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In these Tough Economic Times, Is a Black Man with a Job an Anomaly?

“Tee, I’m an anomaly.” This is what an ex-boyfriend said to me. I looked at my (now former) paramour with raised eyebrows and head cocked to the side, kind of like Chi Chi (my dog) does when he doesn’t understand what I am saying. How can a man with 5 babies (none from me, thank God) and 3 baby mamas call himself an anomaly? He is more like the stereotypical black male, if you ask me. Maybe he doesn’t know what an anomaly is, I thought. But he knew the definition… he knew all too well to what he was proclaiming. “I’m an anomaly because I am a black man with a job.”

The economy is having a significant impact on many of us in ways we have never before experienced. More and more, I find myself going without some of life’s little luxuries, and some major necessities, too. A few of my friends have confided in me their economic woes due to the economy; that is, my friends who are not too prideful to admit they are struggling a little. Trust me; there is no need to be ashamed around me… I’m going through the same struggles they are. Don’t let this blog, my new gig at OnPoint! with Cynthia and my BMW fool you… times are hard!

No longer do I pop a fresh bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon every other night like I used to. Eating out on a daily basis has now turned into a weekly or bi-weekly event, usually on paydays or when I get a treat from a suitor. And on occasion, I have even passed the collection plate to my neighbor without putting an envelope in. (He knows my heart!) So like I said, times are hard.

I woke up this morning and rolled over to kiss Nino Brown ‘good morning’. (It’s mighty funny how I stiffed the Lord but Nino Brown still gets the royal treatment). Instead of a kiss of good news, Nino greeted me with a text alert from the New York Times. The headline read: Job Losses Show Wider Racial Gap in New York. I said to myself, this isn’t just in New York; this is everywhere. The New York Times article said while unemployment rose at a steady rate for white New Yorkers, the unemployment rate for blacks in the city was four times higher. That is tremendous. I imagine this statistic is representative of any US city with a large African American population.

I then came across a few more articles that discussed how the economic downturn is disproportionately impacting black men. The Center for American Progress (CAP) recently held a panel on Black Men and the Recession. During the panel discussion, Stephanie Jones, the executive director of the National Urban League stated the unemployment rate for black men is 11.4%, compared to 5.5% for white men. Wow, that’s double! In a summary of the panel discussion, the CAP quoted published data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that indicates black men over 19 are twice as likely to be unemployed as white men of the same age. Again, amazing. If unemployment is running amuck among black men, imagine how black children and black families must be struggling… just like me and probably many of you too.

As I read various articles about the gross unemployment disparities, the conversation I outlined above came back to my memory… even though it has been months since I kicked that fool to the curb. But it made me wonder the impact the economy is having on marriages, unwed families and the dating world. "I’m an anomaly because I am a black man with a job." Arrogant fool. Or was he?

Maybe Mr. Anomaly was just a man who recognized his unique selling point in this troubled time and utilizing it for his personal benefit. So I ask you, is a black man with a job such a rarity that it makes him a valuable commodity? A commodity that should be shared by multiple women, taking turns having him as their bed partner? Is this like renting a designer handbag until you can afford one of your own? If the man has a job and pays the bills, are women more likely to turn their heads on his absent days and nights? Clearly, I don’t have the answer to these questions. But it is something to think about.

With the recession in full swing, and it doesn’t seem to be on the upswing, can we expect crime to increase? Can we expect identity theft to increase? Can we expect churches to collect a little less tithes on Sundays? And can we expect black men with a job to commit moral contempt against women simply because they can?

As for Mr. Anomaly, admittedly, my finances are tighter since he is no longer in my life (and SC Student Loan Corporation ending my deferment status didn't help much either!) I mean, I could count on the brotha to hold things together when they got a little tough. But, since he’s been gone, I’ve slept soundly and peacefully every single night. My life is coming together in a way I couldn’t imagine when I was distracted by him and the drama that came along with him. So, I traded a little financial assistance and an illusion of love for peace of mind and real self-satisfaction. Getting rid of Mr. Anomaly proved to be my greatest strategic move yet… dumping penny stock and funding an investment that will is guaranteed to pay off one-hundredfold: Teowonna. The real anomaly. (Even if only in my mind!) Edit

4 comments

When boys are playing a game and one of them breaks a rule, that is usually the end of that game as everyone quits. I think black men (as one myself) are quitting the "job" game.

