Friday, June 30, 2006

Security Guards Eye Organizing

Security Guards Eye Organizing: Black Workers Worry About Being Displaced - Washington Post

There are two dynamics at play, with respect to competition between Blacks and Hispanics, which need to be considered as we search for solutions to immigration and Black economic plight.

The first is that America is primarily an ‘immigrant engine’, or country optimized to convert immigrants up an economic chain. Huddled masses enter at one end, with only the clothes on their proverbial backs, and exit later as working and middle class success stories. In between they gladly and faithfully follow the markings on the floor. They know their power comes later.

Blacks, however, did not come to this country as immigrants and feel limited compulsion to play a ‘game’ stacked against them, even if it was also stacked against others too. Regardless of whether their compulsion is justified or not, the end result is that the group is defiant to the only factors this country can reward, that of ‘striving’ immigrant behavior.

Education is the prime example of defiance that works against Blacks. Education is a prerequisite to success, yet Blacks continue to place reduced emphasis on its attainment, with debilitating results. Hispanic education performance, normalized for cultural and language difference, will ultimately outpaced that of Blacks, as it has already begun to show in mathematics.

The second dynamic is that the arrested pace of progress of Blacks, on the economic bottom of the country, represents a navigational block for those more recent immigrants that have come here over the past 20 years. Navigating around Blacks, stuck in low-wage jobs, largely due to poor education and skills, places a greater stress on the limited, and sometimes shrinking, pipeline resources of the country.

When we see Blacks strategizing to hold-on to low-wage jobs, we are seeing a group in surrender, and a country derailed. Whether it is as a janitor or security guard, these jobs will always be but stepping-stones, never careers, to destinations for realizing this land’s opportunity.

James C. Collier

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