William Julius Wilson: Why You Should Listen When he Speaks at UVM

Do you care about poverty and equality of opportunity in the US? Want to here someone frame a more coherent solution than those ISO kids in front of the library? October 19th is your chance to mix with an extremely prominent Harvard professor, listen to his controversial presentation and ask insightful questions-even though you only made it to UVM. Dr. William Julius Wilson, a widely published sociologist and leading scholar on urban poverty, is coming to UVM to speak about “The Roots of Racial Tensions: Urban Ethnic Neighborhoods”. Maybe he isn’t as big a name as Newt Gingrich, but his ideas have been arguably more influential on US policy making during the past two decades. In 1996, Time magazine named Wilson one of the top 25 most influential Americans. Wilson had Clinton’s ear during the ’90s, promoting a major increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit, national health care, and major welfare reforms to promote employment, and he continues to influence poverty alleviation policy today. Every self respecting sociology and economics major should have heard of Wilson, especially if you have taken a class with Prof McCrate or Dr. Moustapha Diouf. If you are interested in finding out more about Wilson and his recent books, I recommend checking out Amazon.com, where you can read public reviews of his work. Since I know you are overworked and inherently lazy college students, I’ve done some of that assignment for you. On Amazon.com, responses to Wilson’s book “When Work Disapears: the world of the new Urban Poor”, range all over the place, from extremely positive, “I found ‘When Work Disappears’ very insightful and definitely a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the issues of urban poverty, the interplays of race and class and the global machinations that aggravate poverty in domestic US contexts”– Ogyabooks: to extremely skeptical and insulting such as J. Adams, self proclaimed “history buff” who characterizes Wilson’s book as of the same caliber as the arguments of those “who ‘proved’ Galileo to be wrong when he said that the Earth revolved around the sun…”. Ultimately the only way to evaluate his work is to read it yourself and to come drill him with questions. A copy of “The Roots of Racial Tensions: Urban Ethnic Neighborhoods” is available online http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/macarthur/inequality/papers/WilsonRacialTension.pdf and many of Wilson’s books are available at Bailey Howe, including but not limited to: Ghetto Underclass: Social Science Perspectives, When Work Disapears: the World of the New Urban Poor, and the Declining Significance of Race : Blacks and Changing American Institutions.