William Julius Wilson‘s 1978 book “The Declining Significance of Race” argued that economic class had gradually become more important than race in determining the life trajectory of African Americans.
During his recent tenure as the Kluge Chair in American Law and Governance, Wilson re-examined the arguments put forth in his book, to see if they apply to the situation today. Wilson asserted that the points he raised in 1978 now seem to apply to all groups; that income inequality has increased across racial and ethnic populations, and that class has become a very significant factor in determining life chances.
Wilson’s research also examined the vulnerability of working class communities to changes in the American economy, income segregation among African Americans, and what he terms a “weak institutional resource base” in low-income neighborhoods.
Wilson discussed his research with host Carol Castiel of Voice of America’s “Press Conference USA,” in an interview recorded live inside The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.
Listen to the full interview on the Voice of America website: http://www.voanews.com/audio/2801299.html
The Kluge Chair in American Law and Governance is a senior research position at The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress that examines domestic matters of and among the three branches of the United States government. William Julius Wilson held the chair from February to May 2015.