Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed Info

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Why is it that so many efforts by liberals to lift the
black underclass not only fail, but often harm the intended
beneficiaries?
In Please Stop Helping Us, Jason L. Riley
examines how well-intentioned welfare programs are in fact holding black
Americans back. Minimum-wage laws may lift earnings for people who are
already employed, but they price a disproportionate number of blacks out
of the labor force. Affirmative action in higher education is intended
to address past discrimination, but the result is fewer black college
graduates than would otherwise exist. And so it goes with everything
from soft-on-crime laws, which make black neighborhoods more dangerous,
to policies that limit school choice out of a mistaken belief that
charter schools and voucher programs harm the traditional public schools
that most low-income students attend.
In theory these efforts
are intended to help the poor—and poor minorities in particular.
In practice they become massive barriers to moving
forward.
Please Stop Helping Us lays bare these
counterproductive results. People of goodwill want to see more black
socioeconomic advancement, but in too many instances the current methods
and approaches aren’t working. Acknowledging this is an important
first step.

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Reviews for Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed:

4

Apr 11, 2019

Jason Riley is such an underrated pundit in the political universe. In this provocative book, Riley makes the case that well-intentioned policies designed to lift up the black community are actually undermining them. Using concrete data and studies, Riley shows the reader how minimum wage increases, reduced policing, affirmative action, and welfare programs actually hurt vulnerable communities (such as the black community) more than they help. This book absolutely deserves its endorsement from Jason Riley is such an underrated pundit in the political universe. In this provocative book, Riley makes the case that well-intentioned policies designed to lift up the black community are actually undermining them. Using concrete data and studies, Riley shows the reader how minimum wage increases, reduced policing, affirmative action, and welfare programs actually hurt vulnerable communities (such as the black community) more than they help. This book absolutely deserves it’s endorsement from Thomas Sowell! ...more
2

Dec 28, 2014

I was asked to read this, so I did. It was actually better than I expected. Well written and interesting. Three thing make me give this rating I did. First, and probably most important, he spends much of the books telling us liberals what we believe, what we do, and what we say. In many cases I believe he is wrong. Second of all, he seems to confuse causation and correlation on a number of occasions. Finally, I was disturbed that most of the references he cited were to books or magazine articles I was asked to read this, so I did. It was actually better than I expected. Well written and interesting. Three thing make me give this rating I did. First, and probably most important, he spends much of the books telling us liberals what we believe, what we do, and what we say. In many cases I believe he is wrong. Second of all, he seems to confuse causation and correlation on a number of occasions. Finally, I was disturbed that most of the references he cited were to books or magazine articles that had his point of view, not to peer reviewed articles or original sources of data. This make it very hard to evaluate his arguments.
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1

Oct 30, 2014

Cross-posted from my blog, The Blanks Slate

Some weeks back, a book was brought to my attention by a colleague. It is called "Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed" by Jason L. Riley. I was hoping for a sober analysis of the unintended consequences of big government policies and full of small government solutions to problems that continue to disproportionately affect African Americans.

Unfortunately, what I got was the same ol' tired and worn out argument by Cross-posted from my blog, The Blanks Slate

Some weeks back, a book was brought to my attention by a colleague. It is called "Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed" by Jason L. Riley. I was hoping for a sober analysis of the unintended consequences of big government policies and full of small government solutions to problems that continue to disproportionately affect African Americans.

Unfortunately, what I got was the same ol' tired and worn out argument by conservatives that blacks just need to be better if they want to be treated better. More irritating, the author's disdain for American blacks--being one for the sake of the collective pronoun "us" in the title, but any shared identity is held at arm's length throughout the text of the book--is evident on what seems to be every page. I exaggerate, but not enough to be unfair.

Riley manages to fit in some policy, but most of it after he rationalizes police abuse of young black men (even though he faced some of it himself) and dismisses those who object to criminalizing wearing sagging pants.His absolution of the criminal justice system by way of nonsensical "soft on crime" posturing and selective quotes of critics should undermine his credibility as a thoughtful writer on the subject, even if you remove the racial aspect entirely.

"Please Stop Helping Us" could have been a damning indictment of the governmental system that purports to help people. Instead, Riley took his opportunity to air his scorn for his fellow American blacks. And that is a shame on more levels than I can explain here.

