now presents evidence of a
felony conviction. His test
partners, black and Latino
young men, present no criminal
background. As we can see in
this figure, the rate of positive
responses for the white tester
are substantially diminished
relative to the white tester with
no criminal background (from
Figure 1). Nevertheless, this
white applicant with a felony
conviction appears to do just
as well, if not better, than
his black counterpart with no
criminal background. These
results suggest that employers
view minority job applicants as
essentially equivalent to whites
just out of prison.
Despite the fact that these
applicants presented equivalent
credentials and applied for
exactly the same jobs, race
appears to overtake all else
in determining employment
Calibrating the magnitude of
the race effects to the effects
of a felony conviction presents
a disturbing picture. Blacks
remain at the very end of the
hiring queue, even in relation
to (white) applicants who have
just been released from prison.
The results here point to the striking persistence of race in the allocation of employment opportunities. Employers faced with large numbers of applicants and little time to evaluate them seem to view race as an adequate means by which to weed out undesirable applicants upon first review.
As just one example, the following case records this team’s experience applying for a position at a local auto dealership. Joe, the black tester, applied first and was informed at the outset that the only available positions were for those with direct auto sales experience.
his Latino partner, applied,
the lack of direct auto sales
experience was less of a
problem. Josue reports: “He
asked me if I had any customer
service experience and I said not
really…. He then told me that
he wanted to get rid of a few bad
apples who were not performing
well. He asked me when I could
start….” Josue was told to
wait for a call back on Monday.
Keith, their white ex-felon test partner, was first given a stern lecture regarding his criminal background. “I have no problem with your conviction, it doesn’t bother me. But if I find out money is missing or you’re not clean or not showing up on time I have no problem ending the relationship.” Despite the employer’s concerns, and despite Keith having no more sales experience than his test partners, Keith was offered the job on the spot. This example illustrates the ways in which race can trump even known criminality in certain cases. Indeed, far from racial considerations in employment being a thing of the past, we see that they are alive and well and actively shaping the opportunities available to members of different racial/ethnic group
It's just like the song says:
If ya white y'allright If ya brown stick aroun' but if ya black oh brother get back get back get back
Discrimination: The Root of the Black Job Crisis Nearly forty percent of young black males are unemployed. Not by choice; because employers refuse to hire them. April 24, 2006 |
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The battle continues to rage between economists, politicians, immigrants' rights activists, and black anti-immigration activists over whether illegal immigrants are the major cause of double-digit joblessness among poor, unskilled young black males.
The battle lines are so tight that black anti-immigration activists have planned a march for jobs for American-born blacks on April 28 in Los Angeles. This is a direct counter to the planned mass action on May 1st by immigrants' rights groups.
According to Labor Department reports, nearly forty percent of young black males are unemployed. Despite the Bush administration's boast that its tax cut and economic policies has resulted in the creation of more than 100,000 new jobs, black unemployment still remains the highest of any group in America. Black male unemployment for the past decade has been nearly double that of white males.
But several years before the immigration combatants squared off, then-University of Wisconsin graduate researcher Devah Pager pointed the finger in another direction -- a direction that makes most employers squirm. That's the persistent and deep racial discrimination in the workplace. Pager found that black men without a criminal record are less likely to find a job than white men with criminal records
Pager's finger-point at discrimination as the main reason for the racial hiring disparity set off a howl of protest from employers, trade groups, and even a Nobel Prize winner. They lambasted her for faulty research. They said her sample was much too small, and the questions too vague. They pointed to the ocean of state and federal laws that ban racial discrimination.
But in 2005, Pager, now a sociologist at Princeton, duplicated her study. She surveyed nearly 1,500 private employers in New York City. She used teams of black and white testers, standardized resumes, and she followed up their visits with telephone interviews with employers. These are the standard methods researchers use to test racial discrimination.
The results were exactly the same as in her earlier study. Black men with no criminal records were no more likely to find work than white men with criminal records. That's true despite the fact that New York has some of the nation's toughest laws against job discrimination.
Dumping the blame for the chronic job crisis of young, poor black men on illegal immigration stokes the hysteria of immigration reform opponents, but it also lets employers off the hook for discrimination. And it's easy to see how that could happen. The mountain of federal and state anti discrimination laws, affirmative action programs, and successful employment discrimination lawsuits gives the public impression that job discrimination is a relic of a shameful, and bigoted racial past.
But that isn't the case, and Pager's study is hardly isolated proof of that. Countless research studies, the Urban League's annual State of Black America report, a 2005 Human Rights Watch report, and the numerous EEOC practice discrimination complaints over the past decade reveal that employers have devised endless dodges to evade anti-discrimination laws. That includes rejecting applicants by their names, areas of the city they live in, and claims of mistaken advertising (that the jobs advertised were filled).
In a comprehensive seven-month university study of the hiring practices of hundreds of Chicago-area employers (a few years before Pager's graduate study), many top company officials said they would not hire blacks. When asked to assess the work ethic of white, black and Latino employees by race, nearly forty percent of the employers ranked blacks dead last.
The employers routinely described blacks as "unskilled," "uneducated," "illiterate." "dishonest," "lacked initiative," "unmotivated," "involved with gangs and drugs," "did not understand work," "unstable," "lacked charm," "had no family values," and were "poor role models."