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A Framework for the Analysis of Urban Black Politics
John R. Howard
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 439, Urban Black Politics (Sep., 1978), pp. 1-15
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. in association with the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1042627
Page Count: 15
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The analysis of urban black politics requires examining both the magnitude of the problems confronting black office holders at the municipal level and the politico-social context within which black leadership seeks to confront these problems. With regard to the former, typically cities with black leadership are older, poorer, and blacker than most in the United States. Problems of poverty long predate black political ascendancy and are usually not mitigated by federal or state income transfer policies. These problems have a ripple effect, hurting ghetto business, black and white, and diminishing choice with regard to housing, education and health care. With regard to understanding the socio-political context within which urban black leadership is exercised, the important factors are: (a) the political and moral inaccessibility of certain policies theoretically available to white leadership (for example, the "planned shrinkage" of low income communities via cuts in service as an alternative to citywide cuts in services); (b) the fiscal strain of varying degrees of severity; (c) the apportioning of power among city offices as reflected in the structure of city government; (d) the character of state and federal initiatives; and (e) racism as it is manifested in institutional and affective forms. This paper explicates each of these factors, addressing the policy impact of urban black leadership and the capacity of the formal political system to promote ghetto reform.
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science © 1978 American Academy of Political and Social Science