You can read my full review of the book at Rare here. ...more
5

Jul 05, 2014

If I had highlighted anything in this book, then I would have highlighted so much that very few sections or paragraphs would NOT have been highlighted. The author did a masterful job of making his case, and the title expresses the conclusion perfectly. Well done, Mr. Riley!
1

Jan 19, 2015

205 pages of right wing propaganda that bottom lines blacks just need to behave.
5

Aug 27, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: 'Please Stop Helping Us': Black Conservative Deconstructs Unintended Consequences of Affirmative Action, Minimum Wage Laws, Public Schools


REVIEWED BY DAVID M. KINCHEN

Ever since it was published in June, Jason L. Riley's "Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed" (Encounter Books, 184 pages, index, $23.99) has been attacked by the liberal establishment and black talking heads who continue to deliver the "It's not our fault, it's white racism" BOOK REVIEW: 'Please Stop Helping Us': Black Conservative Deconstructs Unintended Consequences of Affirmative Action, Minimum Wage Laws, Public Schools


REVIEWED BY DAVID M. KINCHEN

Ever since it was published in June, Jason L. Riley's "Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed" (Encounter Books, 184 pages, index, $23.99) has been attacked by the liberal establishment and black talking heads who continue to deliver the "It's not our fault, it's white racism" argument as an explanation for lack of progress for African-Americans. They pour boiling oil on Bill Cosby and Riley and others who call for an end to destructive black culture that despises intellectual activity and promotes the gansta rap, hip-hop culture.


At the end of this review, I'm including a HuffPost Live video interview of Riley; I'm doing this to make this review as fair and balanced as possible. I say this as I argue that I'm 100 percent with Riley, who has also been attacked because he's married to a white woman, New York Post columnist Naomi Shaefer-Riley. I haven't seen similar attacks on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who's married to an African-American.

I've often wondered about liberals -- including Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama -- extolling the benefits of inner city public education -- while sending their own children to private schools like Sidwell-Friends in Washington, DC. Riley makes this point, too, in arguing for more education choices for urban African-American parents and their children.

African-Americans deserve as many choices as affluent liberals who tell blacks to support public schools and then go and send their kids to expensive private schools, Riley argues. He tackles the argument -- made by liberals who support teachers' unions because the teachers' unions -- both the AFL-CIO one, AFT, and NEA -- support Democratic candidates -- that charter schools and voucher programs harm the traditional public schools that most minority and low-income students attend. This argument says that charter schools and voucher programs siphon off from public schools the best and the brightest. Riley says that most inner city schools are staffed by union members who care more about job security than educating their students.

What about other unions? Riley gives his readers a historical look at unions and how the traditional AFL craft unions refused to admit blacks and came up with minimum-wage laws and legislation like the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davis–Ba...) were originally intended to prevent the employment of cheaper non-union African-American workers from the South.

What about affirmative action programs? Don't they help blacks? No, says Riley, who says that well-intentioned affirmative action programs for higher education designed to address past discrimination actually results in mismatching black students to highly selective schools like the University of California-Berkeley, where they are destined to fail because of the poor education they received in inner-city public schools. The result is fewer black college graduates than would otherwise exist. Too, he writes, affirmative action isn't working in highly selective public universities because Asian-American students outperform whites, blacks and Hispanic students.

In a particularly touching example of how much of black culture denigrates learning as "acting white," Riley quotes basketball great Kareen Abdul Jabbar -- back when he was still Lew Alcindor -- describing his experiences as a studious kid at a predominantly black Catholic school in Philadelphia in the 1950s (Pages 42-43):

"I got there and immediately found I could read better than anyone in the school. My father's example and my mother's training had made that come easy. I could pick up a book, read it out loud, pronounce the words with proper inflection and actually know what they meant. When the nuns found this out they paid me a lot of attention…when the kids found this out, I became a target."

Riley describes how, when living in his hometown of Buffalo, NY and living and working in the DC area, he was profiled by police. He says he understands the profiling, because of the overwhelming disproportionality of blacks committing crimes. He says that abolishing stop-and-frisk laws and being soft on crime makes crime-ridden majority black enclaves even more dangerous.

To those who believe that Jason Riley is another black mouthing white racist ideology, I say read the book and look at the facts. As the saying goes, "you are entitled to your opinions, but not your facts."


