Tonight I watched a really interesting programme on BBC3 called “Free Speech”, a debate show, a younger more urban Question time of sorts. Perhaps the most prevalent issue discussed was that of the high number of young black men unemployed, 56%, compared to 21% of their white counterparts. A lot of people on the show did blame it on race; and i refuse to accept that. The UK is, I, would argue one of the most successfully diverse countries in the world. Where as in america we see great polarisation; either a white area or black with minimal integration, the same cannot be said for the UK. But, crucially what i would consider at the heart of this issue is income. A large proportion of young black men are 2nd or even 3rd generation immigrants. Immigrants who lived in England when racism was widespread and there was open prejudice and slim chances of prosperity.
What is the relation? Well vitally due to this background black people are more likely to come from a lower income family and live in a lower income area. And as statistics show there is a correlation between lower income areas and qualifications and therefore people in these areas are at risk of higher unemployability. It may seem like a race issue on the face of it, but in my opinion due to the difficult financial position of many black families, as a result of their instability within the country in the 50 years, they are forced to live in lower income areas, where the education suffers as a result. It may seem a racial issue as their are a higher proportion of black people living in these areas, for reasons already discussed, but fundamentally it is financial. The programme didn’t seem to adopt my view, but interestingly they didn’t include where these 56% were living and more importantly how many of their white counterparts FROM THE SAME AREA were also employed. This may just be my desire to live in a non prejudicial, equal society, taking over my reason but in my opinion to blame this issue solely on race would overlook the root cause of unemployment, not just within the black community, but across the country; money, or maybe more precisely the lack of it.