Many depressive pontificators clung to the notion that millions of whites would never vote black, even if they were Democrats and liberal Democrats, at that.  This was their way of saying that this is an irredeemably racist society.  This would not exactly make them happy.  But if it would leave them satisfied at their correct estimation of their neighbors.

No one in the intellectual life of our country has challenged this take on the electorate longer and more consistently, more honestly and bravely than Abigail and Stephen Thernstrom, friends since we met in a graduate student "new left" study group, so new that we read Karl Marx.

Why do I characterize their enterprise as "brave?"

First of all, many of the institutions of the society are now organized around the assumption that upward mobility is still blocked by race and racism.

Secondly, men and women, especially in the academy, but not only there, have spent their lives fighting for a cause that was long ago won.  They do not recognize this victory.  The present generation of students barely registers the race or ethnicity of their teachers...or their peers.  So let's get on with it.

The Thernstroms have once again made the argument for race-blind election districts for Congress, today in the Wall Street Journal.