Black Professionals in Racialized and Community-Oriented Occupations: The Role of Equal Opportunity Protections and Affirmative Action in Maintaining the Status Quo
- Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 4, Number 2, Winter 2011
- pp. 285-301
- Additional Information
This study explores the reasons for and ways in which the high proportion of African American college graduates in racialized and/or social service occupations account for part of the income disparity between blacks and whites. In particular, I assert that the disproportion of African Americans in public service and/or racialized jobs—those directed at or whose services are disproportionately used by blacks—yields considerable pay penalties that would not exist if black graduates were more diversified in their choice of occupations. I then explore the ways in which the equal opportunity protections and affirmative action policies thought to have been particularly important for middle-class mobility were, in fact, relatively ineffective for and often inapplicable to this portion of the black population. As a result, mainstream occupations and business ventures may appear riskier than their racialized or social service counterparts, thereby decreasing their appeal and the proportion of black college graduates interested in them.