“In black America, what began as concrete activism aimed at getting justice devolved into abstract gestures unconcerned with justice. The vestigial gestures live on because they serve a psychological function: they assuage personal insecurities that are legacies of our station in American life until very recently. Many today genuinely think that the gestures are activism. So much time has gone by, and ever fewer were mature in the era of genuine civil rights activism.
“(…) this ideology has hindered black America from adapting to changing economic conditions. It has rendered black America overly susceptible to the temptations of open-ended dependence and criminality. It has discouraged black American leaders from innovative responses to community problems.
“Yet over the years I have learned that my take on this is an eccentric one…”
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