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tv   William Julius Wilson on Race in America  CSPAN  September 4, 2017 5:42pm-6:49pm EDT

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speaking for you. eastern,hat 9:00 p.m., sixand winston -- corporations own much of the american news media. the digital revolution has transformed the economy. and daily newspapers no longer set our national agenda. instead, any of us find thatmation niches reinforce our opinions. it seems to have split us into two nations. >> watch today on c-span, in listen free on the c-span radio app. >> up next on c-span, author and harvard university sociologist, william julius wilson on the state of rate in america -- state of race in america.
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>> there's no way to introduce bill succinctly given his incredible accomplishments and undisputed status as one of the u.s. leadly public election rules. unfortunately, i dying breed. we can use more like bill. i will take you to the cloning machine as well. i will catch here from remarkable and lengthy biography that communication director wrote for me. it was hardly a brief. if i used all the info he provided me, i would be speaking longer than the minutes assigned to bill himself. i cut down considerably. bill has a 56-page cv. it's not packed with anything trivial. i'll come back to his scholarly contributions. let me start with his title from a few of his titles and honors. sociologist william julius
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wilson a university professor at harvard university. at the time of his appointment in 1995, national media covered his addition to harvard's dream team of african-american intellectuals including skip gates, a 2008 hello. i met bill when he was at the university of chicago in a major force there as he's been everywhere. i was slightly younger scholar and he was incredibly supportive as he is. he is a mentor of renown. he started his teaching and research career in 1965 at the university of massachusetts amherst shortly before completing his ph.d. in sociology graduate program at washington state university. which is a major program at that time. he's the recipient of 46 honorary degrees. past president
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the american sociological association, member of the national academy sciences, american academy of science, american philosophical society, institute of medicine national , academy of education, british academy and he's also the recipient of the national medal of science. highest scientific honor bestowed in the united states. who among us certainly i don't know anybody in this room, it if you have who among us has been named among "times" magazine most influential people in the united states other than bill who was in 1996. bill published three widely read and some controversial, but nevertheless seminal works of scholarships on different dimensions of race and class and the urban core. the declining significance of race, the truly disadvantaged and when work disappears.
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i would add even though it hasn't quite reached that pinnacle yet, more than just race. i would add to that list. that's his most recent one. bill and his work challenges liberal orthodoxy about causes of a permanent structural underclass in u.s. society as well as conservative views that attribute to state poverty on welfare or cultural deficiencies. he has helped shape academic discourse and public policy debate. one of the requirements of the prize. he's appeared frequently on television, testified before numerous congressional committees. etc. he's been advisors to mayors, to presidents and to lots of people in the political space. notably it is documented that wilson's book "truly disadvantaged influence of the philosophy in politics of the then chicago activist barack obama." clinton
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told "time magazine" -- bill clinton -- that wilson's makes made me see race and poverty in a different light. here's a fact that i at least hadn't known before. the truly disadvantaged inspired mump the writing that went into season two of the series, "the wire." his work was a major influence on j.d. vance in hillbilly elegy. his spread is beyond politics and academics. the truly disadvantaged, the inner city, underclass and public policy examine the flip side of rising black prosperity. inner city blacks with poor training and limited education rising unemployment and welfare enrollment and shrinking prospects for getting out of poverty. the book is awesome in its
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combination of a student writing and impact on policy. and it was largely written here. which makes me like it even more . one of the reasons i'm emphasizing it among his many books. i'll admit some of his other books are just as important. i still use all of them, but this one is especially dear to me. the truly advantaged remains very relevant today. as i think bill will probably agrees , regrettably so. in second edition of the book, published in 2012, he me meticulously elucidates and describes describes how the conditions are not qualitatively different 20 years later. his reflections on responses to the first edition of book yielded a new 60 page afterword. i was going to bring the book and show it to you, but it did -- it is the truly
