In William Julius Wilson’s 1978 book, “The Declining Significance of Race,” the sociologist argued that racial discrimination was no longer the biggest barrier to black economic advancement. His fellow liberals were outraged. Forty-one years later, Mr. Wilson is still right and the political left is still in denial.
Accusations of white racism are all the rage in Washington these days. If you oppose school busing, you’re a racist. If you want immigration laws enforced, you’re a racist. If you’re against slavery reparations or support adding a citizenship question to the census or criticize minority members of Congress, you’re a racist.
One problem is that Donald Trump has adopted the kind of identity politics we usually associate with Democrats. Another is that Democratic presidential contestants in search of black votes have taken racial pandering to new lows. Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., spoke for many of the candidates when he told National Public Radio last week that “white America” needs to come to grips with what he says explains today’s racial inequities. Namely, the “systemic racism all around us. It’s the air we breathe.”