Jason Riley on Huffington Post discussing his book: http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segm...
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1

Mar 15, 2016

While I happen to be a firm believer that all opinions happen to have value, I find the majority of the authors view points to be inaccurate and far reaching. As liberal male of color, I am the first to acknowledge that liberals have had their failings in regards to assisting the Black community. I will also be the first to acknowledge that blacks have much improvement they need to make internally, but again feel the author continuously confuses correlation with causation in his writing.

A clear While I happen to be a firm believer that all opinions happen to have value, I find the majority of the authors view points to be inaccurate and far reaching. As liberal male of color, I am the first to acknowledge that liberals have had their failings in regards to assisting the Black community. I will also be the first to acknowledge that blacks have much improvement they need to make internally, but again feel the author continuously confuses correlation with causation in his writing.

A clear example of this could be his review of the black and white achievement gap in the academic setting. This book makes the general argument that blacks collectively reject education due to the belief that adhering to a European system of education strips the community/individual of their blackness.

He illustrates this argument by discussing blacks who accuse other blacks of "acting white" if the accused student happens to be succeeding academically. What this author fails to mention, is that children of all ethnicities typically practice this behavior. While white children may not accuse their peers of acting while, it is not unheard of for students to be bullied for being smart. The term nerd, geek, or dork are all very demeaning and common words used by American children.

This book fails to mention that The National Center for Education Statistics has reported by the US Census that black women have the highest numbers for enrollment in college. As well as the fact that blacks, as well as Hispanics, have increasingly been enrolling in colleges at large rates. These facts were possibly forfeited since they do not support the idea that blacks have a disdain for education.

This book also promotes a color-blind/post-gender politics ideology that I find extremely troublesome. While I understand the assumption that seeing beyond race and gender would force us to look at each other solely as human, and not as our individual identity markers. I believe until all identity markers are forfeited this suggestion is more and ideal than a viable option. And the current climate of our society shows people have no intention of abandoning their markers.

An example of this is the outrage many conservatives feel as they experience the "secular war on Christmas", or the American insistence that the world needs us to lead. It is unthinkable for one to think or suggest that we become a post-American or post Aramaic religious society. These identity markers ( like race and gender) have their benefits for those who identify with them, and should be respected.

Ultimately, I feel the author spends a lot of time blaming liberal policies and generalizing blacks as being inherently backward. He spends little to no time discussing substantive solutions, or discussing why conservatives are a better option for blacks. I firmly believe that if your solution to the issues in the black community is simply to pull your pants up, and get married your understanding of the issues are far too simple. This book only succeeds at scolding blacks, and supporting stereotypes with poor, research incomplete statistics. This book is just awful. ...more
5

Aug 10, 2014

Excellent. More people need to read this book. We need a rise in personal responsibility to learn, achieve, produce, and give back in this country.
4

Jul 22, 2017

Well researched, there are pages plus sources for every chapter, but it's one of those reality stats books which will only be relevant to logic, thinking factors of outcomes. The reality of the political parties actual policies in 2014 USA does not want to be read for outcomes by liberals. And as such will be rejected by Dems. It will be read by the "choir" who see this result and those whose tax structures have been decimated at the same time the longer it has increased. And especially within Well researched, there are pages plus sources for every chapter, but it's one of those reality stats books which will only be relevant to logic, thinking factors of outcomes. The reality of the political parties actual policies in 2014 USA does not want to be read for outcomes by liberals. And as such will be rejected by Dems. It will be read by the "choir" who see this result and those whose tax structures have been decimated at the same time the longer it has increased. And especially within large urban gang infested city environments. And probably more heavily in Midwestern or Northern cities, IMHO.

It traces the incomes and outcomes (economics of one, violence/educational end states for the other) and also does an excellent job on education across the boards for those who live in black majority and often self-segregated neighborhoods. The ones where welfare in core income has continued since LBJ and what that has meant in stats of outcomes and divisions of labor.

