In the second installment of “Life Cycles of Inequity: A Series on Black Men,” Colorlines explores the inequities that have helped create dramatic unemployment numbers among young black men. Through an investigative articlevideo feature, and photo essay, the series looks at the impact that inequity in employment has had on black men and black families overall.

“Black and white men who enter the workforce without college degrees face strikingly different realities–and that disparity has long term consequences that not only shape the lives of black men but help fuel the ongoing rise in poverty among black families,” said Kai Wright, series editor and Colorlines Editor-at-Large.

Nearly a fifth of high school graduates aged 17 to 20 today are neither employed nor in further schooling. When sorted by gender, the rate climbs higher still; the non-college educated workforce is deeply gendered, and the jobs available to men are the most vulnerable to recessions. Wright’s investigation follows Dorian Moody, a 21-year-old New Jersey native whose own job search reveals the disparities that shape the labor market, locking black men out of the higher wage, skilled jobs that can make the difference between poverty and middle class for people without college degrees. Research shows that the earnings of Dorian and his peers are likely to be depressed throughout their careers, intensifying the poverty that is rapidly growing among black families.

The Colorlines series also includes two multimedia pieces:

  • Video feature on young black men in Philadelphia trying to start their professional lives. Produced by filmmaker Andre Robert Lee.
  • Photo essay documenting the efforts of young black men in Newark who are training for the kinds of high wage, skilled labor jobs of which they’re often boxed out. Produced by Colorlines News Editor Aura Bogado.

“We are proud of the work of Colorlines. The Life Cycles of Inequity series, like all of the work we engage in at Race Forward, highlights significant structural factors that contribute to inequity,” said Rinku Sen, Executive Director of Race Forward.

“Life Cycles of Inequity” challenges conventional wisdom which holds that black men have held themselves back, pointing to research that shows white men with similar backgrounds are employed at far higher rates, making far higher wages. Inequities in the labor force stretch back generations, and the consequences of this inequity are likely to stretch forward generations as well.

An online discussion about the inequity in unemployment and its impact on black men and families will be held on Twitter Monday, June 30, at 1:30pmET. Community members will share their personal stories and solutions–both personal and systemic–with Colorlines’ 58,600 followers, led by Colorlines (@colorlines), using hashtag #livesofblackmen.

“Life Cycles of Inequity: A Series on Black Men” is a monthly series that explores how injustice shapes the lives of black men, from birth to death, using short films, investigative journalism, and infographics to illustrate the issues. The first installment of “Life Cycles of Inequity: A Series on Black Men” looked at implicit bias in education. For interviews or more information, please

Colorlines is a daily news site where race matters, featuring award-winning investigative reporting and news analysis. Colorlines is published by Race Forward, a national organization that advances racial justice through research, media and practice.

CONTACT: Rebekah, 646-490-2772




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Prince Malachi is the founder of The Oracle Network and the Streetwear brand Y.A.H. Apparel

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