Racism in employment still exists?
James Hassett believes so:
One recent study by economists Yusuf Baskaya and Isaac Mbiti of Brown University went to Olympian lengths to explain the differential employment results and found that they could not, then concluded that employment differences “may stem from discrimination by employers who lay off black workers disproportionately during economic downturns.” While it is possible that there is some other omitted variable, Occam’s Razor suggests that discrimination is alive and well.
This might surprise many readers who live and work in well-integrated communities. Baskaya and Mbiti can explain the surprise, too. They found that there appears not to be any sign of discrimination against higher-skilled workers, those in the highest quartile of the wage distribution.
I don’t know whether racism in employment still exists or not, but I think it is sloppy to attribute disturbances in employment statistics as “discrimination”. This plays right into the hands of race hustlers who hold the view that the Obama administration should pursue a “black agenda” . It smacks of sloppiness because there are a variety of reasons why black unemployment is high such as high dropout rates (which charter schools won’t address), high crime rates, high pregnancy rates, and a very easy receptiveness to government welfare. When people like Mr. Hassett easily go for the “discrimination” response he shouldn’t be surprised when an increasing number of “disparate impact” lawsuits follow.
But what if even high crime rates, high pregnancy rates, and high dropout rates don’t even have anything to do with high black unemployment? What if instead it is simply government policy that is contributing to high black unemployment (and high unemployment, for that matter)? I was speaking with a former older colleague who made a $1.95 an hour as a night manager at Jack-In-The-Box in the 70s. Obviously he is not making that now, but it demonstrates that as we advance in our working careers we tend to make more money when we are older because we have more skills that are valuable to future employers. However, employers must contend with minimum wage laws, pay worker compensation insurance premiums, pay unemployment taxes, pay payroll taxes, follow OSHA guidelines, follow DOL guidelines, comply with multiple state and federal regulations, and this is on top of making sure they are an “equal opportunity employer”. What if all of that had more to do with high unemployment among blacks than anything else? Would you worry about hiring a “protected class” knowing that if you don’t tread lightly it can open you up to lawsuits under any type of “disparate impact” or “disparate treatment”?
The bottom line is that we shouldn’t be worried about high unemployment in one specific group relative to another. Instead we should just be worried about high unemployment. After all, I don’t think the white intern that I interned with at KPMG much appreciates being unemployed either.