Reckoning with Race confronts America’s most intractable problem – race. In a balanced, uncompromising, and unflinching narrative, Gene Dattel outlines American racial issues from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present, exploding myths about the South as America’s exclusive racial scapegoat and examining the Great Migration north and the urban ghettos which still plague America.
Through profiles of people, cities, and regions, Dattel explores the topics of identity, assimilation, and separation. Reckoning with Race asks and answers many questions. After emancipation, how were blacks historically segregated from the rest of American society? Why is self-segregation still a feature of black society? Why do large numbers of blacks resist assimilation and the acceptance of middle class norms of behavior? Why has there been so little black penetration in the private sector? Why did the removal of overt legal segregation and civil rights legislation in the 1960s not settle the racial conundrum? Why do we still have the problems enumerated in the Kerner Commission report (1968) after trillions of dollars have been spent to promote black progress? What, if anything, should be done, to eliminate the racial divide?