Sports: Racial Segregation Essay

Submitted By bds2001
Words: 1028
Pages: 5

Wilson, Chapter 5
Dr. Porter/Social Problems
William Wilson concludes his book with chapter 5; Framing the issues: Uniting structure and culture. In this chapter, Wilson hopes to confront two serious challenges: how to create legislation that is designed to confront structural and cultural forces that create and reinforce racial inequality; and how to get sufficient support from the American public to support such legislation. (Wilson p.154) How do these greater forces affect racial inequality in America? Wilson reviews the answer in this chapter. “The code of the street” and “the code of shady dealings” were brought back from chapter one to reinforce the idea that culture mediates the impact of structural forces such as racial segregation and poverty. (Wilson pp. 133-134) These codes are examples of how cultural codes influence structure. (Wilson p.135) Also, they tend to limit the chances of success for those living in poverty. Wilson reminds us that throughout this book he has argued that structure has the greater impact on racial inequality as compared to culture. Next, he tells us the problems policy makers face when dealing with race and poverty. (Wilson p.135) These problems are Institutional entrenchment and how to generate political support from Americans, who tend to place far more emphasis on cultural factors. The key to the latter is making Americans aware of the relationship between structural and cultural forces. Combining liberal focuses such as segregation and discrimination with conservative focuses such as individual attitudes and behavior is the answer to these problems policy makers face. (Wilson p.136) Wilson believes in this compromise of structure and cultural due to a panel discussion at the University of Chicago in 1995 on Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s controversial book The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class in American Life. Social environment factors were not taken into consideration for explaining financial shortcomings. Herrnstein and Murray focused on “cognitive ability” for their test scores instead of the social environment experience. (Wilson p.137) Political Framing is discussed and compared to the New Deal era. The New Deal era was a success because people focused on the structural factors that triggered poverty. Today, we are blinded by cultural forces that do not cut to the root of the problem. Affirmative action policies that frame the issues for the American public are analyzed by Lawrence Bobo (Harvard Sociologist) and Ronald Haskins (policy analyst at the Brookings Institution). (Wilson pp.139-140) Haskins mentions that the slogan “working people should not be poor” failed to cover the impact of joblessness and America’s view on welfare. (Wilson p.141) Wilson mentions president Barack Obama’s speech, where he detailed political framing that contributed to the lack of economic opportunity for black workers. Obama outlined structural factors that contribute to inequality and a plan that addressed race and poverty. (Wilson p.143) Further in the chapter, Wilson reviews these structural factors. Federal transportation and the shift of jobs from the cities to suburbs, isolation of blacks in central cities, cuts to federal aid in cities, and weak labor market labors are all structural forces. The decreased demand for low-skilled labor and growing internationalization are also reasons for poor black neighborhoods. (Wilson, p.145) As well as this, the fragmentation of the black family has little to no relationship with welfare. Jobless black males suffering from the above forces have no means for providing for a family. The low marriage and single-parent household rates are due to this joblessness. Welfare itself doesn’t increase the chance of out-of-wedlock births and solo-parent families in the poor, urban black community. (Wilson, p.146) Next, Wilson describes cultural forces that contribute to racial inequality. Belief systems of the