More Than Just Race

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Acclaimed sociologist William Julius Wilson creates a new framework for understanding the links between race and poverty in his new book More Than Just Race. Wilson tries to explain racial economic and social inequality by synthesizing the cultural and institutional factors that create it.


William Julius Wilson

Comments [11]


Great interview. Being an African-American male, I felt very passionate about when Dr. Wilson talked about how African American students who did well in school were deemed as "mallomars" or "oreos", because I was an "oreo". Though employed, I still read and write, since I'm a struggling fiction/screenwriter. There's nothing wrong with being black, male and smart.

As for Gary from UWS, the facts Mr. Wilson noted won't be muted as long your mentality, which is shared by some, remains prevalent, despite the presence of President Obama.

Mar. 26 2009 03:08 PM
Bill Greene from Westchester New York

Dr. Wilson has a long history of research into black uenemployment. It is unfair to dismiss his opinions. Don't kill the messenger. But he is far from pessimistic and believes by candidly presenting the problem of young african americans --especially black males--in the work force attempts to explain why blacks and whites, often unreasonably, fear them. It takes structure realism and cultural understanding to resolve these problems. The consequences of racial stereotypes as the defining factor oversimplifies a very complex issue. Dr. Wilson, to his credit, has very plausible solutions.

Mar. 26 2009 01:14 PM
ted from manhattan

this was a most timely interview. i am a teacher in nyc and right now we are doing a major project on this topic. i plan on using the podcast of this interview. i'd love to share what my nyc scholars have to say on this topic.

here's the assignment:

here's what the scholars have to say: and follow the "Civil Rights" link on their homepages.

I would like to hear Prof Wilson's response to the assignment and to the scholar's work.


Mar. 26 2009 01:10 PM
antonio from park slope

Well said puck, and thanks Ash..

Look I know things are changing for the better, but I guess there too many folks out there who don't realize the number of ways that blacks (especially black men) have been disenfranchised... real estate, employment, criminal justice system..

Mar. 26 2009 01:07 PM
Gary from UWS

Ash: Things have only been getting worse with Obama in office. You're right, it is a marvel to behold.

Mar. 26 2009 12:54 PM
Ash in Manhattan from Manhattan

I was impressed with the cool clarity and professionalism of Dr. Wilson. His comments were very insightful and illuminating.

To Gary from UWS: You may not have noticed, but not only does Dr. Wilson have a black president but so do YOU. And so far, he has been a marvel to behold.

Mar. 26 2009 12:47 PM
puck from brooklyn, ny

here's an interesting aside. i have a friend who is a brazilian sociologist, working out of universities in the northeast of brazil (bahia) and the south of the united states (tennessee). she recently brought up, in conversation, a number of surveys she both read and conducted, that show that the united states is particularly outstanding in regards to the ways in which disenfranchised people (not just black people) are blamed for their circumstances. in most other nations, and particularly in brazil, there is more of an understanding of the systemic issues that keep people locked into their social, economic and racial "castes," for lack of a better term.

so, yeah, you could say that dr. wilson just traffics in "guilt" or whatever, but that's more of a reflection of your fears than what he actually has to say. another perspective is that, while responsibility is a huge factor in individual success, there are larger issues that act on patterns among whole populations of people. if you want there to be a change of the entire structure, your approach and analysis must be more like dr. wilson's than if you just want to change one individual. (ie, if you want kids, in general, to pay more attention in class, your solutions will be different than if you just want the kids in your class to pay more attention)

Mar. 26 2009 12:46 PM
antonio ortiz from park slope

Guys like Gary are the problem...

Mar. 26 2009 12:35 PM
kK from stamford, CT

How do you get those kids to sit in their seats??? LL is right, there needs to be a moral change. The body has to sit, the mind will follow.

Mar. 26 2009 12:35 PM
Betty Anne from Ridgewood

Great guest!

Can you ask him about the recent Prop 8 vote and the tendency for the media to blame blacks for it's passage. They were used as a scapegoat. The reality is that blacks are were not significant enough to sway the vote either way.

Mar. 26 2009 12:27 PM
Gary from UWS

For God's sake, Dr. Wilson, stop complaining and go back to Harvard to make another generation of blacks paranoid and white liberals guilty! You have a black president now. No more complaining.

Mar. 26 2009 12:21 PM

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