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disadvantaged. that is a significant scholarly andribution and itself fellow --ication by a at rutgers. bill is a very senior scholar a nice way for saying he's over 80. he is still going strong and his contributions keep coming. in october 2016, harvard center for african-american and african-american research, received a $10 million grant from its name sake foundation. the research project that will fund is a longitudinal, ethnographic, and big data study of what he calls multidimensional inequality. people in the neighborhood
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subjected to many simultaneous racial and economic hardships. it will dig deep into the lives of poor residents, to better understand the interconnecting disadvantages that perpetuates poverty. the ultimate goal is to collect enough solid data to generate insights that will influence public policy. speaking to the harvard gazette in march 2016, wilson said here's my problem. how do i fight pessimism. i fight it all the time. i try to keep thinking eventually we'll come around to addressing our problems. so bill how is that pessimism going? it's been a tough day. we're about to find out. ladies and gentlemen our 2017 award winner, william julius wilson. [applause]
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prof. wilson: that was quite an introduction. you know, it's a real honor to return to the center and deliver this lecture. i'm especially pleased as sarah is in the audience. this is a frustrating period in our history. i thought that it would be good to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the issues regarding race in america that are very much on my mind. in november shortly before the
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presidential election, i received an e-mail from my harvard colleague, henry louis -- skip gates we call him. he was also a member of the center for advanced studies in behavorial sciences. he sent me an e-mail and he said that he had to do a coda to the hbo television series, "black ." he asked memlk if i was optimistic or pessimistic about the future of our people. he said that he actually heard a guy on anderson cnn news show say, this
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is the worst time in history of our people. gates added this is not true. but that he would love to get my thoughts about this. i said, that i completely agree. that it can't be true. anybody who says this is worst time in history of african-americans, does not have a sense of history. in general, nothing today compares with slavery or jim crow segregation. however, i also pointed out that it would be accurate to say that sense the death of martin luther king, jr., conditions for poor blacks have deteriorated while the conditions of better off blacks have indeed improved. this is most clearly seen in the growing income inequality in the black
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community. this is most clearly seen in the growing income inequality in the black community as reflected in the jeannie coefficient a major of income inequality that ranges from zero perfect equality to one maximum inequality. this figure discloses the increasing household income inequality across the american population
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as a whole. rising from a low of 0.39 in 1970 to 0.48 in 2013. follow the blue line. more interesting, however, is a high level of intragroup inequality among black households. see the green line. although the absolute level of black income is well below that of whites, blacks nonetheless display the most intragroup income inequality reaching a household gini index of 0.49 in 2013 followed by whites 0.47 and hispanics at 0.45. indeed, one of the most significant changes since dr. king's passing is a remarkable gain in income among affluent
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blacks. when adjusted for inflation for $2014. the percentage of black americans making at least $75,000 more than doubled from 1970 to 2015, to 2014 those making $100,000 or more to 13%.uadrupled white americans saw a less impressive increase from 11 to 26%. on the other hand, the percentage of black americans with incomes below $15,000 only declined by four percentage points to 22% between 1970 and 2014. research reveals that income inequality is related to income
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segregation. this next figure presents income data on segregation by race and -- race in metropolitan areas with populations of more than 500,000. the source for this figure is a 2014 study by the social i will just -- sociologist kendra bishop and sean -- published by the russell state foundation. this figure reveals income along blacks and hispanics families, what is noticeable is that income segregation has grown rapidly in
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the last decade and particularly among black and hispanic families. what is notable is that whereas black americans in 1970, that's a purple line there, it is purple right? i suffer from a little color blindness. whereas black americans in 1970, black families in 1970 recorded the least income segregation follow the purple line. they now register the highest income segregation. please note that we are talking here about residential segregation among black families of different income levels. not segregation between black and white families. and another way of talking about these trend lines is that they describe the extent to which the exposure of families to neighbors of the same race has changed over time. although income segregation among black families grew considerably in the 1970's and 1980's, it grew