It deals heavily in that proponent of family structure % break downs and change, education choices, what requiring minimum wages and raising them produces in eventual time frames for these communities. Also the real quotient crime statistics and other numbers for work production that are denied by Democratic politicians endlessly as being untrue. Which are not. Or within other tracts of study (opposed with another "anti" as a purpose?) geared primarily to place blame for reactions toward this reality upon other factions of the population. The actual governmental (county/state/federal) numbers listed in the criminal murder, robbery, assault and longevity records since the 1970's forward are NOT propaganda. But unlike the Democratic politicians that send their own children to private educations (and this book lists many, including Clinton and Durbin); they (as a party and in welfare "free stuff" policies in particular) have not improved much of anything at all for their own loyal black constituents in any of 4 or 5 categories (listed, named, stats given for each). In fact, more percentages of successful black college graduates occurred BEFORE LBJ's Great Society than have ever occurred after it began. And they (liberal Dems) tend also to fight against Charter schools which have voucher access or private rules/inputs and that DO work to improve black futures by those stats.

Other topics are covered dryly with numbers and demographics listings and that's the main issue with this book not being easy read. It is also dated. It doesn't include enough about Obama's last term's outcomes for those who were 95% loyal to him in their voting patterns for that final Obama re-election. And it also doesn't include enough of the present Toxic Identity politics of the elites' & PC sensibilities which has actually (AFTER Obama) resulted in long term racial anger and class anger- increased deep divisions fueled by the anger. Anger held and defined and acted upon within violent reaction as justified- and what that is doing presently to the black city populations within present day violence stats. Not only within black against black gang warfare, but within criminal felony behaviors and activity levels.

This author is black and his picture isn't on the author's page here. He is listed as living in NYC with his wife and 3 kids. He is a conservative, self-stated, but holds differing stances on numerous other issues than some of the other black conservatives of more fame, like Ben Carson or Alveda King. I can completely understand his keeping a low profile with the present day reactions against free speech becoming more visible continually. Many not only on campus sites and all accompanied by felony private property and community buildings damage.

Propaganda holds far more about feelings and empathy than this book ever will address. It doesn't omit those factors of wanting to give to those who have the least either, but it doesn't dwell there but what that has CAUSED. This is a book that deals within the facts of outcomes primarily. It holds very dire statistics of the recent end states for 50 years of enabling practices which have decimated the largest platforms for individual or family as a unit for legal patterned success.

It addresses patterns of aid that would be NOT centered and mandated by governments and gives examples which could work without causing these highly backward moving outcomes as well. ...more
5

Dec 17, 2014

Excellent work - a must read for every African American! This book follows in the tradition of historical black scholars such as Frederick Douglas and Booker T. Washington, and celebrates the work of Thomas Sewell. The descendants of African slaves need to wake up to the reality of the damage done by the cultural norms we have allowed to proliferate and the politics we have emotionally aligned ourselves with. We need to start accepting responsibility for our own destiny. An African American Excellent work - a must read for every African American! This book follows in the tradition of historical black scholars such as Frederick Douglas and Booker T. Washington, and celebrates the work of Thomas Sewell. The descendants of African slaves need to wake up to the reality of the damage done by the cultural norms we have allowed to proliferate and the politics we have emotionally aligned ourselves with. We need to start accepting responsibility for our own destiny. An African American billionaire once said, and I paraphrase: the best antidote to racism is excellence. It's time we embraced the fact, proven throughout history, that education, sustained effort and a true sense of self-determination, not handouts, are the key ingredients of success.

This excerpt from the introduction says it all:

Yes, the Obama presidency is evidence that blacks have progressed politically. But if the rise of other groups is any indication, black social and economic problems are less about politics than they are about culture. The persistently high black jobless rate is more a consequence of unemployability than of discrimination in hiring. The black-white learning gap stems from a dearth of education choices for ghetto kids, not biased tests or a shortage of education funding. And although black civil rights leaders like to point to a supposedly racist criminal justice system to explain why our prisons house so many black men, it’s been obvious for decades that the real culprit is black behavior—behavior too often celebrated in black culture. ...more
5

Aug 20, 2014

Mr. Riley has done a very good job making his argument backed up with data. For many older people who have lived through 50 plus years of liberal brainwashing, it may be too late. But this book should be required reading for young blacks, who can then make up their own minds on what is in their best interest.
5

Jul 18, 2016

One of the most important books I've read. Two quotes summarize the book's thoroughly researched and argued message:

There is a much stronger case to be made that efforts to help blacks have had more pernicious and lasting effects on black attitudes and habits than either slavery or segregation...

