Over the last five decades, both in Washington and across the country, government action has brought about racial equality under the law – integrating schools, encouraging voter turnout, guaranteeing fair housing laws, even enacting home rule here in D.C. But there's not much the government can do to encourage two people to decide to get married and raise their children together. Or to encourage a small business owner to take a chance on hiring an inexperienced teen who happens to be black.
That may explain the partisan difference Pew noted in August when it found that nearly twice as many Democrats as Republicans feel that "a lot more needs to be done to achieve racial equality." Key to the difference: the belief in who should drive further change. Liberals would say the government. Conservatives would say business owners, volunteers and faith-based organizations. I'm with them.
The solution to racial inequality in America lies in building stronger families and in allowing businesses to create more economic opportunity, neither of which our government has been very good at accomplishing over the last 50 years. There's still plenty that needs to be done, but for the most part, the progress of the next 50 years won't be brought about by the government.