Some folks are going to get fighting mad at me for writing this, but for far too long now we in the black community have blamed the dysfunctional and criminal behavior of our youth on “a lack of jobs.” Supposedly, if someone would just give them a job they would not be out in the streets raising holy hell. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but that’s total bullshit.
Know this: Any young person that wants a job — even those with felonies — can get a job. Period. I know, I work with young people all the time and I’m plugged into the agencies that know how to help, so I’m not guessing … and I’m serving it up to you straight — no chaser.
Now it may not be the job the young person wants but did anyone you know ever start off their working career with the job they wanted — their dream job? Of course not, they worked their way up. Only people like Donald Trump start off life on top.
But the fact is, you can’t sleep in till noon in your mamma’s basement (or on your girlfriend’s couch) roll over and scratch your ass, get up and splash some water on your face, and then open the front door to see if someone left a job for you on your doorstep. Finding none, you slam the door and then do what you really wanted to do all along: Sit your sorry ass down and start playing the latest violent video game.
Yeah, I know, I’m being brutal, but here’s why: I know of multiple programs — even one that will pay students ten dollars an hour to attend GED classes — that are actively seeking warm bodies. And these programs lead to jobs with real careers attached to them — jobs where a person can earn $75,000 after the apprenticeship is completed. But you first have to pass a drug test and some of these clowns won’t stop smoking weed for the month it takes to get the THC out of their system. Even when you tell them that after they get the job they can go back to smoking.
Here’s the real deal: Everyone with any kind of education and drive already has a job, and most educated young folks want to do something on a computer. So there’s a critical shortage of applicants for programs that teach people how to work with their hands. You name a skilled trade and I can almost guarantee you that I know someone in that trade that has gone on to open their own small business and are living very well.
I know all too well what the problem is, but what I don’t know is the solution. And I really, really wish I knew the answer. How do we get Ray-Ray up off the couch, or stop him from slinging drugs, riding around all night strapped, and eventually killing someone, or being killed?
While I don’t know the answer, I do know that it’s not because our young men can’t get a job. That’s a total bullshit copout and as long as we keep perpetuating that myth the longer it will take for us to come up with a real solution.
From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.