Thursday, December 9, 2010

Black Power in the Workplace?

I came across an interesting article (link below) the other day talking about what could possibly be the next chapter of the Black Power Movement; that being African American entrepreneurship, and moving away from the sometimes racist workplace. The article tells us that African Americans are fifty percent more likely to try entrepreneurship than their Hispanic or white counterparts. Perhaps after being bossed around and oppressed for over one hundred years, African Americans are ready to call their own shots. In the article, a former fundraiser for Jesse Jackson 1988 presidential run tells us “In politics people always see your color," she says. "In business there's a greater chance they're just looking at cash. The only way to solve racism is to build institutions or businesses and make money. Period.” I wonder how much of a factor race plays in politics today, obviously most people would deny race being a factor but I wonder just how many people still today would base at least part of their decision solely on race. Also I wonder how much the second part of the quote plays true in reality. Does race not play any factor in the workplace? If it does how much of a factor is it? The article gives us another statistic that helps to answer these questions. According to a 1998 poll done by Fortune Magazine, around 81% of African Americans feel that racism is still somewhat commonplace in the modern day workplace. The only difference between the racism of the 1960’s in the workplace is that the discrimination is probably more subtle than it was back during the heat of the Civil Rights Movement. The article then goes to point out that one reason that African Americans might be moving out and starting their own businesses is that they can avoid discrimination, be their own boss, and to show that African Americans do have the power to start and maintain their own businesses. This could be affiliated with the Black Nationalism aspect of the Black Power Movement, it is just not as obvious as the Black Power Movement was back when it was in its prime.


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