Orlando Patterson [From The Du Bois Institute's

Something has gone terribly wrong in the way we view and talk about race in America. At present the dialogue is dominated by the extremes. A strange convergence has emerged between the extremes. On the left the nation is misled by an endless stream of traps and books and studies that deny any meaningful change in America's, and I'm quoting titles here, two nations, decry the myth of black progress, more the dream deferred, dismiss African-American middle-class and their achievement as volunteer slavery, pronounce African-American men an endangered species and apocolyptically announce the latest title, the coming race war.

On the right there is complete, indeed even gleeful, agreement of this dismal portrait, imagery of fast, losing ground, except that the road to racial hell has been paved by the very policies intended to help to solve the problem are painted by the dream and the nightmare of cultural changes in the 60s and overbreeding and educational integration of the inferior African - Americans and low class whites and genetically situated on the wrong tail of the IQ bell curve. [LAUGHTER]

If it is true that a racial crisis persists in America, this crisis is as much born of perception and interpretation as of actual socioeconomic inter-ethnic realities. The source of this misperception varies. There is first the tendency to racialize all problems, problems that are essentially class problems inevitably become redefined as racial problems.

We have a problem of inequality in this country. The levels of inequality have been increasing and they are obscene when one contrasts the income of the average chief executive with the average worker, but this cuts across all ethnic groups. This is not a race problem, this is a problem of American economy and American society and America's attitude towards distribution of this income.



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