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even more rapidly from 2000 to 2009 after slightly declining in the 1990's. and when considering a person's life trajectory or life chances the differences in the quality one's daily life between residing in a predominantly affluent neighborhood and poor black neighborhood are huge. it is important to note that today, poor black families have fewer middle class, fewer black middle class neighbors than they had in 1970. indeed, the rising income --regation ident oh segregation in the black community is driven both by the
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growth of affluent blacks and the deteriorating conditions of boor blacks which i will soon discussed. these data update the earlier arguments that are developed in my book, "the declining significance of race." it remind ed me of a recent book by the harvard critical scientists robert putnam entitled "our kids, american dream in crisis" published in 2015 by simon & schuster. according to putnam, although racial barriers remains powerful, they represent less burdensome impediments than they did in the 1950's. by contrast, class barriers in america today loom much larger than they did back then. this is reflected not only in growing income inequality among all racial and ethnic groups as you see here,
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but also increasing disparities in many other aspects of well being. eye cumulated wealth. wealth, class segregation across neighborhoods, quality primary education,ry enrollment in highing selective colleges and even life expectancy. so one of the major underlying , themes of declining significance of race, the changing relative significance of race and class on a black person's life trajectory has been extended to all u.s. racial and ethnic groups in putnam's book. i wish i could share these figures with donald trump. these figures on changes in the black
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class structure with donald trump who tends to talk about african-americans as if they are a monolithic disadvantaged group that made little progress. he was quoted as saying "black communities are in the worse shape ever." as if there is absolutely no good news to talk about in the black community. since i mentioned trump, i should say that racial tensions and the expression of racial antagonism seem to have increased after he decided to run for the presidency, which is probably one of the reasons why the guy on cnn proclaim that this is a worst time in the history of african americans. this spike in racial tensions should not come as a big surprise. we must understand
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racial antagonisms are products of situations, political situations, economic situations, social situations. average citizens do not fully understand the complex forces that have increased, for example, their economic woes. the declines in real family income, the rise and wage dispersion changes in the , global economy, industry relocation and so on. economic insecurities create conditions that are breeding grounds for racial and ethnic tensions. especially if exclusive populist messages exploit these fears. wheni was writing my book work disappears published in
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1996, right wing messages were more concerned with controlling blacks than immigrants. whereas , donald trump and his supporters highlighted the negative trait of immigrants and their threat to american society, i pointed out in my 1996 book that supporters of welfare reform on the political right, implicitly communicated the view that blacks were undeserving of special treatment from the government and that their high rates of welfare were due to personal shortcomings including a lack of work ethic. republicanservative use these contentious messages, contentious messages gaining
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in gaining control in 1994, so too did donald trump employee a similar set of messages applied mainly to immigrants in a successful residential campaign of 2016. but let me get back to what i was saying about the good news and the bad news in the black community. in order to keep things in proper perspective when talking about the relative gains of more privileged blacks, it is important not to overlook the continuing interracial disparities. for example, report from the center for economic and policy research reveals that before the great recession there was only a 1.4% difference in the
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unemployment gap between recent black and white college graduates, age 22 to 27. however, in 2013, shortly after the economic downturn, the gap had surged to a 7.5% difference. now, race is obviously a factor at play here because historically the periods during and immediately after downturns have adversely impacted blacks more than whites and the issues involving these comparisons are complex. aside from the role of racial discrimination, whites with the same amount of schooling as blacks usually attend better high schools and colleges, and,