Rules such as company loyalty, decent pay, and career advancement opportunity among others are often broken by employers. As a result, some brothers are focusing on self-employment, and others business ownership. And yet others are finding joy and security through their sugar mommas. :)) Delete Reply

Mark, you made excellent points! Especially about the playing the game. Never thought about that. Great insight from a man's point of view. But are men so offended by the breaking of the rules that you don't work at all while you build your self-employment? Delete Reply

I thought this blog was very interesting and thought provoking. I think the state of our economy has produced one more thing that gives the black male an opportunity to have the upper hand if he is not a victim. Based on the definition of the word anomaly and the facts “Damn, it appears to be true”. There are more women than men, women are more desperate to “just have a man” verses “having a good man”, therefore, if he can pay, give you a little affection he can do “whatever he like”. You know, I had a very intense conversation with Ms. Tee, in reference to “Where are the real men and is it the woman’s fault the way they act? We debated this issue, and the debate continues….however, based on the life stories that have been shared I am incline to take a slightly different view. (I am not sold yet Tee!) If you could see me now you would see me shaking my head in disbelief!!! I am having one of those Florida Evans moments (Damn, Damn, Damn). How, did we allow this crap to happen? I resolve to the fact that people only do to you want you allow and if women (as powerful, educated and wise as we are) would take a stand and say no more than the man would be forced to change their tune. Because, the bottom line ladies it is a known fact that we have what men want. (Get your minds out of the gutter) but that too!!! LOL Delete Reply

RENT-A-HUSBAND
This is not a suggestion, but the name of a business. I cannot remember where I saw the ad, but the name was such an “attention-getter,” I never forgot it. The business is a “handy-man” service. They do household repairs, lawn-work, plumbing, basic car repairs, etc. This business is made up of guys who did not roll over and let life beat them up. They re-invented themselves. They saw a society of women raising babies without a good man, and women, because of circumstances beyond their control, or of their own choosing, becoming the head of a household. No matter how many times these women say, “I don’t need a man” you know they are lying. We need good men and will always need good men.

Women are not the only one that need good men. Children need good men too. I guess there should be a business called, “RENT-A-FATHER.” It is a known fact that male predators target households where there is no positive male role model present. Some of them pretend it’s the mother they want, but that’s a part of their scheme to get at the kids. It is also a known fact that sorry mothers are guilty of giving or selling their children to male predators for their own personal gains. Fathers, I know times are tight, but please check on your kids at least once a week. If you are not on good terms with the mother then mail your child a greeting card, a personal letter, or a CARE-package. Keep the lines of communication open. It makes a difference.

Good men, you are needed. If the economy is throwing you lemons, then make lemonade. Think! Re-invent yourself! Look at what assets you have, don’t have, need, and re-group! Entertainers re-invent themselves all the time. If they don’t they won’t be entertainers for very long. Many retired people and some laid-off workers do it too. They’ll take whatever skills they have, make a few adjustments, or additions and move on to better things.

In today’s economy, we all have to list our priorities, and cut some things out of our budget that we enjoyed at one time in order to take care of our necessities. If we let materials things dictate our lives in the past, then that is where we start with our future cut backs. It will hurt for a little while, but we’ll get over it, and later realize that those material things weren’t as important as we thought. Some of us have lost ourselves in material things and what we call the “good-life.” The economy and the good Master are bringing us back to reality. I believe our path in life has already been planned for us. The sooner we stand on our own two feet, make the necessary adjustments in our lives, and accept our responsibilities, the sooner our “out-look” on life will change, and we will begin to prosper.

Have A Good Day,
Happy Dee Delete Reply

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