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How to Safeguard Black Menís Careers
By: Ehimwenma E. Aimiuwu
Dec 2007

 

 

It is know to all who care that in todayís world, the Black man is the last to get hired and the first to get laid off or fired.  This is not because the Black man is lazy or incompetent, but because capitalism has chosen him as the human cheap labor to generate wealth for others and to keep the economy growing.  Despite the fact that the United States preaches equality and fairness, this does not really apply to Black people, especially the males.   

After I left college with my MBA, I took my motherís advice to never stop going to school until I got all my degrees.  She reasoned that it was more difficult to continue ones education after you have started making money and have started a family.  She felt it was better to get the education out of the way and use it as a foundation for career advancement rather than it becoming the reason of career stagnation because it is now too late to go back to school.  I ran with this until I realized that it was the rule for Blacks living in Black countries or White Americans, but not for Blacks in America.

  

You see, it hurts corporate America to hire Black men in big high paying positions.  This is because he is supposed to be the wealth generator and not the wealth receptor.  Whenever many Black men apply for positions that match their degrees and expertise, they hardly get a call for an interview for almost a year, but when they decide to settle for lesser positions, their phones ring off the hook.   When they get to the jobs, their bosses are not even half as qualified as they are.  The lucky ones who even get jobs worth their degree almost have no comfort at their place of work unless they are uncle toms, raised by White families, married a non-Black, or play the role of a fool.  The reason for this is that once you get a descent paying job, you are expected to keep quiet and be grateful.  This is where he gets written up for things others take for granted, this is where he is considered not to be a team player because he doesnít run around begging for others to speak to him, it is where customers and employees can complain about him and he will not know about it to defend himself for months until he gets a bad raise, it is where he is only given the information they want him to know, and if he speaks out against it, then it is time for everyone in his department to get rid of the ungrateful ox.   

The sad part of all this is that the EEOC and the Federal laws against discrimination cannot really assist you in keeping your job if you get laid off or fired with one year of work in many states.  They claim that in these states, you can get fired without cause and if you have not been there up to a year, they have nothing to stand on against the employer.  In fact, in civil-rights cases, the judge is allowed to rule that you pay back the employer the cost of defending itself if you lose.  So the pressure is on you to either cry out or maybe lose your house.    Donít you truly feel free?  The happiest and most content Black men I have seen at work are those working part-time and low income jobs.    This is not because they lack ambition to aspire for more, but because no one reports them for doing nothing wrong, bosses appreciate them for their efforts, they get good raises, and their boss will not even write them up unless it was serious.  It is a case of money and promotion is not always everything, but peace of mind.  They have this fake peace because they are at the exact position the systems expects them to be and they are doing the very thing the system expects them to do Ė generate wealth for sustenance. 

I write this article because I want Black parents and young Black boys to realize that they cannot compete with Whites or Black women fairly in America.  This is because for the Whites, it is their system and for the Black females, they will always keep their tails between their legs for the sake of building a career and caring for their children.  Black women are known to do their jobs well no matter the insult because they will not miss a dollar for their childrenís care and they have other Black women watching out for their success for the same reason.  The Black man has absolutely no one watching out for him, unless he wants to play the foolish clown and errand laughing boy role.  Men usually put honor over money, and can only accept insults for so long.  It becomes a case of allow us to degrade you or be unemployed.  So what must every Black boy do to bet this degrading system? 

I say every Black boy by tenth grade should be planted in any descent corporation or company in the locality as early as possible even for a low paying menial job.  This allows him to get familiar with the job, people, and company without being a threat for advancement.   Then he must get his bachelors degree even if the company is not paying for it or if he has to school at night or part time.  By this time, he would have about six years of experience under his belt and a college degree.  This will make it difficult for any company to fire or lay him off without cause and by then, he has acquired enough experience and qualification to seek better employment within or outside the company.  This method allows him to build patience while he lays a foundation for success without been seen as a threat.  It is always easier to settle for less when you have nothing and work your way up, than when you have advance degrees and the system pushes you down.  If birds have learned to fly without resting, because men have learned to shoot without missing, then Black boys must learn to rise without detection, because the system is determine to keep us in denigration.   

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April 23, 2008

Mr. Aimiuwu:

I read your article titled: "How to Safeguard Black Men's Careers." I
agree with your points in the article. In addition, I have to say that
it also applies to Hispanic males.

I also kept going to school as you did early in life, because I thought
that was going to be the safe path for me to stay employed, but
unfortunately it didn't turn out that way. I went all the way to my
J.D. which I thought would be more than enough to keep me employed,
but unfortunately once you start in Corporate America, it becomes less
relevant what kind of degree you have, than what color your skin is.
Unfortunately, people are still judge based on race, instead of what
the person can do for you.

From my experiences, I have noticed that whenever in my instance, a
Hispanic male wants to make something out themselves they are called
arrogant, as opposed to when an Anglo-American wants to make
something out of themselves they are called ambitious. It is a sad
truth that unless you hide your ethnicity and start acting "white"
most of the time you are left behind.

I don't want to keep rambling on, but I just wanted to say that I
agreed with your article and that it also applies to Hispanic Males,
and as you point out that African-American females will put up with the
abuse, so will Hispanic females.

For the males, it is more about keeping your honor and dignity.

I will also want to add, that another way to safeguard careers for
minorities is to teach them the art of Entrepreneurship from an early
age, so that when they get older they know how to manage and run their
own businesses.

Kind Regards,
Enrique