In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson established the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders to examine why race relations in the United States were in such a state of confusion that it had resulted in civil disturbances. By 1968, the trajectory of race relations and racial disparities, with regard to the quality of life and standards of living, were such that the commission wrote, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one Black, one White, separate and unequal.” Since the start of the twenty-first century, economic recessions, natural disasters, and civil unrest have exposed the continuation of pervasive differences in the perceptions of racial progress between Blacks and Whites. This article aims to examine perceptions of racial progress and the continuation of unfair racial treatment within the context of the commission’s “two nations” thesis. The findings of this article suggest that Blacks remain considerably more pessimistic than Whites about the state of racial affairs in the US today. How do we explain this conundrum in light of the passage of the civil rights legislation of the 1960s? We begin with the premise that race is still a problem in today’s society, but it is a problem in ways that are very different from when the Kerner Commission report was released.
Perceptions of Racial Progress and Mistreatment Today: The Implications for the Kerner Commission’s “Two Nations” Thesis
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Theodore Davis; Perceptions of Racial Progress and Mistreatment Today: The Implications for the Kerner Commission’s “Two Nations” Thesis. National Review of Black Politics 13 April 2020; 1 (2): 251–270. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nrbp.2020.1.2.251
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