The election of the first African-American president was widely hailed as a giant step forward for American racial politics. The future, however, may remember this administration as a giant step back for Black America during a period of deepening alienation, anger and despair in America’s inner cities.
Not since the 1960s, when scores of American cities were shaken by one race riot after another, have African-Americans faced such deadly conditions: high expectations and hopes running up against a reality of vanishing jobs, shrinking government budgets and a fractured and fragmented leadership. Barring an unlikely change in economic fortunes we could soon face a new period of explosive anger and even violence; alternatively, the urban poor could fall prey to a new kind of passive despair and anomie as hope dies on one inner city street after another.(more…)