Government Shutdown Hits People of Color Hardest

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

On October 1, 2013, the United States federal government shutdown due to a measure to delay Obamacare, which was turned down by the senate. In the days following, this has not only negatively impacted our previously suffering economy but has also presented yet another setback for the unemployment rates for people of color.

With African Americans consistently averaging about twice the rate of unemployment as whites, the available jobs, if any, are likely to be in basic government services because of their firmer anti-discriminatory principles. Thus, when the government shut down, more than 800,000, of the two million people working for the government, were temporarily laid off. Furthermore, even though the remaining 1.2 million may have stayed working to maintain public safety, they are doing so without pay.

Although there have been several stories about the government shutdown covered by corporate news organizations such as CNN, the New York Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, these stories do not explore the idea that people of color are perhaps among those being hit the hardest. As if the staggering unemployment rate for people of color wasn’t enough, this government shutdown will add dramatically to their economic concerns and employment struggles.


Imara Jones, “Why Race Matters in the Government Shutdown,” Colorlines, October 1, 2013,

Student Researcher: Jenner Musser (College of Marin)

Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (College of Marin)