The economic situation has changed considerably in America during the last half century. There was a time when the average man, regardless of race, could walk into a local factory and be able to find employment which would not only afford him a middle class lifestyle but also allowed him to support his family. Indeed despite racism the average Black man could always find legitimate work if he was willing to work. To say that situation has changed in the last fifty years is a major understatement. With numerous trade agreements allowing multinational corporations to send jobs to other countries the American middle class has been decimated. This in turn has had a disastrous effect on the Black community in general and on Black men in particular. As if the shuttering of factories wasn’t bad enough another phenomenon has arisen which further decreases the number of jobs available. That phenomenon is automation.
With the increasing amount of jobs being done by either computers or robots, the job market has decreased even further. For example, many customer service jobs are now done by automated answering services. Much of the manufacturing still done in this country is being performed by increasingly complex robots. Even such trends as online shopping is proving to be disruptive to job security in the retail industry. Indeed there may come a time when many workers won’t be needed to operate a grocery store as the technology exists for someone to use their smart phones to pay for groceries without the need to go through checkout lines.
According to current media propaganda the number of jobs are increasing. What’s not being said is that many of these jobs are part-time or flex jobs where an individual is making a little bit above minimum wage and working only twenty hours a week.
The reality is that if the greater American society has an issue finding employment that means the Black community in general, and Black men in particular have a major issues regarding employment. So how do we deal with this? Do we have yet another march demanding jobs from people who are not able to provide jobs for their own people? Do we support a charismatic speaker or politician selling us dreams? I say we simply create our own jobs.
Despite jobs being shipped overseas and the increasing automation of many occupations there are still things that must be done by people. Black men need to focus on creating these jobs for themselves. Now here’s the thing. The very nature of the emerging economy is that it’s tailor made for job creation. The reason is that many of the emerging companies focus on working with independent contractors. The 1099 tax form is becoming increasingly popular. A great example of this is Uber. The world’s biggest taxi company doesn’t actually own any cabs but works with independent drivers using their own cars. That’s one example. YouTube is another example as there are hundreds maybe thousands of people who make a decent amount of money making videos on a variety of subjects.
Uber and YouTube are far from the only options. I knew a young man who quite frankly didn’t seem that bright. No shade, just being honest. He knew how to detail a car though. Car detailing is something a Black man can do for a business. If he’s enterprising enough he can create a string of detailing shops where he can employ several other Black men. There are hundreds of examples.
The reality is that people will always need some type of service. Black men will always win if they put themselves in a position to provide those services.