1865 to 2016: 151 Years in Forfeit

31 Jul

I suspect the average African slave freed from bondage in 1865 possessed more marketable job skills than a contemporary young urban black today.

What’s that you say?

Consider:

Teamster, tanner, weaver, arborist, butcher, housemaid, butler, mechanic, blacksmith, wheelwright, dairymaid, sawyer, cook, drover, thresher, farmer; these are skills that at the time could qualify one  for ready employment and were possessed by thousands of the newly freed people entering the workforce at war’s end.  Many of these people had lifetime employment and training in specialized skills. Often, the most qualified had been hired out at wages, benefit to the owner, of course.

However, in 1865, the newly emancipated would compete directly with whites for jobs in a destroyed Southern economy where jobs were scarce if not nonexistent and so all sorts of barriers to employment would be erected. Many continue to this day.

Today, a ghetto dwelling African-American not only competes for a job with whites but with Hispanics who bring a strong work ethic from other cultures as well as with countless hard working minions in the Far East. But has the average young black or white ghetto dweller even one marketable skill today or the ability to successfully apply for a job?

Our cynical welfare and charity systems have succeeded in keeping a second (third?) consecutive generation dependent on financial support and that, combined with the subsequent exportation of most entry level and semi-skilled jobs abroad, compounds the dilemma.

Without the leaven of gainful employment bringing a sense of personal worth and independence to an individual, full participation in a culture is denied. If  this continues past one generation all familial memory of, and positive instruction in gainful employment, could be lost. In many instances children are raised by parents and perhaps grandparents as well, who have never held a real job.  Thus, a form of employment illiteracy comes into existence and with it a disdain for the very concept of employment.  Having a job becomes uncool and street smarts begin to diss working as folly.

The very language of work is in danger of becoming anathema.  Punch a clock, nine to five,  promptness, loyalty, these words are at risk of leaving the language for many. But what are the alternatives?  Next to none in the present environment because certain actions and fiscal policies are in place that threaten to bring the rest of us to the same dependent position ultimately if continued.

We were promised a successful Service Based economy when the manufacturing jobs left town. Didn’t happen. Next we were assured the Information Technology economy was the coming savior. Nope. Didn’t happen either. Now the future can be clearly seen on the shelves of any Dollar Tree store. Every item one dollar. Most are imported from nine thousand  miles away, yet are still sold in the good old U S of A for a buck. Take that, financial guru. Tell us how you’ll fix it!

No skills, no jobs and no prospects are in sight because those in a position to change this have demonstrated no interest in doing so.  So the big money sits idle, making nothing but more of itself and the finite economic pool is diminished by countless trillions to no good end. Has any moneyed class in history been more deliberately shortsighted, more incestuously wrapped in itself or more obviously doomed to fail?

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