Black/Brown/White Relations: Race Relations in the 1970s

By Charles V. Willie | Go to book overview

5
Ethnic Resentment

Fred Barbaro

The antipoverty and other Great Society programs were launched in a decade that was notable for its professed altruism.The proclaimed objective was the elimination of poverty and many of its by-products. By the time the decade came to a close the dream had tarnished in the wake of violence against political leaders, civil disorders, a prolonged war in Vietnam, and police violence directed against our youth.

Perhaps the results were predictable: as the blacks, the most visible minority, sought to hasten the conversion of the dream to reality, other groups waited for their opportunities to recoup real or imaginary losses sustained during the 1960s. It was not so easy to foretell, however, the apparent hostility of other minorities against blacks resulting from the implementation of the Kennedy-Johnson domestic programs.Blacks were increasingly seen as the major beneficiaries of these programs and quickly became the targets of other groups frustrated by their inability to receive what they perceived to be their fair share. As the war effort consumed more and more resources and the promised program expansion failed to reach the level where these groups could be served, antiblack sentiments increased. Nonblack minority groups reasoned that there would only be one pie, that it was being baked for and consumed by blacks, and that they must more aggressively stake their claims

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