Any candid debate on race and criminality in the United States must begin with the fact that blacks are responsible for an astoundingly disproportionate number of crimes, which has been the case for at One of the most important books I've read. Two quotes summarize the book's thoroughly researched and argued message:

“There is a much stronger case to be made that efforts to help blacks have had more pernicious and lasting effects on black attitudes and habits than either slavery or segregation...”

“Any candid debate on race and criminality in the United States must begin with the fact that blacks are responsible for an astoundingly disproportionate number of crimes, which has been the case for at least the past half a century...”

Riley tackles Obama's unhelpful presidency, black internal culture, the importance of culture itself in determining and causing social pathologies, and a few particular liberal policies that have utterly devastated blacks such as employment rates, education failures, and "affirmative discriminations." His interaction with and critiques of liberal arguments were invaluable for understanding the prevalent issues swirling about us today and giving vent in the streets.

A few more pertinent quotes from the book:

“People of goodwill want to see more black socioeconomic advancement, but time and again the empirical data show that current methods and approaches have come up short. Upward mobility depends on work and family. Social programs that undermine the work ethic and displace fathers keep poor people poor, and perverse incentives put in place by people trying to help are manifested in black attitudes, habits, and skills...”

“Black social and economic problems are less about politics than they are about culture. The persistently high black jobless rate is more a consequence of unemployability than of discrimination in hiring. The black-white learning gap stems from a dearth of education choices for ghetto kids, not biased tests or a shortage of education funding. And although black civil rights leaders like to point to a supposedly racist criminal justice system to explain why our prisons house so many black men, it’s been obvious for decades that the real culprit is black behavior—behavior too often celebrated in black culture..."

"Having a black man in the Oval Office is less important than having one in the home...”

“While multiculturalists are busy complaining about teaching methods and civil rights leaders are busy complaining about standardized tests, the Asian kids are busy studying.”

"In urban areas in 1967 blacks were seventeen times more likely than whites to be arrested for robbery. In 1980 blacks comprised about one-eighth of the population but were half of all those arrested for murder, rape, and robbery, according to FBI data. And they were between one-fourth and one-third of all those arrested for crimes such as burglary, auto theft, and aggravated assault. Today blacks are about 13 percent of the population and continue to be responsible for an inordinate amount of crime. Between 1976 and 2005 blacks committed more than half of all murders in the United States. The black arrest rate for most offenses—including robbery, aggravated assault, and property crimes—is still typically two to three times their representation in the population. Blacks as a group are also overrepresented among persons arrested for so-called white-collar crimes such as counterfeiting, fraud, and embezzlement. And blaming this decades-long, well-documented trend on racist cops, prosecutors, judges, sentencing guidelines, and drug laws doesn’t cut it as a plausible explanation.”
— In other words, just as cop shootings of blacks are higher per black population than whites, so also are black crimes of all sorts, as well as black on black murders.
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5

Feb 28, 2018

Wow 4.5+ stars easily

Rileys book takes a hard look at the causes of black underachievement. He looks at political, educational, economical, historical, and cultural factors and pulls no punches in calling out those who are part of the problem more than the solution. The writing is engrossing and conversational, flowing easily despite being full of citations. Recommended for anyone interested in anthropology, history, and public policy.

Rather than summarizing or quoting the entire book, here are Wow — 4.5+ stars easily

Riley’s book takes a hard look at the causes of black underachievement. He looks at political, educational, economical, historical, and cultural factors and pulls no punches in calling out those who are part of the problem more than the solution. The writing is engrossing and conversational, flowing easily despite being full of citations. Recommended for anyone interested in anthropology, history, and public policy.

Rather than summarizing or quoting the entire book, here are a few statements I highlighted:

The best antipoverty program is not the minimum wage. Rather, it’s a job, even if it’s an entry-level one. Most poor families don’t have ANY workers. Raising the minimum wage does nothing for them, and to the extent that it reduces their employment opportunities, it’s a net negative. Reducing the number of entry-level jobs keeps people poor by limiting their ability to enter or remain in the workforce, where they have the opportunity to obtain the skills necessary to increase their productivity and pay, and ultimately improve their lives.

Liberals do no favors for black kids who are in school to learn by sympathizing with black kids who are in school to make trouble.