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therefore, have an edge when employers rely on such criteria, especially during slack labor markets. that is, periods of higher unemployment. also researchers at the pew research center released data showing the median financial wealth of white households in 2013 exceeded that of black households by almost $131,000. so despite sharp increases in income inequality and income segregation among blacks, the interracial disparities among blacks and whites remain huge and should always be kept in mind when discussing and highlighting growing intraracial differences. that said, and i repeat, the conditions of poor blacks have
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degenerated overall since the death of martin luther king jr., while those of better-off blacks have improved, a blanket statement that things are worse now for blacks than ever before is totally unwarranted. but skip gates asked me -- also asked me if i am optimistic or pessimistic about the future of our people. so let me say that i am somewhat optimistic about the future of trained and educated blacks, and, margaret, very pessimistic about the future of poorly educated blacks. and before i elaborate on why i am pessimistic about the conditions of poor blacks, let me partly qualify my optimism about the
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future of trained and educated blacks. and in so doing, i want to talk very briefly about the importance and continued need for affirmative action programs. research suggests that the white backlash against racial entitlements such as affirmative action contributed to the government's retreat from antidiscrimination policies during the 1980's. and many of the gains that trained and educated blacks contained in the 1970's were erased during the years of the reagan administration. now, it should not be surprising that waning support for affirmative action programs would have an adverse effect on african-americans in particular. for example, a number of empirical studies have revealed significant differences in the family background and neighborhood environment of blacks and whites that are understated when standard measures of socioeconomic status
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are employed. take for example the question of family background. even when white parents and black parents report the same average income, white parents have substantially more assets than do black parents. and as i pointed out previously, whites with the same amount of schooling as blacks usually attend better high schools and colleges. furthermore, children's test scores are associated not only with the socioeconomic status of their parents, but they are also affected by the social and economic status of their grandparents. this means that it could take several generations before adjustments in socioeconomic inequality produced their full benefits. thus, if we were to rely solely on the standard criteria for college admission in highly
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selective colleges and universities, like sat scores, even many children from black middle-income families would be denied admission in favor of middle-income whites who are not weighed down by disadvantages that stem from racial restrictions and who tend to score higher on these conventional tests. for all these reasons, the success of younger educated blacks remains dependent on affirmative action programs whereby more excellent merit-based criteria of evaluation are used to gauge potential to succeed. now, implicit in this argument -- notice that i said flexible merit-based criteria of evaluation -- implicit in this argument is the view that the
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remedy does not have to consist of numerical guidelines and quotas. the remedy can be a different set of criteria, a different set of evaluation criteria, new, more flexible, yet merit-based criteria that are more accurate than the conventional tests, engaging the actual potential of black americans to succeed that capture such important attributes as perseverance, motivation, interpersonal skills, reliability and leadership qualities. so the policy implications are obvious. race-specific policies like affirmative action will be required for the foreseeable future to inshore the continued mobility of educated blacks. but affirmative action programs are
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not really designed to address the problems of the most disadvantaged and poorest people of color, including those who live in impoverished inner-city ghettos. because of time constraints, let me focus on just a few things that make me pessimistic about the future of poor blacks, beginning with their education in public schools. now research by the sociologist sean riordan and others reveals schools with high proportions of black students or hispanic students typically have to have high proportions of poor students. although this finding suggests a strong association between residential segregation and racial achievement gaps, the key to mention driving this association is a proportion of students' classmates who are
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poor. indeed, a school's poverty rate could be a proxy for general school quality. schools with high poverty rates may have fewer resources overall, and we definitely need more research to help explain the impact of concentrated poverty in urban public schools, and there are a number of factors to take into account. first of all, such schools may experience greater difficulty in attracting and retaining competent or skilled teachers. also the parents of students in the schools generally have fewer resources -- cultural capital and human capital -- that would be beneficial to their children's academic achievement. this means schools with a higher percentage of poor students to do have a higher percentage of low performing students, which may result in the school offering
