The Obama administration’s response to the disproportionate impact of unemployment on African Americans â€” or lack thereof, depending on whom you ask ask â€” has been a recurring conversation over the president’s first four years.
Writing at the Guardian, Mychal Denzel Smith argues that African Americans â€” and black women in particular â€” are not reaping the benefits of the nation’s slow but steady economic recovery.
The national unemployment rate has gone down to 7.9%, but for black people, it remains stuck in the teens â€“ having gone up in the last jobs report before the election from 13.4% to 14.3%. This is because black job-seekers have to contend with something that does not come up in the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly jobs report: racism.
Take, for example, the story of Yolanda Spivey. Writing for Techyville, Spivey tells of job-searching online with the popular Monster.com â€“ with zero luck. Identifying as a black woman, Spivey says she did not receive a single response to her resume. Later, she posted a resume identical to her own, but under the name Bianca White â€“ this time, identifying as a white woman.
She received a phone call the very same day, and watched offers for interviews come in abundance via email and telephone the next day.
Spiveyâ€™s experiment is not unlike the studies that show it is easier for a white man with a criminal record to be called back for a job interview than it is for a black man without one. The biggest difference, of course, is gender: we have a tendency to focus on the experiences of black men, while little is made of the racism black women face, in the economy or otherwise. Although Spiveyâ€™s is only one story, it points to the struggles black women have faced during both the great recession and the recovery.