Introduction : before school -- Small miracles -- Life way after preschool -- The futures market -- The imprimatur of science -- Who cares for the children? -- Jump-starting a movement -- The politics of the un-dramatic -- English lessons -- Kids-first politics.
The headlines at the outset of 1987 told of Howard Beach, where a group of blacks had been chased, and one killed, because they had unwittingly entered a white enclave in New York City. And they told of Forsythe County, Georgia, where the mere presence of civil rights marchers, in a place from which blacks had been driven three-quarters of a century earlier, brought out depths of antagonism unknown since an earlier era of civil rights marches. Behind both events – (...) indeed, behind almost every question of race to arise in recent years – was the specter of affirmative action. Even as, during the late 1960s, some blamed urban riots on the federal government's failure to achieve equal opportunity between the races by equalizing life outcomes, so in 1987 white antagonisms were regarded in some quarters as a crude reflection of the Reagan administration's hostility towards affirmative action. The rhetoric and the policies of that administration, it was said, contributed to a sentiment that blacks already had their share – indeed, more than their share. Official word and deed contributed also, it was argued, to a resentment against blacks who, because of quotas, had been unfairly advantaged. (shrink)