Is the Recession a Racial Equalizer?

November 18th, 2009, by

Job seekers at an employment fair in Southern Florida.
Job seekers at an employment fair in Southern Florida.

There have been Op-Eds in The New York Times saying that “blacks are the ones who are taking the brunt of the recession, with disproportionately high levels of foreclosures and unemployment.”

But a recent article in the paper asserts that the recession is helping bridge the racial divide in a suburb of Atlanta. The article quotes an African American woman, Keasha Taylor, who is seeking help at the Division of Family and Children Services:

“Right now, a lot of white people are in this situation,” Ms. Taylor said. “We’re already used to poverty; they’re really not.”

Does this shared economic suffering change any underlying racial dynamics?

If more whites are using social services, will people be forced to reconsider their stereotypes about who uses these services?

And what does this all mean once we pull out of this recession?

Please share your opinions and experiences and they may be included in an upcoming video blog.

  • Sean Crawford Sr

    I don’t think so. It seems to me like the people who work (no matter the race) to keep a business up & running are the ones that are losing the jobs. The CEO’s seem to be keeping theirs.

  • Mark

    I do not believe so, it is certianly less discriminating. However, as with all hard times the poor are effected more and that will include a disproportionate amount of black and brown brothers and sisters. It should also be noted that numerically speaking our white brothers and sisters are also affected greatly.

  • Robert McCoy

    I tend to agree with the late Kahlil Gibran: The difference between the richest man and the poorest is but a day of hunger and an hour of thirst.

  • Zina

    Upon quick assessment it appears the recession is blind and a great racial equalizer, to a number of things except to greed. ( Folk on Wall Street are celebrating main street in dire economic turmoil) Also, I believe there still exist the system of old money vs new money. In a recession old money may take a hit, however, it has commodities it could fall back on it survives. On the other hand new money in a recession is lucid, it lacks stability. In this case, I believe the recession is not blind to class. I would love to see the research. Who’s accessing social services and how often. The data may surprise us.

  • ReLyn

    I am from Canada and as much as Americans think they are being hit those here who had job with great benefits and no education are hit even harder. Over here the recession is effecting middle class households who worked to keep their heads above water from drowning. They have been downsized, using their children’s College Fund to pay their mortage and keep afloat. As Racist as Canada is and I said racist you never read wrong, the gouvernment has great programs for those who are making under $45,000 a year. I work with a Social Services Agency and a client here with no dependents gets 1000/month and if they enroll in classes or can provide us with actively seeking job card they get transportation and a clothing allowance 200 every other month. A mother here with 3 kids for example gets 583 a child and we pay rent directly to her landlord, 2 pairs of glasses for each child a year, dental coverage each child 1500/yr and anything else is covered by OHIP(health card). and that is not the kicker every 20th of the month she gets 400 per kid as a mother’s allowance. Truly the only ones suffering here are the lazy and the ones with mental illness and that is not due to lack of help. some just refuse it. and why is america saying they don’t have jobs when cigna just out sourced over here 500 ppl making 14.75 an hr. I am sure american people need that money. Their excuse was the service is better here and the workers are calmer and polite. BS They just did not want to pay americans more. well I could talk for days about this but I am sorry for yaking your ear off

  • Goodgiant

    Pursuant to being built on race any economic downturn, or upturn, will always revolve around race. The foregoing is inevitable because most resources are controlled by the dominant culture/race.

  • Shelly

    I would give some validity to the assessment considering whites’ easy entrance into the workforce, which translates to more of them being laid off as a result of the recession. Blacks have already been living with the plight. My guess is, the social services benefits may increase as a result. What struck me most about this is the cohesion formed amongst individuals realizing the need for each other as is the case whenever a crisis hits.

Last modified: April 26, 2011 at 11:17 am