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Limits of Political Strategy: A Systemic View of the African American Experience

Lucius J. Barker
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 88, No. 1 (Mar., 1994), pp. 1-13
DOI: 10.2307/2944878
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2944878
Page Count: 13
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Limits of Political Strategy: A Systemic View of the African American Experience
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Abstract

Viewing the African American experience through a systemic perspective tells much about the nature and operation of the political system. I suggest that a systemic perspective incorporates a broad range of factors that must be considered in a constitutional context that guides not only the choice of goals and strategies, but also signals the relative chances of success in the outcome of interest conflict. I focus on the capacity and limits of various strategies, and show how the political system generally militates against fundamental policy change. However, on rare occasions such policy change does occur, but it is difficult to implement and maintain, especially regarding the matter of race. Under the circumstances, I suggest that overcoming America's continuing dilemma of race requires extraordinary leadership and people of good will who are determined to see the constitutional-democratic system work.

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