Based on recent figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Black unemployment is at 5.5% nationally, compared to 3.2% for whites, 3.9% for Hispanics and 2.5% for Asians. Believe it or not, the current numbers are the best we’ve seen in many decades. Still, it’s simply not good enough and the gap between Black and white remains monstrous. Closing that gap has always been and will forever be the responsibility of Black people.
In political circles many will celebrate the latest numbers, despite the pain that many Black communities feel each day. Others might applaud the “progress” but concede that more should be done. But truthfully, Black people cannot reasonably expect any other individual or group — benevolent as they might be — to earnestly and deeply prioritize the unemployment of Black people. It is Black people and Black people alone that must champion this cause because Black people bear the burden and consequences of Black unemployment. Understanding that it is no one else’s priority is the first and most critical step towards progress.
Today Black people are employed mostly by the government and Black owned businesses. Never forget that. As governments on the local, state and federal level continue to cut back and attempt to reduce payrolls, it simply isn’t realistic to expect the government to hire massive amounts of Black people, in an effort to further mitigate Black unemployment. What is possible, however, is Black owned businesses growing, expanding and hiring more Black people. Unlike government policy, Black consumers can directly influence whether or not that happens.
It’s literally that simple — as Black consumers (especially, not exclusively) buy Black, Black owned businesses have the means and justification to hire more people. No new government policy is necessary to wipe out Black unemployment. No new initiative from the White House or any other benevolent organization is required for Black unemployment to permanently disappear. This challenge is one that we need not fear. Black unemployment — its increase or demise — is completely under our control. It is within our power completely to wipe it out, when we buy Black.