It’s no secret that trade policies in the United States have been captured by wealthy, corporate interests that prioritize growing their power and profits at the expense of working people. For generations, working people have seen their jobs, wages, and the promise of economic security disappear. While many workers across the country have experienced the devastating effects of failed U.S. trade policies, these policies have disproportionately harmed Black workers and communities who were already facing a labor market meant to exclude, exploit, and fail them. Ultimately, trade policies that harm marginalized communities are a liability for our economy as a whole.
New research from Howard University and Groundwork Collaborative delivers the data on what Black workers already know: the economic picture is worse for them by design. Black workers are losing jobs in industries exposed to trade shocks — think manufacturing jobs — and being crowded out of the next-highest-paying sectors, like jobs in the information sector, such as data processing.
These results are devastating in their own right, but coupled with a labor market that is designed to exclude, exploit, and fail marginalized communities, they paint an even more grim picture for the economic security of Black workers and communities. Chattel slavery served as a foundation for the U.S. economy, which built a labor market on the extraction and exploitation of enslaved Black labor, and still has profound ramifications today.
From designing a labor market to exclude Black workers — and in particular, Black women — from worker protections and livable wages, to occupational segregation, to intentional policy choices that have led to Black unemployment levels being double that of white workers, the U.S. has all but ensured that Black people and communities have few, if any, viable ways to survive in our current economic paradigm.
Read the full article about US trade policies and the exploitation of Black workers by Grace Western at Inequality.org.
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