Young, Black and Unemployed: The Tragedy of the 44%

Diane Abbott, Guardian (London), March 5, 2012

It is a paradox of the history of British migration that, while the first generation of postwar black immigrants came to this country to work, unemployment among their children and grandchildren is stubbornly high. Figures I’ve just received from the Labour Force Survey reveal that unemployment among young black people (aged 16-24) is a shocking 44%—over twice the rate of their white counterparts, of whom 20% are jobless.

Black and Asian migrants after the war helped rebuild the economy: working in factories; doing the night shifts; working on the railways and driving the buses. And a generation of West Indian women made a contribution to the health service that has never been properly celebrated. So whatever else the problem is, black Britons don’t come from households that didn’t value work.

One of the causes of high black unemployment is shared by working class males whatever their colour. Structural changes in the economy mean that the type of blue-collar jobs that the first generation of migrants did no longer exists. When I was a child, areas like Willesden and Park Royal in north-west London were full of manufacturing and light-engineering factories. The large black community there owes its existence partly to just those employment opportunities. But these jobs have largely vanished from London.

My father came to this country in the 1950s having left school in Jamaica at 14. But he was able to find factory work and rise to become a sheet metal worker with his own apprentices. Now there are no job opportunities for young people without formal qualifications. A generation ago it was still possible to leave school at 16 and become a bank clerk, a nurse, a local government officer. Now many employers recruiting for similar roles demand a degree. There is no question that a lack of qualifications holds some young black people back. But there is anecdotal evidence that black people emerging from university with the same qualifications as their white peers find it much more difficult to get employment. Lack of qualifications alone does not account for this level of unemployment.

What is clear is that this recession is hitting ethnic minorities disproportionately hard. And the figures can only get worse. Black people, particularly women, are more likely to work in the public sector. This is partly because in diverse inner-city areas the public sector is the biggest employer. But it is also because large public-sector organisations tend to have better, more transparent policies around equal opportunity. Yet the public sector is bearing the brunt of George Osborne’s cuts.

In recent decades black people have made advances in all kinds of employment. But the Americans have a saying: “Last to be hired, first to be fired”. This may be reflected in some of the racial disparities that are emerging.

Some people will be antagonised by any discussion of the fact that spiralling unemployment is hitting black people hardest. They may think it a price worth paying for cutting back on public spending. Or they may argue that it doesn’t matter what colour you are. But the more unequal a society, the more unstable it is. And inequality with a racial dimension risks creating a time bomb. The immediate response to last summer’s riots was (quite correctly) a call to restore order. But these figures are not irrelevant. Policymakers cannot afford to ignore black unemployment.

Hardworking immigrant grandparents would not want special treatment for this generation: after all, they themselves did not have any. But they would expect this society to care, and be prepared to examine carefully what the underlying reasons might be. That generation of migrants were God-fearing monarchists. So they would expect fairness and justice. And as their grandchildren might put it: “No Justice, No Peace”.


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  • loyalwhitebriton

    Diane Abbott is a professional Black woman – by that I mean she makes a living out of being Black; grievance politician extraordinaire.
    Everything, and I mean everything, is viewed through the prism of racism. Everything.
    Black ,feminist, lesbian (she recently ‘came out’), socialist Diane Abbott will not be happy until every Black woman in Britain is ‘supported’ by the White majority, either in welfare, or in employment in the Public Sector.
    “Black people, particularly women, are more likely to work in the public sector”.
    Of course they are. They can’t do much else.

    • Detroit_WASP

      Most blacks see EVERY issue as a racial issue.  If it rains on their birthday, it is racism.   I get ill when I hear whites say, “it’s not about race” or, “I’m not a racist but…”  To blacks, everything is about race and if you are white, you are automatically a racist.  Wake up whitey!

      • loyalwhitebriton

        I’m alreday wide awake, thanks. I agree with the rest of your comment, though.

  • The polices of importing non-whites and exporting manufacturing are not related.  It’s a direct outgrowth of “invade the world invite the world” imperialism.

  • Alexandra1973

    I thought “welfare queen” was a career that a lot of them wanted…?

  • He was being facetious, methinks

  • Are you from England?

  • Alexandra1973

    I wonder if liberals realize that they themselves are repressing these “minorities.”  Is it really fair to expect non-whites to act white?  These “minorities” act up and instead of people acknowledging that it’s their culture and genetic heritage, whitey gets the blame.

