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Unemployment,

pay,

& race

a discussion of Heather Boushey's piece that occurred on the lbo-talk mailing list

 

 

click here for Boushey's response

 

Date: Sat, 08 Aug 1998 18:55:47 -0700
From: "Gar W. Lipow" <lipowg@sprintmail.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: lbo-talk@lists.panix.com
Subject: Re: Black unemployment in July 21 Left Business Observer
Sender: owner-lbo-talk@lists.panix.com
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Reply-To: lbo-talk@lists.panix.com

Just wanted to comment on one point in your article on unemployment
and how unemployment lowers wages. You made the point that while
*White* unemployment lowers wages,  unemployment among the non skin
privileged does not affect white wages in an area.

Well facts are facts, and if it is true I will have to live it -- but
you have just removed an argument I have found very powerful in
combatting racism -- the ability to argue to white workers that racism
lowers their own standard of living.  Let me ask: are you absolutely
sure of this? Is it possible that non-skin privileged unemployment
does lower wages for everybody -- just not as much as white
unemployment?  I would swear that in the fifties someone did a study
showing that wages drop the higher the level of racism in an area --
which should correlate pretty well with unemployment among racial
minorities.

I have stopped saying it for the moment; if an argument is wrong
better not to use it.  Lies and errors always come back to bite you
sooner or later.  And there is always moral outrage at injustice which
I have found is also a powerful argument with most people  -- contrary
to the cynical attitude o