The Cooling Of America: Right On Toward a New Black Pluralism

So tranquil, so quiescent seems Black America in the Nixon Era that a presidential partisan could well argue that "benign neglect" has worked. The ghettos have, by and large, endured quiet summers. The rhetoric of black militants seems to have cooled. In a variety of ways, in increasing numbers, blacks are cracking the system —slowly, no doubt, but making it nevertheless.

It is difficult for traditional civil rights liberals to admit that the Administration's policy—or non-policy—toward black Americans possesses any saving virtues at all. Yet the Nixon stance by its very neglect, its lowering of expectations, may have contributed to forcing the...

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