Prospects of the House Divided
How can Americans achieve further progress in their long national struggle to reduce enduring material race inequalities? To aid reflection on this question, we have advanced in the preceding chapters a distinctive narrative of the past and present of American racial politics. That narrative has significant implications for understanding how politics has contributed to the construction of racial statuses and identities in America, and for thinking about how Americans might conduct their politics differently, in ways that offer better prospects for addressing inherited racial inequalities.
We have defended two chief empirical claims about how we should understand racial politics in the United States. First, we have sought to show that American racial politics has historically been structured as evolving systems of opposed racial policy alliances. Second, we have documented how modern American racial politics is characterized by a clash between generally cohesive color-blind and race-conscious alliances that are more aligned with the two major political parties and with opposed economic ideologies than ever before. Recall the pro- and anti-slavery alliances we saw in chapter 2 (tables 2.1 and 2.2):