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Fifty years ago, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (more widely known as the Kerner Commission), issued its report, providing a stark account of the conditions in America that had led to the disorders.The Kerner Commission described a country in which African-Americans faced systematic discrimination, suffered from inadequate education and housing, and lacked access to economic opportunities. Other chapters discuss one of the most disturbing aspects of America's racial inequality: inequality in securing access to justice, reinforced by a system of mass incarceration largely targeted at African-Americans.The core message of the new report reflects the great insight of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.: achieving economic justice for African-Americans cannot be separated from achieving economic opportunities for all Americans.Yet the economic divide in the U.S. has grown much wider, with devastating effects on those without a college education, a group that includes almost three-quarters of African-Americans.Almost a half-century after the enactment of anti-discrimination laws, racism, greed, and market power still work together to the disadvantage of African-Americans.The real strength of the U.S. is not its military power but its soft power, which has been badly eroded not just by Trump, but also by persistent racial discrimination.
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