Re-Examining America's Underclass

In a new book, William Wilson spurns "race-specific policies"

Since the mid-1960s, the U.S. has enacted the most sweeping civil rights laws in its history, fought a costly war on poverty and aggressively pursued affirmative action to increase opportunities for blacks. Millions of them, as a result, have escaped the ghetto to join the mainstream middle class. But to the consternation of scholars, officials and blacks themselves, a seemingly ineradicable black underclass has multiplied in inner-city neighborhoods plagued by a self-perpetuating pathology of joblessness, welfare dependency, crime and teenage illegitimacy.

Now a distinguished black sociologist has produced a provocative analysis of the black underclass and a radical proposal for easing...

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