Underestimated, Undervalued and Marginalized

When I read this story (Lawn-Care Entrepreneur Faces A Changing Racial Landscape) and saw that Paula Zahn picked it up on her show last night I almost lost my mind.

Floyd, 38, a black landscape company owner claims that he can’t find quality black people to work for him.  Here is part of the transcript:

(on camera): When you first started — when Floyd first started in the late ’80s, you had a lot of blacks who worked for your company, right?

FLOYD: Yes, sir.

LOTHIAN: And you no longer have a lot of blacks working for your company. What happened? FLOYD: I — I just think it just became a — a lack of discipline.

LOTHIAN: They weren’t as dedicated?

FLOYD: No, they weren’t as dedicated.

LOTHIAN (voice-over): Sharp criticism of the very people he had hoped would be the backbone of his company.

FLOYD: But if my team is not cooperating with me, if my team calls in, if my team has continuous excuses or reasons why they can’t come to work, no project will get done.

LOTHIAN: That’s why you are replacing …

FLOYD: Yes. Yes.

LOTHIAN: So this black business owner doesn’t have a single black worker on any of his projects.

FLOYD: Sometimes, hey, I do get lonely. I mean, I don’t speak Spanish.

LOTHIAN: When blacks faded off the payroll, they were replaced by Latinos. He said they are a dependable labor pool. About 40 immigrants from El Salvador now work for him during peak summer months.

FLOYD: They buy into the American dream and they just really come for a genuine purpose.

LOTHIAN: To work?

FLOYD: Yeah, to work. If one person won’t show up and another person will, eventually you’re going to select that person.

So Floyd, a black man himself,  has decided that since the black people thathe has hired in the past had performancee issues, that all black people are not good workers.  He has culturally conditioned to believed to underestimate, undervalue and marginalize his own people.  He himself is a black man; does he think there are no other black people in the whole world who works hard besides himself?  His comments and perceptions

I am a black man and everyone black person that I know is hard working: my grandfather, my father, my college classmates and my co-workers who I currently work with.  So what in the hell is he talking about?  His comments he suggest that lazy and not being dedicated is mutually exclusive to black people.

But here is what the Paul Zahn Show failed to say.  This brother is only paying a little bit above the minimum wage and did not offer health insurance.  Blue collar jobs always have high turn-over rates because if something else comes along that offers better pay and benefits, they quit.  Living in the Washington, D.C. area is expensive.  If you have a family and expenses, you can’t live off of 11.00 an hour in this area.  So of course you hire undocumented workers who you can exploit and pay cheap wages, and have a profitable business, because these people are desperate to make money and don’t have a choice but to be exploited.  They are backed in a corner!!!  American black white and yellow, deserve livable wages and health benefits for their families.  So don’t blame your losses on black folk, because historically our ancestors worker hard for this country and were not payed what they were worth!!!!!  Floyd needs to get a clue and break the cycle of racist cultural conditioning.


9 Responses

  1. I just don’t buy your arguments. No, $11 an hour may not be enough to sustain a household by itself. But how much can a business owner afford to pay entry-level labor? Besides, these landscape companies are looking for young people to train and grow with the company. As they advance, their salary will too. You just don’t get a job right out of high school with no experience making $100,000 a year.

    As far as the immigration issue is concerned, most landscape business owners bring in the seasonal immigrant labor into the country through the H-2B program. These are not “undocumented workers” as you say. They are documented, pay taxes, and when the season is over, go back to their native country. The law requires them to be paid a fair and equitable wage, so they are far from being exploited.

  2. This is my point: for this black man to sit on a national cable network and sterotype a whole group of people based on the few black people how employed is self hating and it is the result of cultural conditoning

  3. ” He has culturally conditioned to believed to underestimate, undervalue and marginalize his own people. He himself is a black man; does he think there are no other black people in the whole world who works hard besides himself?”

    mark bey: Yo Native I agree with your sentiments more so because this brotha is not savvy enough to find other avenues to air his complaints.

