America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible by Stephan Thernstrom

By Stephan Thernstrom

In a booklet destined to develop into a vintage, Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom current vital new information regarding the optimistic adjustments which have been completed and the measurable development within the lives of the vast majority of African-Americans. aiding their conclusions with statistics on schooling, profits, and housing, they argue that the conception of great racial divisions during this state is superseded -- and hazardous.

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We have neglected other dimensions of race and race relations not because we think them unimportant but because we know too little about them to feel that we have something significant to add. For example, it would undoubtedly be illuminating to trace the changing role of African Americans in American popular culture over the span of years considered here, from the days when two white radio performers played Amos and Andy, stereotypical black characters, to the era of Oprah, Michael Jackson, and Magic Johnson.

If so, does the drive for integration remain important? 21 “There is very little difference between black Americans and white Americans when you go to the bottom of it. 22 Black and white, much more equal, but still separate. It wasn’t the vision we once had. “We cannot walk alone,” Dr. King said in his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. The destiny of whites and blacks is inextricably entwined. But how to walk together? That question has lost none of its urgency in the fifty years since Gunnar Myrdal wrote An American Dilemma.

I remember passing Woodbridge, Virginia,” he went on, “and not finding even a gas station bathroom that we were allowed to use. ”1 In 1962—not so long ago—no bathroom that a man, serving his country and about to leave for Vietnam, could use. Filling stations that sold black customers gas would not let them use the restroom. A minor indignity? No. And only one of many that southern blacks faced every day less than four decades ago. That world is gone—gone and often seemingly forgotten. Scholars casually refer to the “new slavery” in describing the condition of black America today.

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