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less advanced curricula. in other words, it may have an adverse impact on learning by altering instructional and social processes in the classroom. moreover, a recent study by one of my colleagues, and i am quoting from the study, shows that residing in a severely disadvantaged neighborhood, cumulatively impedes the development of furthermore, p or influence has to be considered. students residing in a severely disadvantaged neighborhood cumulatively impedes the verbal ability of young children, which impedes school performance. plus, students from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to see a strong association between schooling
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and post school employment, and finally, you know, we have to factor in other conditions that are not usually associated with school performance. but research suggests these factors are important. i have in mind, for example, the impact of lead contamination on poor children. who live in dilapidated buildings on school performance. the effect of home evictions on children's school performance. my harvard colleague matt desmond talks about. the impact of the psychological trauma of witnessing a killing in your neighborhood on school performance. and when you consider these combined factors, is very difficult to deny the proposition that residential segregation and school association contribute to the achievement gap. what is not clear, how they are interrelated and relative importance. since students tend to attend schools relatively close to home,
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residential segregation is a major factor shaping patterns of school segregation. but we should carefully distinguish between two types of segregation i have talked about. racial segregation and income segregation. those kinds of segregation in combination that are associated with poor performing schools. and this reminds me of the research of one of my former students at the university of southern california. the sociologist anne owens. in a 2016 sociological -- american sociological review article inequality in children's context income segregation of households with and without
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children, owens re-examines the longitudinal data here on income segregation and her results reveal that families with children had a much higher level of income segregation than childless couples. and she hypothesizes this is because families with children tend to seek out neighborhoods with the best schools. and i think this hypothesis really applies to higher income families within the black community as they try to escape neighborhoods with the poorest schools, neighborhoods in which poor blacks suffer the combination of income segregation and racial segregation. now, let me focus for a moment on such neighborhoods to provide
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additional information on why i am increasingly pessimistic about the future of poor blacks. many of you are probably familiar with the story of the great migration of african-americans to northern cities in the first half of the 20th century, which seemed to offer a brighter future away from the jim crow segregation itself. well, the great migration did improve the quality of life for many african-americans, as reflected in the growth of working and middle-class families, as well as the significant reduction of poverty overall. but the great migration ended in 1970. because industries in the central
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cities, the major factor attracting blacks from the south relocated to the suburbs and to overseas destinations. and poor black neighborhoods, particularly those in the northeast and midwest change from densely packed areas that had constantly seen the arrival of new migrants from the south to areas that gradually experienced depopulation. and this depopulation was caused by two developments that occurred simultaneously, the gradual migration of higher income blacks, a significant change i highlighted in my 1987 book "the
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truly disadvantaged" and the secession of black migration from the south, which meant the ranks of the higher income migrants were no longer being replenished with poor migrants flowing in. and i might add that these depopulated black neighborhoods stand in sharp contrast to the densely populated hispanic neighborhoods, which continue to experience in migration. and two of the marks or symbols of these depopulated areas are abandoned buildings and vacant lots, brilliantly depicted in david simon's hbo show "the wire," that margaret mentioned. by the way, when simon told me my book
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was an influence in writing season two, man, i was walking around campus with a swagger. prof. wilson: these depopulated areas also feature high rates of joblessness, and the increasing and prolonged joblessness, the diminishing poor families make it difficult to sustain adequate levels of neighborhood social organization. this results in what sociologists call a weak institutional resource base. you see, it's easier for parents to control the behavior of the children in their neighborhoods when a strong institutional resource base exists. that is when the links between community
