The American debate about justice and equality had its roots in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s; since that time, both scholarly and popular theorists have repeatedly attempted to answer the historically enduring question: is the black population's subordinate position in American society determined by issues of race or by those of class? The answer to this question is central to currently proposed policies that seek to promote genuine equality among the races. Through analyses and critiques, this text challenges the arguments justifying race-specific or class-based inequalities. Franklin offers a perspective that focuses on the ways dominant-subordinate relations develop into race-class connections that cast shadows affecting our understanding of issues far beyond black-white relations themselves. These shadows, Franklin argues, are manifest in contemporary interpretations of slavery, the black underclass located in the central cities, white reactions to black demands for social justice, and our understanding of the welfare state itself.
Within this context, Franklin addresses the specific material and social needs of African-Americans while presenting an agenda for rebuilding a meaningful urban life for all people.
From civil rights to civic disgrace; American slavery: contemporary meanings and uses; scientific racism and social class; economics of dominant-subordinate relations; white uses of the black underclass; race-class connections; city as promise?; shades and politics of race, class, and gender.