PROTEST, POLITICS, AND PROSPERITY: Black Americans and White Institutions by Dorothy K. & Others Newman

PROTEST, POLITICS, AND PROSPERITY: Black Americans and White Institutions

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The authors offer this assessment of social services and employment opportunities for blacks as an updated version of Myrdals epochal An American Dilemma (1944). Theirs is a much less ambitious work, however; unlike Myrdal, labor economist Newman and her collaborators in several fields ignore black institutions in favor of examining--and faulting--white ones. Bounded by the Fifties debates over equal opportunity, the authors never directly confront the ""culture of poverty"" argument and other more recent interpretations of the ghetto itself; conceptually, the work might just as easily have been published in 1961. By the same score, they do not always take note of trends only now becoming apparent; overstressing the limits to gains blacks have made in the Civil Service, the authors miss entirely the very advent--since Myrdal's time--of a federal bureaucracy largely immune from political pressures (white racism) and able to enforce certain civil rights goals even during the Nixon and Ford administrations. Other, historical sections take a rather militant tone, with blacks alone credited for what achievements have been made in civil rights since 1940. Nevertheless the work warrants consultation; it is a clear and on the whole judicious synthesis of the latest scholarship on advances--and retreats--in equality of opportunity. Extensive notes and statistical appendices well substantiate its critique of continuing white racism and white institutional inertia.

Pub Date: April 26th, 1978
Publisher: Pantheon