ICYMI: Why Urban American Matters: Race, Opportunity, and the American Future

ICYMI: Why Urban American Matters: Race, Opportunity, and the American Future

Dec 04, 2020 Debi Ghate

Back in October of this year, The Philanthropy Roundtable held its annual meeting virtually. I recently re-listened to this thought-provoking talk by one our speakers, Reihan Salam, president of the Manhattan Institute. 

In the talk, titled “Why Urban America Matters: Race, Opportunity, and the American Future,” Salam traces how local politicians have sometimes adopted policies that destroy one ethnic group’s chances of prosperity to drive that group out of their jurisdictions, with devastating long-term consequences for the favored group that remains. Salam then discusses how this type of racial or ethnic division has more recently been merging with class distinctions to create two hostile camps. 

 He explains how today’s working class in America’s cities has evolved—female; blue-collar workers; immigrant, etc.—so that we now have what he views as a white professional class and a non-white working class. He asks: Are we laying the groundwork for a drawn-out, race-based conflict, and is this inevitable? 

Because the political landscape in America’s cities has become a fight between the moderate left and the progressive left, it’s become easy for many to write urban America off entirely. Listen to Salam’s analysis of why this would be a mistake, what mentality is making this mistake possible, and most importantly, how we can see a renaissance of our American cities. 

 After his talk, Salam was joined by Tim Carney and Kristen Solis Anderson of the Washington Examiner for a deeper discussion about these issues. Can America’s cities become beacons of opportunity once again?