Black children are more likely to attend the lowest-performing elementary schools. They leave high school with the reading and math skills of an eighth grader. And anti-intellectualism permeates black culture.

Liberalism has also succeeded, tragically, in convincing blacks to see themselves first and foremost as victims. Today there is no greater impediment to black advancement than the self-pitying mindset that permeates black culture. White liberals think they are helping blacks by romanticizing miscreants. And black liberals are all too happy to hustle guilty whites. The result, manifest in everything from black studies programs to black media to black politics, is an obsession with racial slights real or imagined. ...more
4

Jul 22, 2014

I was really impressed with this book. The empirical data that the author presents at the very least questions, and most likely, out and out refutes the policies enacted in the last 50 years meant to help blacks, but which, in reality, have hurt blacks in America.

I will give the liberals the benefit of the doubt and say that they probably were genuinely trying to help black people with programs like welfare, affirmative action, minimum wage requirements, educational quotas and the like.

But what I was really impressed with this book. The empirical data that the author presents at the very least questions, and most likely, out and out refutes the policies enacted in the last 50 years meant to help blacks, but which, in reality, have hurt blacks in America.

I will give the liberals the benefit of the doubt and say that they probably were genuinely trying to help black people with programs like welfare, affirmative action, minimum wage requirements, educational quotas and the like.

But what has occurred has been "the illusion of helping", but not actually helping, and in many cases hurting black progress.

Black leaders such as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama work not to further race relations, but instead see racism as big business, and try as hard as they can to spark racism, to point out and accuse racism in places that it does not actually exist and add fuel to the fire.

This is a topic that takes some guts to write about, takes some guts to read about, and takes some guts to talk about. I would challenge any person interested in real equality and real progress in America, to read this book with an open mind. It will force you to look at some situations in a much different light than you may have looked at them in the past. ...more
1

Feb 17, 2015

The only reason why I finished this book was so I could say I hated it from beginning to end. Shallow, unscientific (and plain stupid) propaganda.
4

Jun 23, 2014

Jason Riley, a member of the editorial board of the WSJ, does an excellent job of arguing his position that many of the well-intended policies that are meant to help African Americans actually help to hold them back and that part of the responsibility for black achievement (or lack of it) lies with their own behavior. He quotes Martin Luther King who once said, We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world too. We cant keep on Jason Riley, a member of the editorial board of the WSJ, does an excellent job of arguing his position that many of the well-intended policies that are meant to help African Americans actually help to hold them back and that part of the responsibility for black achievement (or lack of it) lies with their own behavior. He quotes Martin Luther King who once said, “We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world too. We can’t keep on blaming the white man. There are things we must do for ourselves.” Riley writes candidly about his very scary experiences as a young black man being pulled over by police for what we now call “driving while black” and at the time he believed the cops were racist. He also writes of how he worked in high school as a stock boy in a supermarket and in a gas station mini mart and says that the people he caught stealing were almost always black and as a result black shoppers got more scrutiny from him and others who worked there. When he moved to NYC after college he saw that black restaurant owners sometimes asked groups of young black diners to prepay for their meals or put them in the back of the restaurant to make sure they didn’t skip out on the bill. He writes, “And the lady who is nervous about sharing an elevator with a black man might be black herself.” He quotes former Spelman College president Johnnetta Cole who wrote “One of the most painful admissions I hear is: I am afraid of my own people.”

One of the tenants of the left is that poverty and racism are the two main reasons that African Americans have not succeeded to the same degree as others in our society and that the high black inmate population is due to a racist criminal justice system. He cites the example of other groups who endured rampant poverty and racial discrimination who did not become over represented in the criminal justice system. He writes, “During the 1960s, one neighborhood in San Francisco had the lowest income, the highest unemployment rate, the highest proportion of families with incomes under $4,000 per year, the least educational attainment, the highest tuberculosis rate, and the highest proportion of substandard housing in any area of the city. That neighborhood was called Chinatown. Yet in 1965 there were only five persons of Chinese ancestry committed to prison in the entire state of California." (source Wilson and Herrnstein).

