Monday, May 04, 2015

Race, Class and Neglect

Paul Krugman, NYT
MAY 4, 2015

Every time you’re tempted to say that America is moving forward on race — that prejudice is no longer as important as it used to be — along comes an atrocity to puncture your complacency. Almost everyone realizes, I hope, that the Freddie Gray affair wasn’t an isolated incident, that it’s unique only to the extent that for once there seems to be a real possibility that justice may be done.

And the riots in Baltimore, destructive as they are, have served at least one useful purpose: drawing attention to the grotesque inequalities that poison the lives of too many Americans.

Yet I do worry that the centrality of race and racism to this particular story may convey the false impression that debilitating poverty and alienation from society are uniquely black experiences. In fact, much though by no means all of the horror one sees in Baltimore and many other places is really about class, about the devastating effects of extreme and rising inequality.

Take, for example, issues of health and mortality. Many people have pointed out that there are a number of black neighborhoods in Baltimore where life expectancy compares unfavorably with impoverished Third World nations. But what’s really striking on a national basis is the way class disparities in death rates have been soaring even among whites.

(More here.)

1 Comments:

Blogger Tom Koch said...

While the investigation is not over, I understand that the driver of the police van was black - is black on black crime racial in Krugman's world? Baltimore has been under DEM rule for decades, how many riots will it take to help Krugman understand that we just might be on the wrong path?

8:01 PM  

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