In the age of runaway inequality and Black Lives matter, there is an emerging consensus that our society has failed to redress racial disparities. But who is the culprit?
For many progressives, racial identities are the engine of American history, and by extension, contemporary politics. They, in short, want to separate race from class. While policymakers and pundits find an almost metaphysical racism, or the survival of an ancient and primordial tribalism at the heart of American life, these inequities are better understood when traced to more comprehensible forces: to the contradictions in access to New Deal era welfare programs, to the blinders imposed by the Cold War, to Ronald Reagan’s neoliberal assault on the half-century long Keynesian consensus. As Touré Reed argues in this rigorously constructed book, the road to a more just society for African Americans and everyone else, the fate of poor and working-class African Americans is inextricably linked to that of other poor and working-class Americans.