Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Post Office Jobs

There's much one could argue with in this analysis of the achievement gap between black and white Americans. But, as has been suggested in the comments elsewhere, it seems to be a problem with more than one source, and more than one answer. It seems to me part of the truth is in here.

This part, the federal jobs that provide good incomes and benefits for a great many black families who otherwise would not find them, is especially interesting to me. I began to notice this informally some time ago, without studying it. Here there seem to be numbers to back it up:

Public employment, more than blue-collar factory jobs, played a key role in lifting African Americans out of poverty. High black poverty rates, that is, did not result from deindustrialization. Aside from Detroit and Chicago, African Americans did not find extensive work in major cities in manufacturing and were denied the best industrial jobs. Even where black industrial work was common, service jobs remained the core of black urban employment. Black industrial workers, moreover, did not earn higher wages or work more steadily than African Americans employed in other sorts of work. ... Overall, the correlation between African Americans’ poverty rate and employment in government was a striking -0.7.

So does that render calls for smaller government and trimmed federal bureaucracy, de facto, racist? Anti-civil rights?

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