Piecemeal measures won't work.
Almost fifty years later historians and scholars look at the Kerner Commission Report as another reminder of how much is still unchanged and needs changing to make the promises of American democracy work for all. Division is not inevitable. When will we hear and heed and act?
If it's like other famous commission reports, yes.
Given the recent unrest in Ferguson and Baltimore, it's time to reignite the debate: Was the Kerner Commission prediction accurate: Have we become "two societies... separate and unequal?"
It would be little surprise if poverty, inequality, injustice, and feelings of hopelessness were identified as the root causes of the current state of race relations in our communities. But rather than speculate or argue over the issue, let's have a national discussion, transparent and honest, led by the president himself.
Whether you are a Hollywood executive, a corporate sponsor, a progressive Police Chief, or a common Jane or Joe that wants to see a less divided society, we will all play a role in creating a new and better future. If we choose to cast ourselves in that role.
Since the shooting and killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson by a police officer and other tragic incidents between African Americans and police in face-to-face encounters and the subsequent protests, a national dialogue on race relations has begun once again.
If we having a real conversation then we must have one that examines the deep racial anxiety in this country, an anxiety not only stoked by strategic political manipulation, but by fear of rapidly changing demographics, and a rapidly changing world.
The post-industrial dystopia emerging on the streets of Detroit may be shocking, but it is not surprising. The crisis results from the convergent forces of fiscal austerity and structural racism in a region defined by its extreme segregation of race, wealth and opportunity.
Can we as a society cut through this vail and begin to know and understand those different from ourselves, to have the ability to walk in the shoes of another, to break down these "us" versus "them" notions that separate? First, we must abolish the denial systems that prevent many of us grasping our social privileges.
What is needed is exactly what the Kerner Commission recommended to the country 46 years ago: a comprehensive shift in the priorities of our social spending away from the military-industrial-prison complex and toward widespread development of impoverished parts of America.
Holder dared to challenge the nation on the taboo R word. Just don't expect much more to come of it.