    I aint trying to be a buthead Native but by far the absolute worse service I have gotten when frequenting business is by black people to be honest it isnt even any comparing in the disrespectful service from black and everyone else. Some of the things I see on the part of black folks (in terms of the quality of the service they give thier customers) is absolutely disgusting. Some of it downright rude.

    Anyway I think this is part of the behavior the gentlemen was talking about, however my main problem with his comments is the platform he announced this on we need to stop airing our laundry in front of these folks who are trying to clown us.

    Lastly I think this guys comments are just another sign of the lack of intellectual maturity of us a people. Instead saying things like this in a constructive manner some of us run to white folks and say these things which should never happen.

  4. Also Native you are right about a living wage and insurance but the absense of those things is no excuse to treat people (customers) rudely.

  5. Native..I have to go with Markbey, and with all due respect, I have to disagree to a point. I remember reading the related article in the Washington Post a few months back, and I have to give the brother credit. He has done very well for himself. Maybe Mr. Lloyd is not trying to be vengeful here, but maybe telling us as a people to get on the ball, or we won’t have anything.

    As Mark mentioned, I have also gotten terrible service from blacks. Yes, from most groups, but mainly blacks. Don’t get me wrong..I don’t think this is a matter of Mr. Floyd purposely rejecting black workers for the sake that they are black, but he is merely hiring Latinos with a stronger work ethic. I’m sure if a group of black workers would show up and do what’s required, day in, day out, Mr. Floyd would hire and keep them.

    While our ancestors had a very strong work ethic, it just seems today many of our people, and not all, just don’t have the discipline to carry out what needs to be done when it comes to hard work anymore. I have to ask myself what is the problem?

    I have an uncle who lives in the Raleigh-Durham area, where there is a very large concentration of latinos. He has a large yard, but since he is getting up in age, it’s just too much sometimes for him to keep up by himself. At one point, he only dealt strictly with black landscaping companies, but in time, the workers did not show up for days, let alone call, did a half-a** job and complained. He then reluctantly hired some latinos, and not only did they show up early, but also got the job done in almost half the time.

    I honestly feel if we don’t wake up, we will be cutting THEIR (latinos) yards someday, and I’ll be damned if that happens.

    With respect,


  6. ” I honestly feel if we don’t wake up, we will be cutting THEIR (latinos) yards someday, and I’ll be damned if that happens.”

    mark bey: This is true latinos already own a larger percent of black americans, also thier are people who when they read this post they will say it is the affects of slavery and racial oppression. My question is this if we are going thruough the same mess 70 years from now, what will be our excuse. You have too many prominent black people excusesing retarted and backwards behavior.

  7. We all know the legal ways for guest workers to come to our country to work, but let;s face it, there are many people here illegally. This is no secret and corprate America has used it to their advantage at the expensive of the American people reagardless of color

  8. Hey guys:

    I understand Floyd’s frustration, but he has not hired every black person, he based his assumptions on the black people he did hire. That’s the only point I am trying to make.

  9. Being a Black business owner myself, I think Black folks tend to hold us to a higher standard while at the same time expecting more from us than they would ever ask of any other business. You know the drill, “Yo my brother, I’m tryin to patronize black business so why don’t you give me the hook-up”. But I would be a fool to stereotype every customer and potential customer because of the knuckleheads. Just like anyone who stereotypes Black businesses in general based on their own limited experiences with a few bad business owners or undersupervised employees..

    If that particular brother found out that he could get Latinos to work better for the compensation that he was willing to pay, then more power to him. He made a business decision. I hope it works out for him. It doesn’t say anything about any Blak people other than the specific individuals he decided to replace. It doesn’t really say anything about them except that they decided to seek employment elsewhere. It’s a non-story, until Paula
    Zahn or some other media outlet decides to take yet another opportunity to engage in the age old sport of Black man bashing. Seems to be a rather popular sport around here too.

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