Reflections on Issues of Race and Class in the 21st Century: Revisiting Arguments Advanced in The Declining Significance of Race (1978)

Director William Julius Wilson

William Julius Wilson’s book, The Declining Significance of Race, published in 1978, featured two major underlying themes—(1) the effect of fundamental economic and political shifts on the changing relative importance of race and class as a determinant of a black person’s life trajectory, and (2) the swing in the concentration of racial conflict from the economic sector to the sociopolitical order. During the past year, Wilson has analyzed longitudinal data, census reports, and print media documents to examine the extent to which these themes apply to more recent developments in American race and ethnic relations involving not only African Americans but also other groups, including whites and Latinos. He also is using the data collected and analyzed to advance some thoughts on the future of race relations in the US.

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