Dr. Boyce: What Malcolm and Martin Would Say About the Black Unemployment Problem

Hello everyone,

In case you aren’t aware, there continue to be disturbing trends in the unemployment data.  You may have heard in the media that the unemployment numbers last month were optimistic, but that was not true for the African American community.  According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment declined for every demographic within the white community, but it actually increased for every measured group within the African American community (men, women and teenagers). Even worse is the fact that after this recession is over, black unemployment won’t be any better than white unemployment is right now (Racial Inequality 101).  As you can read in this article, I am perpetually united with other black scholars and public figures who are deeply concerned about this issue.

Many years ago, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King shared their visions for the African American community.  Dr. King’s dream has been co-opted and morphed into a message that has become both shallow and commercialized, while Malcolm’s dream was forgotten altogether.  Both of these men told us long ago that black unemployment would continue to be a chronic economic disease for our nation until African Americans find ways to own some of the businesses that are giving out jobs. But after spending 400 years having our wealth extracted, thus killing our ability to pass anything onto our children, we continue to find ourselves economically marginalized. 

To help alleviate these issues, we’ve put together two initiatives.  The first is the Ujamaa Initiative to support black businesses.  I have agreed to serve as the national spokesperson for the Ujamaa Initiative, which has the sole objective of bringing together black businesses with consumers wishing to support them.  We must find ways to strengthen the businesses in our communities instead of begging for jobs that will never come to pass.   If you’d like to support the initiative, you can sign up for free by clicking here.

The second initiative we’ve put together is the "Less Talk, More Action Empowerment Tour," which I’ve joined with financial experts Ryan Mack and Manyell Akinfe, along with Columbia University Education Professor Christopher Emdin and Entrepreneurship guru Andrew Morrison.  The tour is designed to travel the United States to offer substantive, tangible solutions to economic problems that continue to plague the black community.  We address three key issues that continue to be ignored by politicians clamoring for our votes:  Educational inequality, Economic inequality and Mass Incarceration.  All three of these issues work together as (what I refer to as) the Holy Trinity of Racial Oppression and continue to decimate the black family in America.  The Your Black World Coalition, which now has 76,000 members nation-wide, is committed to finding solutions to these problems.

To find out more about the Less Talk, More Action Tour, please visit this link. We’ve taken the tour to New York, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Atlanta.  The next stop is New Orleans on January 27th.   If you’d like to support the Your Black World Coalition in some way, please feel free to reach out to me directly.  Our goal is to embrace black scholarship in action….you won’t see us hiding away in our offices writing research papers that only a few dozen people are going to read – we take our knowledge and expertise to the people where it belongs. 

Until we meet again, stay strong, be blessed and be educated.

Dr. Boyce Watkins



Filed under African Americans

11 responses to “Dr. Boyce: What Malcolm and Martin Would Say About the Black Unemployment Problem

  1. Ken Rasheed

    While I applaud your efforts we must keep in mind that the federal government is not responsible for everything that is wrong in the black community. The Wille Lynch syndrome is still alive and well. We don’t support black business and we are jealous of those that have their own business. We are killing each other at alarming rates. The incarceration rate is high because we are killing each other and committing crimes against each other. Who are black men selling their drugs to? They are selling them to black people. Malcolm said that we cannot depend on our enemies to help and support us. Let’s stop blaming the government and put the blame where it should be. It’s on us to make things happen for ourselves. I personally don’t think we will ever come together as a people.

  2. BlackBeauty

    Ken Rasheed,

    I applaude your post.

    You are absolutely correct!

