Monday, September 17, 2007

Black Economics / Black Politics

Black Hiring Blacks

Yet, more African Americans have the means to hire. A few years ago there was one Black-owned firm for every three White-owned businesses. That disparity, according to the Urban League's State of Black America in 2006 report, has dropped to 2.5 to one.

From 1997 to 2002 the number of businesses owned by Black entrepreneurs grew more than four times the U.S. rate. In 1997, according to the U.S. Census, 823,499 Black-owned businesses employed 718,341 workers. Five years later 1,197,988 African-American businesses had 770,746 pay-rolled workers, most of them in the service and retail industries.

And though it's generally not discussed, at least in mixed company, some of these Blacks hire immigrants. They mow Blacks' lawns, wash their dishes and baby-sit their kids. They are often from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and other Latin American countries, and they are frequently in this country illegally.

But to some African Americans, hiring a Latino immigrant is less about employing a non-Black than it is a non-White. "It can be complicated," said Percy Hintzen, a professor of African-American studies at the University of California Berkeley. "The African-American middle class has always been engaged with international issues, and always have sort of identified with the Diaspora, people in the Caribbean and those of the global south. There's a tendency for the middle class to be progressive or liberal."

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