154: Latino Immigrants and Jobs2 May, 2010
Here’s a sad hypothesis: U.S. employers like to hire Latinos (both legal and illegal) for low-wage jobs because most white consumers don’t object to seeing Latinos tending their yards, or doing their housecleaning, or putting a new roof on their house, or serving them hamburgers. Would these same white people be so complaisant if all these jobs were filled by African-Americans, or would many of them feel threatened?
The unemployment rate for black people is 16.5%, v. 8.8% for white people**. Not that African-Americans should be limited to low-wage work, but any job is better than none.
Last year I witnessed a confrontation between a black customer and a Latino employee at a fast food restaurant in Washington, D.C. The black man was agitated that the Latino had a job even though he didn’t have enough English to understand the black man’s order. We can all understand that.
** bls.gov: ‘civilian non-institutional population’, March 2010