Walter Mead Russell on the Plight of the Black Middle Class

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Every now and then you read something that just sits with you for a long time. My mental processor has been working on this provocative piece from Walter Mead Russell for weeks now.

Go read it. I’ll be here when you get back. Plenty of edu-implications here, and some obvious crucial points that WMR omitted, but tell me what you think in the comments section. I’m still trying to decide how I would try to tackle this if I were a billionaire philanthropist.

2 Responses to Walter Mead Russell on the Plight of the Black Middle Class

  1. Mike G says:

    Thoughtful essay.

    This is a good companion read with lots of charts.

    If we’re looking for a grand compromise, the DOL report, in its final section, at least outlines the Obama Admin view of the world.

    I’d characterize the Romney view as “A rising tide lifts all races.”

    As for the grand compromise is that WMR seeks, I don’t know.

  2. Ed Jones says:

    I was surprised not to find more comments…until I hit the pay wall.

    One figure I regularly use is that Black Americans become civil engineers at about one fourth the rate they should. Extend this into other STEM fields and you’ll quickly see why good employment becomes a problem in the present economy.

    Moreover, by skipping these professional steps on the ladder of the American Dream, African Americans are denying their communities the extra social capital needed to start small businesses, build or improve parks, support churches and missions, enhance schools, promote youth activities.

    Nor do I mean above “skipping steps” as the acts of individual career choices. Rather it’s in electing those who won’t bring what’s necessary to predominantly black K-12 schools.

    No one thinks this level of education can come quickly or easily for all. But we ought to be good enough to find and educate young black Americans to become civil engineers. That at least we should be able to do.

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