Trending Topics

While Unemployment Rates Decrease, White Complaints Increase, Writer Says

The unemployment rate for black people has gone down, but that does not mean President Obama will get credit. Overall, black unemployment dropped from 15.8 to 13 percent, with black males making the sharpest decline, 17.3 to 13.6, compared to black women whose unemployment dropped from 12.8 to 10.8 percent. Despite this, there are people still angry about job prospects and that anger is directed toward the president—but the complainers are not black, according to Dr. Boyce Watkins.

White unemployment sits at 7.4 percent, yet Watkins says they are the most vocal group. According to Watkins, this is “is White Privilege 101.”  Dr.Watkins believes that black people are expected to bear their unemployment rate with little to no complaint. “The idea that African Americans should be pleased with 13 percent unemployment, while white Americans are allowed to complain about 7.4 percent, reminds us that there are democratic rights that white Americans are given that are rarely afforded to the black community,” writes Watkins.

This is a valid concern. White privilege is something that is rarely criticized because the critics are usually written off as “too sensitive” and that extends beyond employment. Black people often have their feelings disregarded by whites because whites have difficulty understanding, believing and relating to black problems—problems whites have never experienced because of their whiteness. Watkins believes black people need to be more willing to speak up about issues that affect their communities, like the state of the economy.

“Black people should not be afraid to speak up when they are suffering,” said Watkins.

Back to top