From Glenn Loury’s excellent article in the new Boston Review on why there are so many people in US prisons, and why so many of these people are black.
… something interesting seems to have been going on in the late 1960s regarding the relationship between attitudes on race and social policy. Before 1965, public attitudes on the welfare state and on race, as measured by the annually administered General Social Survey, varied year to year independently of one another: you could not predict much about a person’s attitudes on welfare politics by knowing their attitudes about race. After 1965, the attitudes moved in tandem, as welfare came to be seen as a race issue. Indeed, the year-to-year correlation between an index measuring liberalism of racial attitudes and attitudes toward the welfare state over the interval 1950–1965 was .03. These same two series had a correlation of .68 over the period 1966–1996.