The next time someone passes around one of these tired myths, if you can resist smacking them in the mouth, pass on some real data to them, or at least encourage them to do some research themselves before passing lies as truth.
1 There are more Black men in prison than in college.
As late as 2004, the US Census reported that there were 864,000 Black men in college.
Out of the 40 million-plus African Americans that the 2008 Census found, less than one million are in jail or prison.
According to the US Census Bureau, 68.1% of all Black men and 62.3% of Black women over the age of 16 are in the civilian labor force.
Of the 40 million-plus Blacks in this nation, only 8.1 million have incomes below the poverty line.
3 Black people abuse the Welfare system and are swelling it beyond capacity.
The actual number of Black families on Welfare has been decreasing since the early 1970’s.
Benefit programs for predominantly White farmers and big businesses far outweigh the Welfare program. Who is abusing welfare?
4. Most Black men are married to White women.
According to the most recent Census statistics, more than 90% of all Black men who are married are married to Black women.
5. Affirmative Action unfairly provides opportunities for Black America.
Affirmative Action is inappropriately used to define Black preferential treatment and “quotas” but it was actually designed to benefit a number of groups who have been discriminated against, creating parity in the workplace.
Since the 1970’s, Affirmative Action has benefited White women more than any other group.
6. Poor Blacks would be better off if they stopped using drugs and took better care of their communities. And, Blacks need to stop pushing drugs to their own people.
According to a study by the Sentencing Project, the number of Blacks in prison for drug-related crimes fell by 21.6 % from 1999 to 2005, while the number of Whites in prison for drug-related crimes increased by 42 % during the same time period.
7 Blacks suffer from Black on Black crime.
Many crimes, including murder, rape and robbery, are crimes of location, not color. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 85% of African Americans report another Black person as the perpetrator of the crime and 80% of White murders were committed by other Whites.
However, when race does play a role in crime, the victims of violent crimes are more likely to be Black, while the perpetrators, are more likely to be White.
8 Blacks commit more crimes than Whites.
According to “The Real War on Crime,” a report by the National Criminal Justice Commission, African-American arrest rates for drugs during the height of the ‘drug war’ in 1989 were five times higher than arrest rates for Whites even though Whites and African-Americans were using drugs at the same rate.
According to the Federal Judicial Center, the average sentences for African Americans for weapons and drug charges have been 49% longer than for Whites who had been convicted of the same crimes.
9 Women outnumbering men in college is a Black phenomenon.
According to the US Department of Education, male undergraduates account for 44 percent of student population, while female undergraduates account for 56 percent. This is not race specific.
10 Integration and Assimilation were positive developments for African-Americans.
False. Black America had great success before integration. In fact, by 1900, the number of African-American businesses nationally, totaled 40,000, including the Greenfield Bus Body Company, which manufactured automobiles, and a hotel in New York City valued at $75,000. By 1908, we had 55 privately owned banks. By 1912, there were two millionaires, Madam C.J. Walker (hair care) and R. R. Church (real estate).
By 1923, Tulsa, Oklahoma was home to The Black Wall Street, an African American community of 11,000. Which featured nine hotels, nineteen restaurants and thirty-one grocery stores and meat markets, ten medical doctors, six lawyers, and five real estate and loan insurance agencies, complete with five private planes.
If you don’t believe that racism in the job market is real, then please read this article by Yolanda Spivey. Spivey, who was seeking work in the insurance industry, found that she wasn’t getting any job offers. But as an experiment, she changed her name to Bianca White, to see if employers would respond differently. You’ll be shocked and amazed by her phenomenal story.
Before I begin, let me quote the late, great, Booker T. Washington who said, “Of all forms of slavery there is none that is so harmful and degrading as that form of slavery which tempts one human being to hate another by reason of his race or color.”
For two years, I have been unemployed. In the beginning, I applied to more than three hundred open positions in the insurance industry—an industry that I’ve worked in for the previous ten years. Not one employer responded to my resume. So, I enrolled back into college to finish my degree. After completing school this past May, I resumed my search for employment and was quite shocked that I wasn’t getting a single response. I usually applied for positions advertised on the popular website Monster.com. I’d used it in the past and have been successful in obtaining jobs through it.
Two years ago, I noticed that Monster.com had added a “diversity questionnaire” to the site. This gives an applicant the opportunity to identify their sex and race to potential employers. Monster.com guarantees that this “option” will not jeopardize your chances of gaining employment. You must answer this questionnaire in order to apply to a posted position—it cannot be skipped. At times, I would mark off that I was a Black female, but then I thought, this might be hurting my chances of getting employed, so I started selecting the “decline to identify” option instead. That still had no effect on my getting a job. So I decided to try an experiment: I created a fake job applicant and called her Bianca White.
First, I created an email account and resume for Bianca. I kept the same employment history and educational background on her resume that was listed on my own. But I removed my home phone number, kept my listed cell phone number, and changed my cell phone greeting to say, “You have reached Bianca White. Please leave a message.” Then I created an online Monster.com account, listed Bianca as a White woman on the diversity questionnaire, and activated the account.
That very same day, I received a phone call. The next day, my phone line and Bianca’s email address, were packed with potential employers calling for an interview. I was stunned. More shocking was that some employers, mostly Caucasian-sounding women, were calling Bianca more than once, desperate to get an interview with her. All along, my real Monster.com account was open and active; but, despite having the same background as Bianca, I received no phone calls. Two jobs actually did email me and Bianca at the same time. But they were commission only sales positions. Potential positions offering a competitive salary and benefits all went to Bianca.
At the end of my little experiment, (which lasted a week), Bianca White had received nine phone calls—I received none. Bianca had received a total of seven emails, while I’d only received two, which again happen to have been the same emails Bianca received. Let me also point out that one of the emails that contacted Bianca for a job wanted her to relocate to a different state, all expenses paid, should she be willing to make that commitment. In the end, a total of twenty-four employers looked at Bianca’s resume while only ten looked at mines.
Is this a conspiracy, or what? I’m almost convinced that White Americans aren’t suffering from disparaging unemployment rates as their Black counterpart because all the jobs are being saved for other White people.
My little experiment certainly proved a few things. First, I learned that answering the diversity questionnaire on job sites such as Monster.com’s may work against minorities, as employers are judging whom they hire based on it. Second, I learned to suspect that resumes with ethnic names may go into the wastebasket and never see the light of day.
Other than being chronically out of work, I embarked on this little experiment because of a young woman I met while I was in school. She was a twenty-two-year-old Caucasian woman who, like myself, was about to graduate. She was so excited about a job she had just gotten with a well-known sporting franchise. She had no prior work experience and had applied for a clerical position, but was offered a higher post as an executive manager making close to six figures. I was curious to know how she’d been able to land such a position. She was candid in telling me that the human resource person who’d hired her just “liked” her and told her that she deserved to be in a higher position. The HR person was also Caucasian.
Another reason that pushed me to do this experiment is because of the media. There’s not a day that goes by in which I fail to see a news program about how tough the job market is. Recently, while I was watching a report on underemployed and underpaid Americans, I saw a middle aged White man complaining that he was making only $80,000 which was $30,000 less than what he was making before. I thought to myself that in this economy, many would feel they’d hit the jackpot if they made 80K a year.
In conclusion, I would like to once again quote the late, great, Booker T. Washington when he said, “You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.”
The more America continues to hold back great candidates based on race, the more our economy is going to stay in a rut. We all need each other to prosper, flourish, and to move ahead.