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institutions such as churches, schools, political organizations, businesses, and civic clubs are strong or secure. the higher the density and stability of formal organizations, the less illicit activities such as drug trafficking, crime, prostitution, and the formation of gangs can take root in the neighborhood. the opposite is true in high jobless neighborhoods that feature low levels of social organization. parents in such neighborhoods have a much more difficult time controlling the behavior of their adolescents or preventing them from getting involved in activities detrimental to their prosocial development, activities that spill over into the classroom and affect academic achievement. now, i should also point out that some inner-city neighborhoods are
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ofroving, because gentrification. there seems to be an increasing desire for many couples, especially younger, childless couples, to live in the central city as opposed to the suburbs. long commutes to and from the suburbs are increasingly inconvenient, and many higher-paying and attractive jobs in creative industries and other growing sectors -- research, finance, and so on -- are available in a number of central cities such as boston, new york, san francisco, and seattle. however, the cost of housing and rentals are increasing sharply in many of these cities and couples who are seeking modest cost
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accommodations are ready to relocate to inner-city neighborhoods where redevelopment projects are underway. as these neighborhoods resourcestheir improve, including the creation of shopping centers and large grocery stores. moreover, as these neighborhoods become more desirable places to live, the cost of housing, taxes, and rental properties increase, which results in the displacement of many low income residents who can no longer afford to live there. indeed, such developments have fueled the growth of suburban poverty. as low income families -- entering suburbs i'm talking about -- low income families respond to the rising cost of living in the city by relocating to peripheral areas beyond the
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urban cores areas that have seen , rapid growth of concentrated poverty. yet while suburban poverty is increasing, three quarters, 74% of high poverty --ghborhoods in metro areas by high poverty, i mean neighborhoods with poverty rates of at least 40% -- 74% of high poverty neighborhoods are located in big cities. low income families who are able to remain in inner-city neighborhoods that are gentrifying -- sometimes through rent subsidies or tax abatements -- definitely benefit from the improvements, but given the present political climate, i have no reason to feel that -- i have no reason to feel hopeful that other inner-city
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neighborhoods, particularly those that continue to experience depopulation will improve in the future. thus to repeat. whereas the future of privileged , blacks, like the members of other privileged groups, look relatively good, the overall future of poor blacks looks very bleak indeed. and nowhere is this more apparent than when you examine the plight of low skilled black males. the disproportionate number of low skilled black males in this country is one of the legacies of historic segregation and discrimination. however, aside from the effects of current several nation -- current segregation discrimination, including those caused by
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employer bias, a number of economic forces have contributed to the incredibly high jobless rate of the low skill blackmails and correspondingly low incomes and these forces include changes in the relative demand for low skilled labor cost by the computer revolution, the globalization of economic activity the declining manufacturing sector and growth of the service industry with limited skills and education that are concentrated. given time constraints, i would like to focus on this last factor associated with low jobless rates, the gradual shift from manufacturing to service industries. and this shift -- this shift has created a new set of problems for low skilled black males because those industries requireed jobs that workers to serve and relate to
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consumers. and in the study we conducted in chicago in the early 1990's whose findings are still very relevant, many employers favored women and recent migrants of both genders who have come to populate the labor pool in the low-wage sector over black males for entry-level service jobs. employers felt that consumers perceived inner-city black males to be dangerous, threatening, in part because of their high incarceration rates. you see, in the past, african-american men simply had to demonstrate a strong back and muscles to be hired for physical labor at a factory, a construction site, or on an assembly line. they interacted with peers and foremen, not consumers. now they have to search for work in the service sector where employers
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are less likely to hire them, because they are seen as lacking these soft skills that the jobs require. you know, the tendency to maintain eye contact, the ability to carry on polite and friendly conversations with consumers, the inclination to smile and be responsive to consumer requests, however demanding or unreasonable they may seem. consequently, black male job seekers face rising rates of rejection and the prevalence of such attitudes combined with the physical and social aspects limit the access that for black men have two in formal job networks, the casual
