The systemic impediments include both the legacy of racism and dramatic economic changes that have fallen with disproportionate severity on poor blacks.
….Today many ghetto residents have almost no contact with mainstream American society or the normal job market. As a result, they have developed distinctive and often dysfunctional social norms. The work ethic, investment in the future and deferred gratification make no sense in an environment in which legitimate employment at a living wage is impossible to find and crime is an everyday hazard (and temptation). Men, unable to support their families, abandon them; women become resigned to single motherhood; children suffer from broken homes and from the bad examples set by both peers and adults. And this dysfunctional behavior reinforces negative racial stereotypes, making it all the harder for poor blacks to find decent jobs.
Â - Richard Thompson Ford, Professor of Law at Stanford University in his review of More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City by William Julius Wilson
Source: New York Times, 3/8/2009