By Pisacha Wichianchan
Whether you realize it or not, we are more than half way done with the spring semester at Cal. For the majority of us (specifically, three-fourths of the undergraduate population), we rejoice greatly because summer is near and it usually treats us well. Still, we may feel apprehensive about summer when we consider our prospects of getting that one internship or dealing with that bad-tempered landlord. While these worries are understandable, they are very minute compared to those of the graduating class. You see, unless the graduate goes directly to graduate school or has already landed a plum job, he or she is more than likely to be worried about paying after college.
There are several reasons behind this worry. Here’s a quick digression: college is expensive regardless of the cost differences across the states. An overwhelming majority of college students owes loans, with an average of about $26,600 per borrower. In California, the average student debt is lower but still pretty darn hefty—about $18,800 per borrower. In addition, a graduate must also find a way to pay for his or her living expenses, including necessities such as housing, food, and transportation, not to mention things that make life enjoyable such as entertainment or dining out with friends. It comes as no surprise that a graduate may stress over his or her financial situation despite a college degree.
However, you have more to worry about if you are a person of color. Most of us know that unemployment rate, just as any other problems associated with poverty, is more prevalent among people of color. While it is true that fewer minorities attain higher education, this factor alone cannot fully explain the problem. Even with the same level of education, minorities—precisely blacks—are more likely to be unemployed than their white counterparts. If that’s not enough to pinpoint racial discrimination in hiring, take a look at this study by the University of Chicago and this article in the New York Times. In short, individuals with African-American-sounding names have less chance on getting a job than individuals with white-sounding names despite having the same level of education and qualifications. Needless to say, this disturbing fact upsets me. Though I’m not African American, I wonder how my potential employers will view me on the sole basis of my name. On a less personal level, I wonder what does this finding say about America, a nation which prides herself so tremendously on diversity.
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