Veteran journalist Ellis Cose thinks racism is on the way out. In a new book, The End of Anger, he describes a generation of young black professionals who, unlike their parents, believe they can succeed at whatever they do. For sure, he says in an interview with Salon, they agree that life is different for African-Americans than for whites; but "[t]he younger folks are just much more likely to believe that they can personally overcome it because there are ways to get around it that their parents didn't have, and that their grandparents could not even imagine." It's a bit of a shocker to hear this from Cose, whose 1993 book The Rage of a Privileged Class, made pretty much the opposite argument – that black middle-class professionals felt held back by racial discrimination. In the interim, though, impressively credentialled black people have risen to top positions in politics and business – with Obama's election as a "defining moment." "All of a sudden, what had seemed impossible became plausible," he says. Of course, not everybody in America is thrilled at the shift. "Because there has been this very obvious progress, there is a very boisterous minority that is upset about it, and of course they're going to make their voices heard," Cose says."It's not because they're stupid. It's because they're stuck in a very old paradigm." But they're swimming against the tide, he says. "I think we will for generations, and maybe forever, be dealing with the impact of racism," he says. "But racism as a phenomenon itself is fading."
• 'Is Racism on the Way Out?' [Salon]