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The bridge over the racial divide : rising inequality and coalition politics /
William Julius Wilson.
Berkeley, CA : University of California Press ; New York : Russell Sage Foundation, c1999.
x, 163 p.
0520222261 (alk. paper)
More Details
Berkeley, CA : University of California Press ; New York : Russell Sage Foundation, c1999.
0520222261 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, USA, 2000 : Nominated
Flap Copy
"In recent years, growing income inequality and economic stress have made it easier to exploit divisions in American society. But those divisions only end up undermining the political effectiveness of ordinary citizens. In this important book, William Julius Wilson shrewdly argues for organizing a grass-roots multiracial coalition around policies that would make the economy work for ordinary Americans. The rest is up to us."--Senator Paul Wellstone "For two decades, William Julius Wilson has exemplified a combination of academic creativity, personal integrity, and public commitment that is embarrassingly rare among scholars. His long line of crucially important scholarship now culminates inThe Bridge over the Racial Divide."--Jennifer Hochschild, author ofFacing Up to the American Dream William Julius Wilson is practical, provocative and optimistic. In his much needed book, he offers concrete steps towards solving the crippling problem of race and inequality in America that too many others dismiss as intractable.--Marion Wright Edelman, President, The Children's Defense Fund This book is a superb contribution to the national debate about equality, class, race, and politics. Defying easy categories, as he always does, William Julius Wilson manages to square the circle by blending a strategy of racial uplift with one of practical and believable politics.--Robert Kuttner, coeditor,The American Prospect Combining the detachment of a great scholar with the passion of a deeply concerned citizen, William Julius Wilson calls for a new multiracial coalition of all those who have been losing ground in America. This is an important and timely book.--Robert B. Reich, University Professor and Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy, Brandeis University Through several seminal works, William Julius Wilson boldly redefined the discourse of race in American society. By unveiling the inextricable interplay between ethnicity and class, Wilson established a paradigm for the study of racial relations at the end of the century as original as that of W. E. B. Du Bois at the beginning. InThe Bridge over the Racial Divide, Wilson once again confirms his status as an original thinker, articulating the necessity of a multiracial coalition politics for a twenty-first century America riven by social inequality and racial discrimination. A must read for all of us who care about justice and democracy in a multicultural America.--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-05-01:
Wilson argues that overcoming obstacles to creating and maintaining multiracial coalitions and other political combinations will require a thorough understanding of the social, economic, and political reasons that cause these divides to occur. These conditions have given rise to conservative political messages against people of color and other underrepresented groups in the U S. Wilson uses empirical evidence to bolster his concerns. In light of this evidence Wilson also presents ideas on how people can rise above this problem. He further argues that, while African Americans can legitimately look at what has yet to be accomplished, they would benefit from creating coalitions with other like-minded nonminority peoples. Wilson proposes that groups such as the Industrial Areas Foundations can aid in coalition building across racial and ethnic lines. This volume provides one side of the issue. Books by Manning Marable and Derrick Bell present yet another side. Useful for upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. P. Barton-Kriese; Indiana University East
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, November 1999
Choice, May 2000
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This text focuses on the rising inequality in American society and the need for a progressive, multiracial political coalition to combat it. It examines how a broad-based political constituency can be created, sustained and energized.
Long Description
In a work that will significantly influence the political discussion with respect to race and class politics, one of the country's most influential sociologists focuses on the rising inequality in American society and the need for a progressive, multiracial political coalition to combat it. The culmination of decades of distinguished scholarship,The Bridge over the Racial Dividebrilliantly demonstrates how political power is disproportionately concentrated among the most advantaged segments of society and how the monetary, trade, and tax policies of recent years have deepened this power imbalance. Developing his earlier views on race in contemporary society, William Julius Wilson gives a simple, straightforward, and crucially important diagnosis of the problem of rising social inequality in the United States and details a set of recommendations for dealing with it. Wilson argues that as long as middle- and working-class groups are fragmented along racial lines, they will fail to see how their combined efforts could change the political imbalance and thus promote policies that reflect their interests. He shows how a vision of American society that highlights racial differences rather than commonalities makes it difficult for Americans to see the need and appreciate the potential for mutual political support across racial lines. Multiracial political cooperation could be enhanced if we can persuade groups to focus more on the interests they hold in common, including overcoming stagnating and declining real incomes that relate to changes in the global economy, Wilson argues. He advocates a cross-race, class-based alliance of working-and middle-class Americans to pursue policies that will deal with the eroding strength of the nation's equalizing institutions, including public education, unions, and political structures that promote the interests of ordinary families. He also advocates a reconstructed "affirmative opportunity" program that benefits African Americans without antagonizing whites. Using theoretical arguments and case studies, Wilson examines how a broad-based political constituency can be created, sustained, and energized. Bold, provocative, and thoughtful,The Bridge over the Racial Divideis an essential resource in considering some of the most pressing issues facing the American public today. This book is a copublication with the Russell Sage Foundation.
Publisher Fact Sheet
A bold statement on the problem of race in America by a leading public intellectual.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
Racial Antagonisms and the Expanding Ranks of the Have-Notsp. 11
Global Economic Changes and the Limits of the Race Relations Visionp. 45
Building a Foundation for Multiracial Cooperationp. 67
From "Racial Preference" to Affirmative Opportunityp. 95
Bridging the Racial Divide and Coalition Politicsp. 117
Notesp. 129
Bibliographyp. 145
Indexp. 157
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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