Race, Poverty, and Inner City Youth: Finding New Ways to Talk About - and Overcome - Old Problems

April 7, 2010

Remarks by

William Julius Wilson, Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor, Harvard University; Director, Joblessness and Urban Poverty Research Program, Harvard Kennedy School; and Author, More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City

Commentary by

Molly Baldwin, Executive Director, Roca, which serves high-risk youth in Chelsea, Revere, and East Boston
Reverend Jeffrey Brown, Executive Director, The Boston Ten Point Coalition

Can we talk about issues of race and poverty in ways that are productive, honest, and useful? Historically, such discussions have been extremely difficult, particularly when they included references to cultural factors that might contribute to persistent racial inequality. In his new book, noted sociologist William Julius Wilson challenges both liberal and conservative dogmas and presents a new framework for understanding – and addressing – the problem of racial inequality. Will this approach be effective with both policymakers and the young people that the policies aim to help?

Cosponsored by Harvard's Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, and the Malcolm Weiner Center for Social Policy