William Julius Wilson Case Study - Political Science Assignment Help
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Academy Of Politician Science
For the first time in the twentieth century, most adults in many inner-city ghetto neighborhoods are not working in a typical week. The disappearance of work has adversely affected not only individuals, families, and neighborhoods, but the social life of the city at large as well. Inner-city joblessness is a severe problem that is often overlooked or obscured when the focus is placed mainly on poverty and its consequences. Despite increases in the concentration of poverty since 1970, inner cities have always featured high levels of poverty, but the current levels of joblessness in some neighborhoods are unprecedented. The consequences of high neighborhood joblessness are more devastating than those of high neighborhood poverty. A neighborhood in which people are poor but employed is different from a neighborhood in which people are poor and jobless. Many of today's problems in the inner-city ghetto neighborhoods- crime, family dissolution, welfare, low levels of social organization, and so on- are fundamentally a consequence of the disappearance of work. The disappearance of work and the growth of related problems in the ghetto have aggravated an already tense racial situation in urban areas. Our nation's response to racial discord in the central city and to the growing racial divide between the city and the suburbs has been disappointing. In discussing these problems we have a tendency to engage in the kind of rhetoric that exacerbates, rather than alleviates, urban and metropolitan racial tensions. Ever since the 1992 Los Angeles riot, the media have focused heavily on the factors that divide rather than those that unite racial groups. Emphasis on racial division peaked in 1995 following the jury's verdict in the 0. J. Simpson murder trial. Before
WILLIAM JULIUS WILSON is Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and chairman of the Russell Sage Foundation. He has authored many books on urban social problems and policy including The Declining Significance of Race, The Truly Disadvantaged, and the just-published When Work Disappears (Alfred A. Knopf) from which the present article is adapted. the verdict was announced, opinion polls revealed that whites overwhelmingly thought Mr. Simpson was guilty, while a substantial majority of blacks felt he was innocent. The media clips showing public reaction to the verdict dramatized the racial division-blacks appeared elated and jubilant; whites appeared stunned, angry, and somber. Blacks believed that 0. J. Simpson had been framed b\ a
racist police conspiracy; whites were convinced that he was guilty of the murder of two people and was being allowed to walk free. The racial divide, as depicted
in the media, seemed as wide as ever. The implications of these developments for the future of race relations and for programs perceived to benefit blacks remain to be seen. As one observer, on the eve of the Simpson verdict, put it: "When 0. J. gets off, the whites will riot the way we whites do: leave the cities, go to Idaho or Oregon or Arizona, vote for Gingrich . .. and punish the blacks by closing the day-care programs and cutting off their Medicaid."1 The extent of the racial divisions in this country should not be minimized. The different reactions to the Simpson trial and the verdict reflect in part the fundamentally dissimilar racial experiences of blacks and whites in America- the former burdened by racial injustice, the latter largely free of the effects of bigotry and hatred. Nonetheless, the emphasis on racial differences has obscured the fact that African-Americans, whites, and other ethnic groups share many common concerns, are beset by many common problems, and have many common values, aspirations, and hopes.
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