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networks networks of people or acquaintances who can pass along information about employment prospects. and this is a notable problem for black males, especially considering that many low skilled employees first learn about their jobs through an acquaintance or were recommended by someone associated with the company. now research suggests that only , a small percentage of low skilled employees are hired through advertised job openings or cold calls. the importance of knowing someone who knows the boss is illustrated by this employer's comments about a young black male to one of our interviewers. this employer stated "all of a sudden, i take a look at a guy, and unless he has got an in, the reason i hired this black kid, is because my neighbor said,
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him for a few days. he is good. i said, you know what? i am going to take a chance. but it was a recommendation. but other than that, i've got a walk in, and who knows? i think the most part, a guy sees a black male and he's a bit hesitant." such attitudes are classic examples of statistical discrimination. i prefer statistical discrimination instead of racial discrimination because the black employers in our samples also express a reluctance to hire inner-city black males. basically, the employers, with both black and white make generalizations about inner-city black male workers and reach decisions without reviewing the qualifications of an individual applicant. manyhe net effect is that inner-city black male applicants
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are never given the opportunity to prove themselves. why is this such a problem for black males. simply because employers believe that women and recent immigrants of both genders are better suited than black males, especially those with prison records, for such jobs. these images have been partly created i cultural shifts and attitudes that reflect concerns about the high rates of violence in the ghettos. in the eyes of many americans, black males symbolize this violence. and cries for law and order that resulted in a dramatic increase in black male incarceration. the high incarceration rates of low malesblackmails -- black are very much directed to their
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high jobless rates. it is a vicious cycle. being without a job can encourage illegal moneymaking activities to make ends meet, which increases the and uponncarceration, release from incarceration, a prison record carries a stigma in the eyes of employers and decreases the probability that an ex-offender will be rehired, resulting in the greater likelihood of more intractable joblessness, and forced to return to the low-wage sector, inner-city black males have to compete, often unsuccessfully, with a growing number of female and immigrant workers, and if these men complain or otherwise manifest dissatisfaction, they are seen as even more unattractive to employers and therefore encounter even greater discrimination when they search for employment. and because of the feeling that many inner-city black males feel about their
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prospects reflect their plummeting position in a changing economy, it is important to link these attitudes with the opportunity structure that is the spectrum of life chances available to them in society at large. this brings me to the subject of black lives matter. the black lives matter movement has dramatically called attention to violent police encounters with blacks, especially young black males who, given their very circumstances, are more likely to have confrontations with the police. which reinforces the negative perceptions they have garnered. aided by smartphones and social media, americans have now become more aware of these which very likely
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have occurred at similar levels in previous decades, but were under the radar, so to speak. however, i think it would be good to expand the focus of the movement to include groups that are not usually referenced when we discuss black lives matter. and i'm referring to ordinary residents who are often innocent victims of criminal offenses in poor inner-city neighborhoods and have called for more police protection, not less. and to repeat, these people are usually not referenced when we talk about black lives matter. and in this connection, i recall a conversation i had several decades ago with a mother who resided in one of the poor inner-city neighborhoods on
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chicago's south side. a stray bullet from a gang fight had killed her son, who was not a gang member. and she sadly lamented that his death was not reported in any of the chicago newspapers, not on tv, not on radio, not in electronic media. and i distinctly remember her saying, no one cared, mr. wilson, that my son was killed. no one cared. and as i pointed out previously, when income segregation is coupled with racial segregation, low income blacks cluster in neighborhoods that feature disadvantages along several dimensions, including exposure to violent crime. take a look at this figure, which captures this graphically.