  • KenelmDigby

    And the immigrationists and the elitists insist, arguing till they are blue in the face, day after day, year after year, decade after decade, that mass uncontrolled immigration of third worlders is ‘economically beneficial’ to the UK.
    Evidently this is a damnable falsehood and the complete antithesis of the truth.
    This point must be remembered whenever discussing immigration with a committed immigrationist.

  • bubo

    It’s an almost unimaginable absurdity to believe that all people and cultures are capable of not just surviving , but thriving in a modern, results based society like Europe, America or Asia.   I don’t believe that the people that control our countries are morons, so I must assume they have other motives for allowing unending mass black and brown immigration.  

    • KenelmDigby

      No, Bubo they ARE morons.
      It’s as simple as that.The trouble is that they *think* that they are intelligent.
      The very, very worst type of moron is the moron who is cock-sure and certain that he is ‘intelligent’ and others are not as ‘intelligent’ as he is.
       That little phrase really sums up the tragedy of the European political class.

      • The_Bobster

        No, they realize exactly what they’re doing and intend to “rub our noses in it”.

        They envision a bifurcated society with them on one side and dumb tan everymen slaving away for them on the other. 

      • Laura White

        It’s called Dunning Kruger syndrome. 

        Look it up. Afterwards a lot of things will make sense to you. 


        – Arturo  

  • curri

    Especially since self-defence against criminals is against the law there, it’s best to stay way from London:
    “Walking home from school, my two eldest sons, then aged four and five, were chomping their way through Rice Krispie cakes bought at a school sale, while I pushed their baby brother in a pram beside them. 
    Typically for 3.30pm in the part of North-West London where we live, the pavements were awash with children and pushchairs. This area, with its wide tree-lined avenues, smart family homes and good schools, is hugely popular with young families. 
    We were almost home when four-year-old Zach pleaded to be allowed to put the rest of his cake money towards his favourite Fireman Sam magazine.”

    “We’d just left our local newsagent’s, magazine firmly in my little son’s hand, when we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a 12-strong gang of hooded youths who were chasing a girl who looked no older than 14.”

    “One grabbed her and started battering her with an umbrella, but she managed to get away. Then the youths gave chase, throwing bottles and shouting obscenities. It looked as though they meant to kill her.  
    As members of a rival gang appeared from nowhere, bottles rained down all around us. When one ricocheted off the pram canopy — waking my one-year-old with a start — I froze. 
    A bottle skimmed Zach’s head, missing him by millimetres, glass smashing around his feet – later I found shards in his shoes
    As a journalist, I’d devoted years to infiltrating London’s violent teenage gangs, and filmed two TV documentaries on the subject. Slowly gaining their confidence, I got close to several of the hardest gang members, entering drug dealer-controlled ‘no-go’ zones where even the police wouldn’t venture.
    I’d wanted to understand what triggered their anti-social behaviour and to help them articulate their feelings without resorting to violence. But as a mother of three vulnerable children terrified by this pack of youths, my overwhelming instinct was to protect my offspring. 
    Grabbing my sons and frantically pushing the pram with one hand, I rushed to get them home as quickly as possible. Then to my horror, Zach broke free of my grip and blindly ran back into what was now a full-on turf war. ”

    “He’d dropped his magazine, which had been trampled underfoot, its pages scattered across the pavement. Oblivious to the mayhem, he attempted to gather it up as tears rolled down his cheeks. 
    Terrified for him, I pulled the pram and my five-year-old back towards where Zach now stood rooted to the spot as more gang members came tearing up a side street.
    I heard myself scream as a bottle skimmed Zach’s head, missing him by millimetres, glass smashing around his feet — later I found shards in his shoes. Then I did something I never thought I’d do: I ran, clutching my terrified children. In my panic, I lost control of the pram which swerved precariously and almost overturned twice. 

    Our cakes spilled out over the pavement. It was the wrong thing to do, of course. I’d drawn attention to my fleeing family, and a splinter group gave chase after us, calling out ‘get the whities’.  Seeing this terrifying drama unfold before them, passers-by and locals sped up steps, pounded on front doors or sought protection in porches.  

    We reached our home and I released my screaming baby from his pram, which I left abandoned with our bags outside, and practically threw my boys inside the front door, locking it behind us — my legs had turned to jelly and breathlessness and searing chest pain convinced me I was having a heart attack.”

