Why You Never Heard Of William Julius Wilson

“As Kenneth Clark so clearly shows in his 1965 study, Dark Ghetto, stores and other business establishments are in a position to easily extract significantly higher prices for consumer goods.  Public services are so inferior in quality to those enjoyed by the vast majority of other Americans that an outside visitor to the ghetto could hardly avoid a sense of shock when considering the insufficient sanitation, inadequate police protection, low quality schools, run-down parks and recreational facilities.  This absolute deprivation is rendered even more intolerable by relative deprivation.  In an advanced industrial society it is impossible for ghetto residents to be unaware of the enormous discrepancy between their living standards and the social experiences of those of the rest of society.”  The American Underclass: Inner-City Ghettos and the Norms of Citizenship  lecture at Harvard University, April 26, 1988

As one of only twenty university professors at Harvard surely this distinguished social scientist has been featured at many symposium, or on numerous well-known television program, dropping his intellectual insights and observations.  So as we come to the end of another Black History Month (to quote the film critics from the classic sketch comedy series In Living Color…HATED IT!) I wonder why he isn’t as popular as, say, Henry Louis Gates? 

“For instance, a number of studies revealed how Richard J. Daley, the former mayor of Chicago, used the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 to route expressways through impoverished African-American neighborhoods, resulting in even greater segregation and isolation.  A lasting legacy of that policy is the fourteen-lane Dan Ryan Expressway, which created a barrier between black and white neighborhoods.”  Chapter 2: The Forces Shaping Concentrated Poverty (The Role of Political Actions) in the book More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor In The Inner City (2009)

Maybe he’s a little camera shy…or possibly just doesn’t court, or need, the publicity (with benefits) that many other intellectuals crave.  It’s just difficult to understand why more people won’t embrace this prolific writer/scholar.

“No, I didn’t think we should stop emphasising race because I think, you know, race is still very, very important and we have to recognize that and continue to introduce programs that erase racial inequities.  But we have to, uh, widen our vision and also address the growing problems of economic class.  The middle class is falling further and further behind the rich.”  NPR Program Tell Me More  (September 13, 2012)

Oh yeah…we’re in a post-racial America now.  Who needs a free-thinking, truth-telling Black man stirring up trouble?!?

“Signed…An Educated Brother!”

About aneducatedbrother

Sharing the belief that education is not a business, and true academic reform is the only tide that will lift all boats.
This entry was posted in Charter Schools, Education, Education Reform, Public School Education. Bookmark the permalink.

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