America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible
Simon and Schuster, 1999 - 704 pages
The "American Dilemma, " Gunnar Myrdal called the problem of race in his classic 1944 book. More than half a century later, race remains the issue that dwarfs all others - the problem that doesn't get solved and won't go away. But in the decades since Myrdal wrote, much has changed, say the authors of America in Black and White. Progress - too little acknowledged - has been heartening. Pessimists talk of the "permanence of racism, " and say that things are as bad as ever. In fact, the authors show, the status of blacks has been transformed in recent decades, and there is no going back. Problems remain, of course. But they will not be solved by traditional civil rights strategies, the authors argue. Affirmative action programs, for instance, do nothing to help the black underclass. Racial preferences cannot rescue the high school dropout who is too unskilled for the modern world of work. Racial progress ultimately depends on our common understanding that we are one nation, indivisible - that we sink or swim together, that black poverty impoverishes us all, and that black alienation eats at the nation's soul.