At President Obama's 100 days press conference, a reporter for BET News asked the President about the economy's effects on black men and if any policies were under consideration to help aid them in their plight.
As difficult as this recession has been to Americans from all walks of life, the economic crisis has been particularly unkind to black men.
Despite the historic feat that is Barack Obama’s ascension to the presidency, African American men overall haven’t had such difficulties finding work in over 50 years.
According to a report by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in the past 15 months the relative decline in black male employment was considerably higher than that of their male counterparts in the other three race-ethnic groups – Asians, Hispanics, and whites.
Many point to this as a result of the education gap between black men and other groups. Because there are less black men holding college degrees they are more incline to hold the blue-collar positions that have been severely affected by the state of the economy.
However, with a separate report revealing that blacks with college degrees have suffered more unemployment than whites that argument is negated.
As black men continue to struggle finish school what can anyone say to keep them encouraged about finishing their education?
What can anyone say to those that already have?
One reader has managed to get two degrees and is contemplating getting a third. But, with his quest to find a full-time job still unresolved all he can focus on are the people who chose a different route with more fruitful results.
“I have gotten into 3 graduate schools so far, but with the economy being how it is and there being so many cuts across the board in media, I have decided that it would be best for me to stay home and take the Interactive Communications Program online through Qunnipiac (instead of going to CT to take it) . That is, if I decide to even bother attempting to get another degree.
I graduated from UNLV with a film degree and emerging filmmaker award in 2007 as well as an associate’s degree in computer graphics in 2003. Yet here I am still unable to find full time employment despite my skills.
I have become sick and tired of freelancing as I see absolutely no future in media jobs or journalism. I have done internships and production assistant positions but they have yet to render anything that has allowed me to live a life that is not complete with borrowing money from my mother all the time though I try incredibly hard to be successful.
At this point I am pretty bitter about ever going to college and succeeding. I am terrified of leaving my state to go to a school for my masters and incurring ridiculous student loan debt and then becoming jobless once again with three degrees.
I was recently offered a position doing "new media" at a Casino that wanted to pay me 9.00/hr. I am almost 27-years-old with two degrees.
A week prior I was offered the chance to intern with a Senator in Washington DC. However, interning is for younger people whose families can put them up for the summer. Mine can not and as an adult I shouldn’t even ask my family to do such a thing. After all, if it don't make dollars it don't make sense (cents). right?
I have never wanted to be in law enforcement but at this point I am trying my hardest to get in and possibly use my digital skills to help in detective work or forensics work. I have never heard of officers getting laid off and in my first year I can make more money than my mother did in her 29th year of teaching.
My girl thinks I am giving up on all I have worked for, but she makes 3 times as much money as I did last year even with my 8 different W2 forms that I accumulated from freelance work.
I was always told that as a black man I had to be two or three times better than my white counterparts to succeed, and since my grandparents didn't even get to finish junior high school I was told education was vital.
What they don't tell you is education without proper securing the proper channels to help pave the way for you to land a job pointless.
I have done all that is asked of me, and have avoided the pull of drug dealing and crime to successfully avoid prison like my father and cousins. Still, I spend my days feeling like a loser while those I know who barely finished high school make more money than me.
This is not what it was supposed to be like.
How can I encourage my little sister to get a college education when often times I stare at my degrees and fight the desire to burn them simply because I know it would disappoint my family?”
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.