Jan 22, 2012

The Face of the New Unemployed

Every day you hear politicians talking about the unemployment rate. They aren't doing anything about creating jobs, but they constantly talk about the high unemployment rate.

Many people think of the unemployed in terms of stereotypes-lazy, not motivated, irresponsible, unskilled, indifferent...you get the idea. Some think that if someone really wants a job, they could get one. Folks that are working hold their head up and feel just a little bit taller than those without a job. They spend their time shaking their heads about the jobless and remarking about people soaking up unemployment compensation in lieu of getting a job. They wonder why there are large numbers of African Americans without employment.

"Unemployed Wall Street protesters only have themselves to blame for lacking a job". So says Herman Cain, Republican presidential candidate. He told the poor and the jobless to "blame yourselves".

If you don't have a job, many in the GOP think it's your own fault. Never mind that there are fewer jobs than people looking by a wide margin, somehow if the unemployed would try harder, the jobs will magically appear:

GOP debate crowd cheers idea that jobless are to blame for their plight, comments by Greg Sargent: ...This moment from last night’s debate, in which the audience cheered the idea that the unemployed are solely to blame for not having a job, strikes me as one of the most iconic moments we’ve seen at the debates yet...

Anderson Cooper says: “Herman Cain, I’ve got to ask you — two weeks ago, you said, `Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job, and you’re not rich, blame yourself.’ That was two weeks ago. Do you still say that?” At this point applause starts, and after Cain stands by the claim, the applause crescendos and hoots of approval can be heard.

Lovely,... the crowd is applauding the idea that the unemployed are solely to blame for their plight. The basic suggestion here is that ... it’s morally correct to place all the blame for unemployment on the jobless themselves. ...

Convenient, isn't it? It gives people who don't think they have any obligation to contribute to social insurance a reason to turn their backs on the unemployed.

While the recession has changed things for many whites, the black population is still suffering hardest because of it. National labor statistics put black unemployment at 16 percent for September 2011, a good 7 percentage points higher than the 9.1 percent national average. That number includes college and non-college educated people.

Sometimes people acting like a degree is a magical cure-all, but there are many people with degrees working at fast food places, Wal-Mart, or any place else that will hire them. Having a degree does make a difference. Statistics show that only 4.2 percent of those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher are unemployed. This compares to the 9.7 percent of those with a high school diploma and 14 percent of those without a high school diploma (September 2011 data). The degree apparently makes a difference, YET the unemployment rate for each group has increased through the recession.

What these numbers show is that each group is struggling. The unemployed today are both educated and uneducated. They are male and female. They are responsible and deadbeats. Despite their various difference, one thing is clear: There are no jobs. And whether you have no degrees or three degrees, the job recruiter is not calling either of you.

Those who are unemployed work to fight the negative stereotypes. They are still job-hunting, keeping busy just for their own sanity, and fine tuning their resumes as well. They volunteer, set up job interviews as they can. Some take that unpaid internship or take multiple part time jobs. They struggle to preserve their egos and self esteem, while maintaining a positive personal image.

Sooner or later, unemployment comes to an end, but often times the person will never have same attitude about the workplace. Just think, most of us are just one paycheck from disaster and from becoming a statistic in the unemployment rate. We should demand that our politicians take immediate action to create jobs for the unemployed. Unfortunately, they only give the issue lip service and just worry about keeping their job.



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