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The Future of Black Politics
Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 6:00 PM (EST)
Cambridge, United States
Harvard Book Store and Boston Review welcome professors MICHAEL DAWSON and WILLIAM JULIUS WILSON for a discussion on The Future of Black Politics, the subject of Boston Review's current issue.
Michael Dawson's most recent book is Not in Our Lifetimes: The Future of Black Politics. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, polls revealed that only 20 percent of African Americans believed that racial equality for blacks would be achieved in their lifetime. But following the election of Barack Obama, that number leaped to more than half. Did that dramatic shift in opinion really reflect a change in the vitality of black politics—and hope for improvement in the lives of African Americans? Or was it a onetime surge brought on by the euphoria of an extraordinary election? Dawson shows definitively that it is the latter: for all the talk about a new post-racial America, the fundamental realities of American racism—and the problems facing black political movements—have not changed. He lays out a nuanced analysis of the persistence of racial inequality and structural disadvantages, and the ways that whites and blacks continue to see the same problems—the disastrous response to Katrina being a prime example—through completely different, race-inflected lenses. Polemical but clear-eyed, passionate but pragmatic, Not in Our Lifetimes will force us to rethink our easy assumptions about racial progress—and begin the hard work of creating real, lasting change.
With More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City, William Julius Wilson explains a groundbreaking new framework for understanding racial inequality, challenging both conservative and liberal dogma. In this timely and provocative contribution to the American discourse on race, William Julius Wilson applies an exciting new analytic framework to three politically fraught social problems: the persistence of the inner-city ghetto, the plight of low-skilled black males, and the fragmentation of the African American family. Though the discussion of racial inequality is typically ideologically polarized. Wilson dares to consider both institutional and cultural factors as causes of the persistence of racial inequality. He reaches the controversial conclusion that while structural and cultural forces are inextricably linked, public policy can only change the racial status quo by reforming the institutions that reinforce it.
tickets are also available at Harvard Book Store and over the phone at 617-661-1515