Talk:William Julius Wilson

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  • A black, middle-class kid, even though his parents may be middle income - maybe they're first-generation middle class - has also been affected by race issues.
  • A lot of people are going to call me naive.
  • A lot of people feel that because of racism, it is unrealistic to get groups of different racial backgrounds to work together iri an effective coalition. I argue that it depends on leadership.
  • Affirmative action has to be combined with a broader program of social reform that would emphasize social rights: the right to employment, the right to education, the right to good health.
  • And you can't capture the importance of the environment unless you recognize the interaction between social conditions and cultural conditions.
  • But the person who scored well on an SAT will not necessarily be the best doctor or the best lawyer or the best businessman. These tests do not measure character, leadership, creativity, perseverance.
  • But this is quite different from Sweden, where the female-headed family rate is about equal to that of the United States, but poverty is not associated with family structure because Sweden you have a stronger family supports.
  • But until we come up with certain guarantees - for example, guaranteed jobs where mothers move off welfare - I support welfare very strongly.
  • Class-based affirmative action is good in its own right, but it is not a substitute for race-based affirmative action.
  • Crime, family dissolution, welfare, and low levels of social organization are fundamentally a consequence of the disappearance of work.
  • During the Great Depression, African Americans were faced with problems that were not unlike those experienced by the most disadvantaged groups in society.
  • Good research clearly indicates that Americans would support affirmative action programs that capture the idea of equal opportunity.
  • I am not an Ivory Tower intellectual.
  • I maintain that the period during the first half of the 1990s, the period in which rising inequality reached its peak, was a period in which we came very, very close to a demagogic immobilization of racism in this society.
  • I strongly believe in fighting inequality.
  • I think that social tensions have lessened because of the strong economy, and now is a time where people are concerned about promoting equality, racial equality, economic equality, now is the time for them to build in this shift in the public's mood.
  • If a multiracial citizen's coalition were in place, it would have the muscle to pressure national public officials to consider seriously the interests of ordinary citizens when such issues are debated.
  • If we could create the conditions that make racism difficult, or discourage it, then there would be less stress and less need for affirmative action programs. One of those conditions would be an economic policy that would create tight labor markets over long periods of time.
  • If you're talking about the narrow issue of public assistance, I would like to see us move to a more healthy system.
  • In the first half of the 1990s, there was an effort to severely divide racial and ethnic groups.
  • In the long term, we're going to have to have programs to ensure that our kids are ready to enter the private labor market.
  • Many of the government's actions aggravate rather than alleviate the stresses on ordinary families.
  • Neighborhoods in which people are poor and working are entirely different from neighborhoods in which people are poor and jobless. Jobless neighborhoods are troubled neighborhood.
  • No other major Western democracy has such a weak family support program.
  • One of the reasons I came to Harvard, after being in Chicago for so many years, is the critical mass of public intellectuals at Harvard.
  • Our study clearly shows that employers would rather not hire a lot of workers from the inner city. They feel people from the inner city are not job-ready, that the kids have been poorly educated, that they can't read, they can't write, they can't speak.
  • Over the years, black leaders have been slow to recognize the need for a very, very progressive agenda.
  • People talk about how busing exacerbated race relations without addressing the problems of black education.
  • Single-parent families, family break-ups in the black community are problematic because of the impact on children, and that's the main thing. Single-parent families, female-headed families are overwhelmingly impoverished families.
  • So I see my research focusing on international problems of social and racial equality. And I think it will help inform a lot of the positions I take regarding domestic strategy issues.
  • So there's an interaction there between social, structural and cultural. And if you want to fully capture the environment, you have to show how these things interact.
  • So, children growing up in these poor, female-headed families are at a disadvantage, and there's research that shows that poor, female-headed families are much more likely to have kids who don't reach the level of achievement in terms of social outcome that we associate with children in married couple families.
  • That's why I support affirmative action that's based on both class and race.
  • The basic difference between the period after 1973 and the previous period is that the nation's equalizing institutions - unions, public education, the welfare state broadly defined - were much weaker in the present period.
  • The basic thesis of The Bridge Over the Racial Divide is that there is a growing inequality in American society, and ordinary families are, in effect, getting the short end of it.
  • The black kids are more likely to live in segregated neighborhoods. They're influenced by styles and habits and patterns of behavior that have racial restrictions that are also not conducive to learning.
  • The problems we see today are going to be a hell of a lot worse in 10 years if we're not willing to face up to them.
  • The reason that the large proportion of female-headed families in the black community is a problem is not because they're headed by women, but because these families are overwhelmingly impoverished families.
  • The worst thing we could do is impose time limits and then expect people to sink or swim once they move off welfare.
  • There are few highly qualified teachers right now, and these teachers tend to be disproportionately concentrated in higher-income neighborhoods.
  • There are some of the problems there that America sees associated with the lack of economic inclusion - family breakdown, gang behavior, and racial tensions. I get the sense that in Europe they are much more concerned about these issues than in the United States.
  • There is some evidence that some New Deal programs in some of the states discriminated against blacks. But I have been sort of - I've been impressed overall with the relatively fair treatment that blacks received during the New Deal.
  • There were some black nationalists who argued that blacks should not be fighting in a white man's war, that Hitler didn't do anything to blacks, so why should blacks be involved in this war? But that was a minority view among a small group of black nationalists.
  • To say that integration caused the current problems of the black community ignores a whole host of other factors, including the willingness of America to tolerate schools that cripple kids.
  • We shouldn't rely solely on standardized tests because they don't really capture true potential.
  • Well, when there is this rising inequality, when there is this expanding gap between the haves and the have-nots, it creates an atmosphere that's not conducive to congenial inter-group relations.
  • What I did, you see, in The Truly Disadvantaged, as well as in When Work Disappears, I tried to demonstrate the importance of the environment in black life chances.
  • What Moynihan talked about back then is, I think is true today, and that is joblessness creates problem streams in the family. It leads to family break-ups resulting in an increasing number of families going on welfare.
  • When work disappears, that is when a growing number of adults are not working, it has an effect not only on individual life, but on family life and neighborhood life as well.
  • Whites, blacks, Asians, Native Americans, and Latinos need to begin thinking less about their differences and more about the things they have in common - their aspirations, problems, and hopes - so that they see the need and the potential of mutual cooperation across racial lines.
  • Yes, there has been a really steady increase in income inequality since the early 1970s.
  • You give me a set of conditions and I can produce racism in any society. You give me a different set of conditions and I can reduce racism. You give me a situation where there are a sufficient number of social resources so people don't have to compete for those resources, and I will show you a society where racism is held in check.