Daniel Patrick Moynihan was the Speaker Of The House for a lot of years. A Democrat, and a wise old fart, in spite of that.
What he meant to point out by "benign neglect" was not ignoring the problem, but the fact you aren't working towards equality, by designating a group as walking wounded. You get there by treating everyone as equal, from git-go, and keeping to it. What "catching up" occurs is up to the individual.
He was also one of the few Democrats who spoke out against the idea of welfare. His other famous quote has turned out to be true as well.
"Be careful. What you subsidize, you get more of."