African American millennials in the workplace

According to recent national studies, African American millennials in the workplace are more inclined to use the free agent option to advance their career. They feel as if they will have more freedom with an unrestricted path to their career aspirations opposed to a hierarchy. In the past, many African Americans were encouraged to stay loyal in their workplace for their lifetime, yet now the mental toughness of millennials have encouraged them to move forward.

It seemed that in previous years, many individuals built their careers by climbing to the corporate level. Their willingness to go all the way to the top and be able to retire let them feel as if they could say “I survived” as their ability and hard work made it as if it was a testament to how race has changed. However, the times are changing as “Free Agentology” is a new and upcoming way to work. This new system is the act of packaging and marketing a set of skills to an employer who is willing to pay above market value in order to gain a competitive edge to the extent that a contract binds the relationship together. This means, African American millennials do not see themselves as employees, rather they are skilled agents who get more power by obtaining twice the skill, instead of staying twice as long. “For African American millennials, the range of career/workplace options is augmented by the Talent Wars, the lack of strong Employee Engagement programs, bias built into the organizational culture, globalization, micro-aggressive scrutiny and leadership gaps the prevent advancement.” This is a very interesting new opinion about the workplace and sets new standards to every working individual in America.


Healthcare and Hospital Segregation

When studying segregation, most people study separate hotels, restaurants, and other various miscellaneous places. However, most people do think of segregated healthcare. I think that is because healthcare is supposed to be the symbol of helping people no matter who they are or where they have come from; the only priority is to make sure they are healthy. During the 20th century, healthcare was extremely segregated. In the South, it was not uncommon to have separate hospitals for blacks and whites with the whites-only hospitals having better resources and facilities. If the hospital admitted both races, they often placed black patients in basements or attics. In 1959, Dr. Paul Cornley conducted a survey on hospital segregation. He found that, “83 percent of Northern hospitals were integrated in terms of patient admissions, but only 6 percent of Southern hospitals were. Of the other 94 percent of facilities in the South, 33 percent admitted no African-Americans, 50 percent admitted them to segregated wards.” Also, blood transfusion donors and receivers had to be the same race, no matter the clinical blood type match. There was segregation at birth too, with black and white infants not being cared for in the same nursey.

It was not only patients that were segregated too, many physicians were segregated as well. In Dr. Cornley’s study,” Only 10 percent of Northern hospitals accepted African-American interns or residents; only 20 percent had them on staff. Only 6 percent of Southern hospitals accepted them as interns or residents, and only 25 percent granted them staff privileges.” As a result of segregation, hundreds and possibly thousands of people died due to segregated hospitals denying them care. Although there has been vast improvements to racial equality in the medical world, there is still much more work to be done. For example, in 2012, of the 688,468 active physicians, only 4% were black. Clearly there needs to be more work done in order to bring equality to arguably the most important profession in the world.


Why African-American Soldiers Saw World War II as a Two-Front Battle

Most, if not all people, remember World War II as the defeat of the Adolf Hitler regime and the prevention of possible German world domination. The death of 6 million Jews and approximately 15-20 million people who were imprisoned and slaughtered by the Nazis. However, for African Americans during the 1940’s, they were fighting more than just one war. While selflessly sacrificing their lives for the United States, the government and citizens supported white supremacy and segregation. While people were celebrating the victory over the Germans, they forgot that the military was segregated, the Red Cross segregated blood donors, and black soldiers came to housing and job denial.

While segregation was still being enforced in the United States, the following quote was written in the SS, the primary Nazi newspaper, “In the freest country in the world, where even the president rages against racial discrimination, no citizen of dark color is permitted to travel next to a white person, even if the white is employed as a sewer digger and the Negro is a world boxing champion or otherwise a national hero…[this] example shows us all how we have to solve the problem of traveling foreign Jews.”

As one can see, it was clear that although the United States was fighting for freedom of the Jews and other prisoners, they themselves were not enforcing freedom in their own country. The same can be said for the United States currently. Throughout the world, the United States is seen as the international enforcer of democracy and freedom. However, events like the Charlottesville in August 2017, show that things have not changed as much as we think they have. We have clearly not learned from the past, therefore, we are condemned to repeat it.

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The Racial Mountain is still relevant today

In writer and journalist Morgan Jerkins’ article, “Why do you say you’re black?”,  Jerkins writes about her response to an older man who asked her why she calls herself black and not human. The man’s comment arose from his biases and conceptions about black people.  His racist beliefs about black people did not correspond with the accomplished, intelligent woman before him. How can he claim that race is not important when Jerkins’ race and beliefs are the first things that come up in the conversation? This reminded me of Langston Hughes’, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain.” Jerkins and Hughes both explain why it is pertinent that black folks identify as black writers, artists, etc.

What came to mind when I read this Jerkins’ article was that white people have the privilege to be able to ignore race as much as they want. They are able to ignore race because they benefit from their whiteness at the expense of non-white people. They are not stopped by the police for no reason at all. Police stops will likely not have fatal results. They are not denied housing because of their race. The list of subtle and overt instances of racism that they do not have to experience goes on. In this way, they are able to disregard their own privilege as well as people of color’s lack of privilege.

Jerkins says how she used to think her race was unimportant. After the news story of Trayvon Martin, Jerkins could no longer ignore her black identity. She eloquently recounts her prior feelings about her identity by saying, “I used to believe that being both black and a woman could be extracted from my humanity like teeth weaseled from the gums”. Her metaphor describes how blackness is integral to her identity. Her blackness is something to be proud of. She learned of the necessity of acknowledging and owning her identity to battle against Hughes’ concept of the racial mountain. By owning her identity, Jerkins overturns racist stereotypes.

Having more black artists provides varying representations of black people, and empowers future black artists, intellectuals, leaders, etc.  Then the black identity can be considered a source of strength and power.


Boston.Racism. Image. Reality

Here’s some recent context for Katie’s blog post.

Boston. Racism. Image. Reality

To our readers:

​The Spotlight Team began this project ​on race ​with deep humility. ​Taking on​ ​this topic ​has to be one of the most challenging – and controversial – assignments in journalism. ​Especially in Boston.

​Here you will find ​our ​full seven-part series, in which we tried to answer a question so critical to the city’s identity and future: Does Boston still deserve its reputation as a place unwelcoming to blacks? If so, why – and how c​an the situation be improved?

Here’s some historical context on desegregation and busing in Boston.