Princeton University

I Don’t Waste Energy Trying To Convert Racists!

Consider these excerpts from a Princeton University news release:

“Black applicants without criminal records are no more likely to get a job than white applicants just out of prison, according to a Princeton University study of nearly 1,500 private employers in New York City.

The study, ‘Discrimination in Low Wage Labor Markets,’ was conducted by sociology professors Devah Pager and Bruce Western . It is the largest and most comprehensive project of its kind to date.

The study, which investigated discrimination against young male minorities and ex-offenders by employers, also showed:

o Young white high school graduates were about twice as likely to receive positive responses from New York employers as equally qualified black job seekers;

o Ex-offenders face serious barriers to employment; a criminal record reduced positive responses from employers by about 35 percent for white applicants and 57 percent for black applicants.

Even without criminal records, however, black applicants had low rates of positive responses, about the same as the response rate for white applicants with criminal records. Hispanics also faced discrimination by employers, but were preferred relative to blacks.

‘The results of this landmark study are deeply disturbing and highlight the need for strong enforcement of the New York City Human Rights Law,” said Patricia Gatling, commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, which assisted in the study. In New York City it is illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race or a criminal record.

The researchers presented the results of their study at the Population Association of America’s annual meeting in Philadelphia on March 31 and are preparing a paper for submission to an academic journal.

‘A lot of people are skeptical that African Americans still face discrimination in the job market. But even in a diverse city like New York , the evidence of discrimination is unmistakable,’ Pager said.

Since 1972, the U.S. prison population has increased seven-fold, and that upsurge has affected young black men more than any other group. Research shows that young black men have a 28 percent chance of winding up in prison. About 60 percent of black high school dropouts will go to prison by age 35.

‘The statistics from our study suggest that employer discrimination against minorities and ex-offenders has significantly undermined job opportunities for young black men with little schooling,’ Western said.

So racism remains alive and well in the USA. What’s new?

I am not going to waste any more energy trying to convince or stop

racists from being racists. After 387 years of futile efforts of all

sorts, I’ve concluded, as Ray Charles was prone to quip: “It is what it


I am far more interested in developing success strategies even if

racists do not change. This is not to say that as we have opportunity,

we should not assist change, even in racists. I’m simply of the position

that a person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still.

I concede all the dismal data: African Americans are disproportionately

imprisoned, whatever that means, and upon release from prison confront

huge hurdles to transformation. Jobs seem scarce. Home plansoften appear

to be non-existent, and reality often seems to make recidivism a viable


But it does not have to be that way! Let’s do something different!

Let’s make entreprenurialship the focused economic option for criminals

who want to achieve transformation. Let’s develop transformation

villages! Here’s what I mean. Let’s partner with an organization like

UDI/CDC, which owns a huge industrial park in southwestern Durham County

and develop a first Transformation Village. Let’s not focus on trying to

find jobs for people to live in the village, except as temporary

“tide-overs.” Rather, let’s teach the residents how to develop

successful homebased businesses. We can begin this educational and

training process prior to release from prison. We can work with families

and friends to finance this transformation education/training process.

In fact, let’s try this on a small scale just to get a feel for it.

Let’s take a former criminal, someone who clearly wants to trudge the

arduous trek from crime to contribution, and let’s set this person up

with a homebased business as an affiliate marketer. Let’s teach this

person how to manage a successful affiliate marketing website. Let’s

teach this person how to reach a large and expanding market, with

proprietary products and how to take immediate and massive action as a

business owner.

Now, here’s the key! How many of us, who say we want to see criminals

transformed would be willing to purchase products and services online

from this former criminal’s website?

Consider potential numbers.

How many of us, for example, spend at least $500 annually at, say, Wal

Mart for example? Let’s say there are 10 of us who meet that criterion.

Do we know and would be contact say another 100 individuals each who

also spend about that much annually at the retailer. That’s 1,000

shoppers, spending $500,000 annually at one store. You see, we are not

talking new money, donations, etc. We are talking about simply

redirecting money we are already spending. Wal Mart’s affiliate

marketing program pays an average of seven percent commission. That’s

$35,000 annually in residual revenue from one store alone.

Now, if simultaneously, we are teaching this former criminal essential

knowledge in financial literacy, personal development, and all the other

skills that go along with becoming community contributors, then we will

have solve the economic issue. Guess what? Not one racist had to change!

Can we do this? Yes we can! Will we do it! That remains to be seen.

Examine this suggestion closely. Find the flaws, if you can! Let me hear

your opposing positions. I look forward to reading your comments.

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