  3. I agree with the article and the pain of not having a job. But also we should examine why some of us Blacks are not hired. First some of us have been to prison for small or big offenses. That part alone gives white employers excuse not hiring us. They can query background in state case data base and find if we have been criminals. But some use such cases illegally. For example if employer finds I was jailed for child support non-payment, this has nothing to do denying me heavy truck delivery job. Such excuses are non-job related. But also I have experienced some employers including state agencies that don’t want hiring Blacks. Therefore we have to know how to sue employers. Employer will produce reasons for not hiring us in court or agencies. That way we know exactly why were not hired. But also we should look at ourselves. A few days ago I wrote observations and some Black “du” labeled me as “Oreo” i.e. black outside but white inside. I said many of us Blacks want cushion jobs. I have a temp agency and many jobs available now are assembly work, driving heavy equipment, merchandize delivery; shipping work, cleaning, drywall painting, lawn maintenance; moving services etc. These jobs need strong people who can work standing. Many of us Blacks are extremely strong. However, my experience my Black employees is they work for a month or two and leave-giving reasons standing is hard for their feet. That is why my company is now in trouble finding Blacks and American workers as whole. So people you hear complaining about lack of jobs may not want certain jobs. This is serious. Another issue is pay. Most people leave my temp agency because I pay $7-$8 per hour depending on job. They do not realize that in most cases they can work over-time landing them to $13 per hr. Mexicans accept minimum pay and do not whine about pay. While this sad contradictions exist, I have still advice Black people, White women, poor White males, the elderly and racial minorities as whole – to line up with President Obama. People should never make same the mistake in 2010 elections – listening to TEA Party and electing Republicans. You will regret. Visit Wisconsin and in all states with Republican governors. People of all colors and age are crying why they voted republican. GOP governors are abusing people – making them slaves again. Republicans have vowed wipe out all programs such as food stamps, infant nutrition, unemployment benefits and job training etc. Republicans don’t care if all Blacks and poor Whites die. They regard us as nuisance. All they care is whether CEOs are making profits to contribute to their elections. At least Obama listens to us. I am told many Black and women organization leaders easily can call for appointment with President Obama. Of course some us Black people are jealousy Obama and not them is the President of US and the world. Some even say that Obama is not Black. That’s silly. Obama has experienced the same frustrations and discrimination like most of us. Blacks should not be jealousy for things we cannot all reach. Not all of us can be President. At least we have a Black/White person (Obama) representing all races. Don’t make mistakes of 2010 by electing Republicans. People are crying electing radical GOP governors- they are stripping them of union rights. I am urging people to line up with Obama in 2012 elections. I trust President Obama will work for all of us.

  4. young fashion

    I am a upcoming artist and i would love too join this educational movement.In other words give my young peers sum words of encouragement n a performance that is worth the wait please contact me back as soon as possiable.fashionnnnnnnnnnn

  5. Kim

    I must by all means agree with Ken.

  6. Patrick

    Great article, but sometimes we are our own enemies; what I mean is this……First let me say I’m blessed to have a full time job, Thank the Lord, the other day I went to get a side job to help with my christmas expense, their was a lot of brother and sister there also, who past the inicial screening; but the next step was the DRUG TEST, OUT OF 12 people only 3 passed the drug test.
    So who are we going to blame for that?????

  7. gabriel obanda

    Did you know that at this very momment there is a credible, verifiable , actionable solution to chronic African American and nationwide unemployment that doesn’t require any new investments?. what is it, you ask, – a united front to create jobs for us and by us- FUBU for business – accessing all the government tools available- note i didn’t even mention Africa and the Carribean yet- we just need unity, our community leaders must bring us together NOW! we can do it! for business ideas – i have some- i believe brothers and sisters in the Black World – All people of African origin will chip in. We can wipe out poverty, hopelessness, chronic unemployment and other social ills in one year or less, GUARANTEED! WE START NOW, is everybody ready?

  8. Pingback: Dr. Boyce: What Would Malcolm and Martin Say about Black Unemployment? | Your Black World

  9. bunny

    I am really frustrated with the blame game when it comes to our issues as African Americans. We have never been able to wait on the government. We are resilient and must look at our past to remember what we accomplished even when racism continued to be in full force. These articles perpetuate the myth that we can’t make it unless somebody takes care of us. We are our worst enemies. Yes, as tax payers, we must have accountability, but to not recognize our roles in our destiny is irresponsible and short-sighted.

  10. andrea

    Although umemployment still plaques the African American community, we must be candid in our way of thought by realizing that some are unemployed, because they are not driven. We have learned from years of struggle that nothing comes easy.By now, we know that we must work harder and bond together, yet we elect not to support small black business or neverheless our brothers and sisters. Nothing worth having is given; it is earned. All black men can’t carry briefcases and call themselves the likes of Dr. King or Dr. Boyce. Some of our people are even too proud to serve their country for fear that they will enable the white man. These are those who struggle socially and economically. I have encountered men and women who have served time and turned their lives around and are employed. May it be a home business or working for someone else, they didn’t throw their chins in the air and blame everyone else. They took action. Blue collar is the name of the game. White collar is fine, too, but however, everyone can’t be a part of this world. Although I am fortunate to be a part of this world, as I an an Educator and US Army retired, I still encourage those of us who dare to come out of starched and press white shirt, that there there is employment if you dare to press forward. Pride keeps most from employment. I didn’t accomplish what I’ve accomplished by blaming society. It was God, my parents and an untouchable work ethic that bought me here. I instill this in all whom I encounter. All the way from the backwoods of North Carolina, I can run with the best of them and still obtain employment, because of my inner strength. These are the types of character traits that it takes to help relieve chronic unemployment in the black community. I’m sorry, but this is a sad song that you can’t sing too loudly to my choir.

  11. Lawrence Sims

    Malcolm and Martin might probably stress the need fore more group economics from the top 3-5 percent African American wage earners/holders that would result in creation of more jobs and on thejob training within our community for our youth and their parents! Whereas, they aren’t here to stress that point those VOICES who can should.

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