1. Myth of Black Progress
took a power blackout and the looting of New York City for America to rediscover
its ghettos. Just like the time before, it took a massive dose of urban violence
to draw attention to the underclass. Though the times have changed, the grievances
remain the same. Most of the indices of poverty, illegitimacy, unemployment, and
drug abuse that were a national scandal in the 1960's are worse now.
the black population is less than twenty-four years old, and for them the future
promises little. Four out of ten young black and brown people in the ghettos will
never have a job that provides them with a livelihood or enables them to support
a family. This is the human dimension of a black teenage unemployment rate of
Even those blacks who are considered successful, mainly because
they have jobs, are losing ground to their white counterparts. The Labor Department
reports a growing gap between white and black income, with the wages of white
workers increasing twice as fast as those of blacks. Ninety-seven percent of all
professional jobs are still held by whites, and this has not changed since 1969.
is the greatest urban concern of our time, and young blacks play a major role
in that problem. In New York City today, the number of black youths under 16 who
have been arrested is almost ten times what it was in 1950.
in housing laws have sealed the fate of most black communities. The inner city
has become the exclusive preserve of those who cannot afford to leave.
the 60's the mass media carried the message from blacks and had a role in the
creation of black leaders; the media was integrated and had black journalists
to provide the black point of view. Today, the role of blacks in the media is
superfluous, and there is little coverage of the normal aspects of black life
or of the continuing struggle for equality in the day-to-day routine.
The failure of the media to see the problems of blacks as an ongoing
story instead of focusing on these problems only when large scale urban
violence takes place, qualifies this story as one of the "best
censored" stories of 1977.
The Progressive, November,1977, p. 21, "Black Progress Myth and Ghetto Reality,"
by Joel Dreyfuss.