If you are willing to look beyond the propaganda of victimization and consider the facts, you will learn a lot from “Please Stop Helping Us, How Liberals Make it Harder for Blacks to Succeed.” Excellent read.
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5

Aug 08, 2015

When I wrote Hillary Clinton's Village , my original outline included a chapter on how Big Government was destroying the American family. My research lead me to this book, and to the conclusion that I could add nothing more, nor say it better, so I nixed that chapter and included Rileys best selling book as a reference. This book is destined to become the classic treatment of the demise of the black family, just as Bowling Alone has become the classic treatment of the demise of American When I wrote Hillary Clinton's Village , my original outline included a chapter on how Big Government was destroying the American family. My research lead me to this book, and to the conclusion that I could add nothing more, nor say it better, so I nixed that chapter and included Riley’s best selling book as a reference. This book is destined to become the classic treatment of the demise of the black family, just as Bowling Alone has become the classic treatment of the demise of American civic life.

Like the books by Thomas Sowell, Riley cites a copious amount of hard to ignore facts: Between the years of 1940 and 1960, when blacks had little political clout and no Great Society assistance programs to help them, the black poverty rate fell from 87% to 47%. Between 1972 and 2011, when Great Society assistance programs were in full effect, the black poverty rate fell only 4%, from 32% to just 28%. It remained at three times the rate for whites, right where it was in 1972. As I read these and other statistics, I became enraged at the ability of Big Government advocates and practitioners to ignore the human misery created by their well-intentioned but wholly ineffective policies and programs. By the time I was finished reading Riley’s book, I was just plain heart-broken.
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5

Aug 27, 2014

A short book but a thorough case against 50 years of dubious policies toward African-Americans by our paternalistic government. Riley mixes stories from his own life with logical analysis and the results of a lot of studies. This is critical thinking, and each of those words counts double the way he writes. The book makes a devastating case against that paternalism and the effects it has helped to produce. American "liberals" will get a concise accounting of what their sympathies often support, A short book but a thorough case against 50 years of dubious policies toward African-Americans by our paternalistic government. Riley mixes stories from his own life with logical analysis and the results of a lot of studies. This is critical thinking, and each of those words counts double the way he writes. The book makes a devastating case against that paternalism and the effects it has helped to produce. American "liberals" will get a concise accounting of what their sympathies often support, and it would be a good reality check for many, in my opinion. I would guess most will avoid this, however. The book is clear, logical, and left me feeling it would be almost impossible to argue against its depiction of our failures. That includes failures within the African-American community, too, to be sure. ...more
5

Jul 03, 2017

This book was excellent. Riley examines the political left's serial altruism over the past half century and finds it wanting. He asks the probing question: "Have popular government policies and programs that are aimed at helping blacks worked as intended?" and answers compellingly throughout the rest of the book that the facts demonstrate that they have not (p. 3). I can't say any of it better than Riley does (he has caused me to want to explore this issue more fully) so I'll just offer a few This book was excellent. Riley examines the political left's serial altruism over the past half century and finds it wanting. He asks the probing question: "Have popular government policies and programs that are aimed at helping blacks worked as intended?" and answers compellingly throughout the rest of the book that the facts demonstrate that they have not (p. 3). I can't say any of it better than Riley does (he has caused me to want to explore this issue more fully) so I'll just offer a few highlights from each chapter in Riley's own words.

An important theme that Riley starts with (and this is vitally important) is that the left has long abandoned equal opportunity for equality as a result. The former is freedom, and the latter is socialism, or leftism which is not freedom and not rooted in American Law. The other important theme that Riley emphasizes at the beginning is the wisdom of Booker T. Washington who stated, "It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of these privileges" (p. 5). Riley rightly shows that, "the history of the 1960s liberal social policies is largely a history of ignoring this wisdom" (p. 5).

Here are the highlights:

Chapter 1: Black Man in the White House

"The data is going to indicate, sadly, that when the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category" (p. 10)

"Blacks have become their own worst enemy, and liberal leaders do not help matters by blaming self-inflicted wounds on whites or "society". The notion that racism is holding back blacks as a group, or that better black outcomes cannot be expected until racism has been vanquished, is a dodge. And encouraging blacks to look to politicians to solve their problems does them a disservice…one lesson of the Obama presidency--maybe the most important one for blacks--is having a black man in the Oval Office is less important than having one in the home” (p. 33).

Chapter 2 Culture Matters

This is the most important and foundational chapter of the book.

