William Julius Wilson’s The Declining Significance of Race was highly controversial when it was first published. Most of the controversy concerned Wilson’s assertion that race was no longer a significant variable for explaining the economic position of blacks in contemporary America. Wilson has made an ambitious attempt to create a model that will explain that racial history. Wilson takes two class-based models of racism (orthodox Marxist theory and split labor market theory) and compares their utility for explaining racial antagonism in differing eras of US history. Wilson’s analysis of this era slips into this conceptual morass partially because he chooses to focus on noneconomic aspects of racial relations. Wilson’s treatment of the basis of political power is brief and cryptic. Wilson’s analysis of white working-class power is critical because of its relationship with competitive racial antagonism in his model.