As a young black man living in America nothing concerns me more than the plight of the privileged older white man.
Before you give me that look let me explain why: If they’ve got it bad, imagine how much it’s gonna suck for me.
See, I’m making sense now, aren’t I?
That’s why I was initially worried about reports that the older paler population of America is reeling more than usual in this recession.
Maybe I no longer have to.
Previously, veteran white workers were largely spared the pain of widespread job cutbacks during times of economy turmoil. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics traditional bread-winning older males — especially white men — are now the most vulnerable.
Government data shows jobless rates for men and women older than 55 are at their highest level since the Great Depression. White men over 55 had a record 6.5% unemployment rate in the second quarter, exceeding the previous post-Depression high of 5.4% in 1983. The jobless rate for older black men was higher — 10.5% — but more than a percentage point lower than its 1983 peak.
So basically it’s starting to suck for older white guys, but it could be worse — they could be a black man looking for a job.
There are other groups performing better as well.
In 1983 black women were hit with a historically high unemployment rate of 20%. Today, that figure has been reduced to 12.2%.
Hispanic unemployment is about 6 percentage points below historic highs, too.
Amid the sudden downward financial turn in their lives, these unemployed men are itching for news ways to reinvent themselves personally and professionally.
Dean Canaris, a 56 year-old engineer for a Honda automotive supplier that was recently laid off still seemed hopeful in his interview with USA Today.
Already with leads on a few new jobs, Canaris said, “All I know is I'm optimistic. I have skills and I'm opening up my range to new possibilities.”
Call it a hunch, but despite this recession shrinking the racial gap in employment I’m inclined to think the hues of these older gentlemen still afford them a certain leverage not that most of us will never be privy to.
So no worries, guys, things will be OK. I doubt an old white guy is going to take Calvin's place as the face of the giddy McDonalds employee in any future commercials.
You can clearly point out how heartbroken I am about this issue, but what say you?
Leave your comments below and send your own recession tale to 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.