Saturday, September 02, 2006

Permanently Unemployable

There's an article on the absurdity of zero tolerance in this week's New York that made me want to write about how hiring practices in this country are absolutely nuts.

This is something that I have first hand knowledge of via my son. Nearly every employer in America -- including the fast food chains and discount stores -- now does background checks before hiring. That means if you have been convicted or imprisoned even for misdemeanors you will not be hired. Since the war on drugs has meant the conviction and imprisonment of millions of (mostly black) young men who otherwise are decent people, those young men are unhire-able.

Its really quite ridiculous -- we're creating a permanent class of unemployable young men -- and what do you think they are going to do when they get desperate enough?

Instead of giving these guys a chance, employing them, showing them another way of life, we are relegating them to a life of crime, violence, imprisonment, permanent poverty and often early death. Its totally ridiculous, yet so typical of how authoritarian conservatism has distorted our values. This lack of forgiveness and incredible shortsightedness is so typical of conservatives and its killing our country.


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