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in 1978, poor blacks aged 12 and over were only marginally more likely than affluent blacks to be violent crime victims. 45 45 and 38 per 1000 individuals respectively. however in 2008, poor blacks were far more likely to be violent crime victims about 75 per 1000 while affluent blacks were less likely to be victims of violent crime, about 23 per 1000. and violent crime can reach extraordinary levels in the poorest inner-city black neighborhoods. that is why david simon's "the wire" was such an important show, because he captured this violence. for example, in
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milwaukee, wisconsin, where 46% of african-americans live in high poverty neighborhoods, those with poverty rates of at least what he percent, blacks are nearly 20 times more likely to be shot than a white person and nine times more likely to be murdered. some people are reluctant to talk about the high murder rate in cities like milwaukee because, one, it might distract our attention from the vital discussions sessions about police violence around blacks and it can provide ammunition about criminal justice reform efforts. but the author of the book "ghetto side," published in 2014, asserts the relatively low priority placed on solving the high murder rate in poor
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inner-city neighborhoods as reflected in the woefully inadequate resources provided to homicide detectives struggling to solve killings in those areas , represents one of the great moral failings of our criminal justice system and our society. indeed, the thousands of poor, grieving african-american families whose loved ones have been killed tend to be disregarded or ignored even by the media. and although the nation's consciousness has been aroused by the repeated attacks of police brutality against blacks, the problems of public space violence seen in the extraordinary distress seen that many poor inner-city families experience befalling the killing of a family member or close relative also deserves our special attention. and the use of the phrase "the other side of black lives matter,"
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coined by my former student, of the university of california berkeley, could help and create such an awareness. "the other side of black lives matter." let me just end by saying closing remarks by saying that when i wrote "the bridge over the racial divide," which was published by the university of california press in 1990, i was hopeful we could create a climate in the united states that could lead to a constructive dialogue on how problems associated with the disappearance of work among certain segments of our population can be addressed, including problems that resolve
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neighborhood violence that traumatizes residents. despite the fact that such problems tend to be more severe in poor inner-city neighborhoods, i nonetheless felt they should be discussed not in isolation, but as part of a more general dialogue, which focuses on the concerns of ordinary americans, concerns that the poor working and middle classes of all groups share, including concerns about crime in their neighborhoods. declining real wages. job security and unemployment escalating medical and housing , costs, and the availability of childcare programs. and i also argued in my 1999 book that
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programs created in response to these concerns, despite being race neutral, would disproportionately benefit the inner-city jobless core, but also benefit remaining segments of the population including the white population. the framers of this message should be cognizant of the fact that these groups, although often seen as adversaries, are potential allies in a reform coalition because they suffer from a common problem -- economic distress caused by forces outside of their control. and this argument is as true today as it was when i wrote "the bridge over the racial divide"
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in 1999. and it is being repeated by some observers in the u.s. postelection analysis and debates, including those who maintain the democrats' emphasis on identity politics and attempt to mobilize people of color, women, immigrants, and lgbt community tended to ignore the problems of poor white americans. and one notable exception, they pointed out was bernie sanders, progressive, a unifying populist economic message, in the democratic primaries, a message that resonated with a significant segment of the white lower and working-class populations. however, sanders was not the democratic nominee and donald trump was able to capture notable support from these populations with a divisive, not
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unifying, populist message. so, i end this lecture by once again returning to some of the basic arguments represented in my 1999 book "the bridge over the racial divide." and i hope you don't mind if my closing comments sound more like those of a public intellectual than a scholar, but in the age of trump, these comments are even more relevant and important. because the problems of social inequality, the gap between the haveding have knots and are growing more severe, a vision that acknowledges racially distinct problems and the need for appropriate race specific remedies, but at the same time emphasizes the importance of multiracial solutions to shared problems is more important now than ever. a
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new democratic vision must reject the commonly held view that race is so divisive that whites, blacks, latinos, asians, and native americans cannot work together in a common cause. those articulating the new vision must realize that if a political message is tailored to a white audience, people of , just as whites draw back when a message is tailored to a racial minority. the challenge is to find issues and programs that concern the families of all racial and ethnic groups so they can honestly perceive each will -- perceive mutual interest and join in a multiracial coalition
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to move america forward. i cling to this vision. i cling to this vision in my efforts to overcome a feeling of deep pessimism for the plight of the inner-city poor. thank you for being so attentive. [applause] >> congress returns tomorrow the a busy month ahead with house working on a spending package containing eight of the remaining appropriation bills for the next fiscal year. also, the president's nearly $8
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billion aid request for the recovery after hurricane is expected wednesday. the senate is back working on a judicial nomination for the and workingcolumbia on defense programs and policy for the next year. watch the senate live on c-span two. c-span, where history unfolds daily. created as aan was public service by america's cable companies. it is brought to you today by your cable provider. >> former president obama spoke -- received the profile in courage award in may.


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