From the Associated Press:
by BOB SALSBERG and ANGELIKI KASTANIS, March 31st 2018
Architect Jonathan Garland poses for a photo on the construction site of a building he helped design in the Mattapan neighborhood of Boston…
BOSTON (AP) — Jonathan Garland’s fascination with architecture started early: He spent much of his childhood designing Lego houses and gazing at Boston buildings on rides with his father away from their largely minority neighborhood.
But when Garland looked around at his architectural college, he didn’t see many who looked like him — there were few black faces in classroom seats, and fewer teaching skills or giving lectures.
“If you do something simple like Google ‘architects’ and you go to the images tab, you’re primarily going to see white males,” said Garland, 35, who’s worked at Boston and New York architectural firms. “That’s the image, that’s the brand, that’s the look of an architect.”
And that’s not uncommon in other lucrative fields, 50 years after the Rev. Martin Luther King — a leader in the fight for equal-employment opportunities — was assassinated.
Is architecture now a lucrative field? I mean, it’s definitely one of the most lucrative fields for octogenarians, but doesn’t it take more decades to start making serious money in architecture than just about any other field other than professional tontine competitor?
Also, you usually have to live in an expensive city, plus your education inculcates expensive tastes. Tom Wolfe gibed:
Every young architect’s apartment, and every architect’s student’s room was that [International Style glass box] and that shrine. And in that shrine was always the same icon. I can still see it. The living room would be a mean little space on the backside of walkup tenement. The couch would be a mattress on top of a flush door supported by bricks and covered with a piece of monk’s cloth. There would be more monk’s cloth used as curtains and on the floor would be a sisal rug that left corduroy ribs on the bottoms of your feet in the morning. The place would be lit by clamp-on heat lamps with half-globe aluminum reflectors and ordinary bulbs replacing the heat bulbs. At one end of the rug, there it would be . . . the Barcelona chair. Mies had designed it for his German Pavilion at the Barcelona Exposition of 1929. The Platonic idea of chair it was, pure Worker Housing leather and stainless steel, the most perfect piece of furniture design in the twentieth century. The Barcelona chair commanded the staggering price of $550, however, and that was wholesale. When you saw that holy object on the sisal rug, you knew that you were in a household where a fledgling architect and his young wife had sacrificed everything to bring the symbol of the godly mission into their home. Five hundred and fifty dollars! She had even given up the diaper service and was doing the diapers by hand. It got to the point where, if I saw a Barcelona chair, no matter where, I immediately — in the classic stimulus-response bond — smelled diapers gone high.
Architecture is a great career for talented people with trust funds and the genes for outliving their rivals. But is it really an ideal career to encourage blacks qua blacks to take up? Yet, I constantly see suggestions that the architecture profession isn’t doing enough to lure gifted blacks into a life of tasteful poverty.
An Associated Press analysis of government data has found that black workers are chronically underrepresented compared with whites in high-salary jobs in technology, business, life sciences, and architecture and engineering, among other areas. …
In Boston — a hub for technology and innovation, and home to prestigious universities — white workers outnumber black ones by about 27-to-1 in computer- and mathematics-related professions, compared with the overall ratio of 9.5-to-1 for workers in the city. Overall, Boston’s ratio of white-to-black workers is wider than that of the nation in six of the top 10 high-income fields. …
He said “structural discrimination” is the overarching cause of disproportionate race representation in high-paying fields. …
Okay, that’s boring. Here’s something a little more interesting:
… In Atlanta, King’s hometown, the proportional representation of black-to-white workers is close to even in many fields. Many reasons are cited. Atlanta has historically black colleges and universities such as King’s alma mater, Morehouse; the first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, pressed for policies helping black professionals after his 1973 election; and events like the 1996 Olympics opened doors for entrepreneurs of all races.
Atlanta is an exception.
It’s almost as if there isn’t a large enough supply of smart black people to meet the tremendous demand all across the country from a huge number of industries that want more black talent. Yet smart black people themselves are choosing to concentrate in the Atlanta area where they can be near their own kind.