(Norton Press, 2009)
According to William Julius Wilson, author of More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City (in stores March 2009), “the disproportionate number of low-skilled black males in this country is one of the legacies of historical segregation and discrimination”. This statement cuts cleanly the notion that class-ism is the new racism. Racism’s shockwaves have not yet subsided. The book’s title alludes to the notion that race for race’s sake is not the virus plaguing America: it is “structural forces” (that is, individual decisions and “the machinery” (law, policy, and institutional practices).
In this book, Wilson essentially alludes that when the fight for integration took precedence over the fight to end impoverished conditions, neighborhoods (and people) suffered dramatically. They still do.
Class-ism is not the new Racism. It has lingered with us since Jim Crow and was, perhaps, the heavyiest load of old guard racism. In More than Just Race, Wilson quotes the late black economist Dr. Vivian Henderson as saying thirty years ago that “racism put blacks in their place, but changes in the modern economy make the place in which they find themselves more and more precarious”.
After the election of Obama, news sources nationwide asked, “It racism over? Is this the earmark we’ve all been looking for?” Wilson responds with this book. Race alone is no longer the issue that divides us. It is no longer nearly that simple.