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The Bridge over the Racial Divide

             In The Bridge over the Racial Divide, William Julius Wilson offers us a blueprint to follow in an effort to bridge the divisions which currently exist among America's culturally, ethnically and racially diverse " have-nots." He exhorts middle and lower class Americans to reject that which divides them and embrace their commonalities irrespective of phenotypical differences. Wilson views the problems of the fragmented, disadvantaged classes primarily through the prism of adverse economic factors and governmental policies which affect each fragment of the group similarly. It is imperative that each element of the entire class recognize its particular situation more as a corollary to those economic factors which affect the entire class as opposed to a particular problem contained wholly within and specific to the particular group within the class. The question for Wilson is how can this be accomplished. He believes the answer to lie in the formation of a national multiracial coalition. .
             The first half of the book addresses what the author perceives to be obstacles to the formation of these multiracial coalitions. He stresses the need for a new political strategy wherein the concerns of the American population as a whole and its racial minority population are simultaneously addressed. In order for a progressive national multiracial coalition to flourish the idea of the "apartheid society" or America as "two nations" is unacceptable. For this reason an examination of racism in America as an obstacle to multiracial coalition building is essential. The author identifies two types of racism-biological racism and cultural racism. He states that hardly anyone today would endorse biological racism, that is, a categorical belief in the biological inferiority of African-Americans. Old, rejected theories of biological inferiority have been replaced, in many instances, by a form of cultural racism within American institutions.

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