    Read more: 

    • curri

      Libertarian Vox  Day comments on the above article: “Whether they like it or not, the white European people of the West are facing two ugly choices. Either start deportating the barbarians now or fight a brutal war later. Africans cannot be blamed for acting like Africans, Mexicans cannot be blamed for acting like Mexicans, and Arabs cannot be blamed for acting like Arabs. One simply shouldn’t be surprised when people who are not white Europeans do not act like white Europeans tamed by more than one thousand years of Western civilization. Why would they, and more importantly, why should they?For little more than the fear of being called racist and in a futile attempt assuage the guilt for past centuries of colonialism, the people of the West have permitted their countries to be invaded by barbarians. Instead of civilizing the immigrants, as it was foolishly imagined, the immigrants have increasingly barbarized the nations they have invaded en masse. This should not have been a surprise, as the attempts to civilize them in their native lands had failed for hundreds of years.The problem isn’t that Africans or Central Americans cannot ever be civilized or that there is a civilization gene, the problem is that like domesticating an animal species, civilizing an entire culture is a process that takes hundreds of years. Consider, for example, how long it took the barbarians of Britain and Germany to go from the naked pagan barbarism described by Julius Caesar to the heights of Christian civilization that produced Mozart and the chamber orchestras. The nations of the West doesn’t have that much time, especially when they can no longer serve as a strong and stable models, having invited the enervating peoples into their civilizations. Moreover, in addition to attempting to civilize the barbarians inside their borders rather than outside them, they are trying to do so without the benefit of Christianity, which historically played a powerful role in the civilization of the white European barbarians.”

      • bluffcreek1967


    • Laura White

      Lisa Brinkworth :  Amazing that this article you linked to (thanks for that) appears in today’s Daily Mail. Intrigued, I had to look more into this woman.

      Sure enough, one of her sons is named “Mallik”. 

      Sure enough, she is married to a diversity. 

      Our women have utterly and shamefully and completely capitulated. 

      I am very distressed. 

      – Arturo 

    • Well I guess this person was succesful in his/her quest to understand the gangs. Theyre savage pigs.

  • White Death

     Do any Africans go back to Africa voluntarily, or do they all have to be dragged home kicking and screaming?

  • shmo123

    What is happening to Britain is a tragedy. Those Labor politicians who opened the floodgates to unrestricted immigration should be tried for treason and shot. From what I understand, they purposely and deliberately allowed hundreds of thousands of third worlders into their country merely to rub the rights nose in “diversity”. I find it hard to believe that anyone would hate themselves or their country so much that they would allow such a thing to occur without considering the possible consequences and knowing full well what the reaction of the vast majority of their countrymen would be. The future results of such madness can only be disaster.

  • KenelmDigby

    If Diane Abbott’s Labour Party hadn’t been so keen on abolishing such meagre controls on immigration that existed and foisting an open borders, massive uncontrolled immigration regime upon Britain (google ‘Andrew Neather’ for full details), then perhaps Abbott’s black bretheren would be better placed in the jobs market.

  • better_times

    Before the minimum wage increases, blacks could succeed economically by pricing their labor cheaper than whites in order to enter the labor market. But a high minimum wage coupled with anti-discrimination legislation that made black workers “unfireable,” employers were no longer willing to take a chance.  If you can’t compete economically, you have to compete politically. Politics at its core is the threat of force or incarceration if payments are not made. When you get a large enough population that can’t compete economically, havoc ensues.

  • R P

    The title Young, Black and Unemployed: The Tragedy of the 44% is misleading.

    Suggestion: Young, Back and Unemployable: The Truth About the 44%

  • crazy_j

    This is why the black unemployment rate is so much higher:

    Long story short – Member of everybody’s favorite minority group steals $11,000 worth of cell phones from his employer, and is arrested trying to sell them at a bar on the other side of town.

    As with society in general, having an African in your business is just a noose to hang yourself with.

  • Laura White

    “Reality fugitives” 

    My term ! (I’m honored). 

    – Arturo 

  • 1gravity

    Ms. Abbott concludes, “Hardworking immigrant grandparents would not want special treatment for this generation: after all, they themselves did not have any. But they would expect this society to care, and be prepared to examine carefully what the underlying reasons might be. That generation of migrants were God-fearing monarchists. So they would expect fairness and justice. And as their grandchildren might put it: ‘No Justice, No Peace’.”

    Maintaining two contradictory positions within the same sentence or paragraph is an art form in which the racist left revels.  Here Ms. Abbott praises race neutral expectations in the same paragraph which she concludes by endorsing exactly the opposite.  Talking this way precludes meaningful conversation, which is the whole idea.