“Among blacks, nearly 5 million children, or 54 percent, live only with their mother.” Only 16 percent of black households are married couples with children, the lowest of any racial group in the United States” (p. 37)

“The reality was that if you were a bookish black kid who placed shared sensibilities above shared skin color, you probably had a lot of white friends” (p. 41)

“The achievement gap begins in high school and widens in higher grades. By the end of high school the typical black student is several years behind his white peers in reading and math. The usual explanation of this is class inequality. Blacks don’t perform on the level of whites because they come from a lower socioeconomic background and their schools have fewer resources, goes the argument. But what Ogbu found is that this problem transcends class and persists even among children of affluent, educated black professionals. And he (Ogbu) concluded that black culture, more than anything else, explained the achievement gap. The black kids readily admitted that they didn’t work as hard as whites, took easier classes, watched more TV, and read fewer books” (p. 43-44).

Ogbu also found that, “they are looking at rappers in ghettos as their role models, they are looking at entertainers. The parents work two jobs, three jobs, to give their children everything, but they are not guiding their children” (p. 45).

“President Barak Obama expressed his affinity for rappers like Jay-Z and Lil Wayne, whose lyrics often elevate misogyny, drug dealing, and gun violence” (p. 51).

“How ironic that so many blacks cling to these practices in an effort to avoid “acting white”. And how tragic that so many liberals choose to put an intellectual gloss on black cultural traits that deserve disdain. The civil rights movement, properly understood, was about equal opportunity. But a group must be culturally equipped to seize it. Blacks today on balance remain ill equipped, and the problem isn’t white people” (p. 57-58).

Chapter 3: The Enemy Within

“Liberal elites would have us deny what black ghetto residents know to be the truth. These communities aren’t dangerous because of racist cops or judges or sentencing guidelines. They’re dangerous mainly due to black criminals preying on black victims” (p. 74).

“Those who want to blame crime on lack of jobs cannot explain why crime rates fell in many cities during the Great Depression, when unemployment was high, and spiked during the 1960s, when economic growth was strong and jobs were plentiful” (p. 76).

“Lemon went on to make five simple suggestions for black self-improvement: pull up your pants, finish high school, stop using the n-word, take better care of your communities, and stop having children out of wedlock” (p. 82).

“Black boys without a father were 68 percent more likely to be incarcerated than than those with a father” (p. 83).

Chapter 4: Mandating Unemployment

No quotes.

Chapter 5: Educational Freedom

Riely spends considerable time showing how both charter schools and private schools significantly outperform the public schools, and how the left consistently does not support the efforts for educational freedom.

“Despite the fact that we now have nearly half a century of additional data that support these findings, politicians and the media continue to focus on spending more money, reducing class size, and hiring teachers with master’s degrees--all in the name of raising achievement and closing the learning gap. Why is that? Because even though such efforts don’t appear to be helping students very much, they do work to the benefit of the teacher’s unions that control public education in the United States…the greatest trick the teachers’ unions ever played was convincing enough people that their interests are perfectly aligned with those of schoolchildren” (p. 116).

Chapter 6: Affirmative Discrimination

The title of the chapter says it all. Riley shows that these policies have not helped who they intended to help.

Overall, this is a good book, and one that more folks should read!
...more
4

May 23, 2016

Short but well researched. Riley lays a seemingly irrefutable empirical basis for the notion that the underperformance of blacks in the last 50 years is not in the institutions but in themselves. He fires an arsenal of objectivity at the Left who proposes to help black through affirmative action, expansion of Civil Rights legislation but ironically has the opposite effect.

I was aware of most of these issues as it relates to fatherhood, poverty, violence and education but Riley does a top-notch Short but well researched. Riley lays a seemingly irrefutable empirical basis for the notion that the underperformance of blacks in the last 50 years is not in the institutions but in themselves. He fires an arsenal of objectivity at the Left who proposes to help black through affirmative action, expansion of Civil Rights legislation but ironically has the opposite effect.

I was aware of most of these issues as it relates to fatherhood, poverty, violence and education but Riley does a top-notch job of layering the discussion and make the themes readable. Interestingly the book shines the brightest where he tells his own story growing up in a divorced home, living in places with people who had no use for his liking books or 'acting white.' After reading Coates' book on his life, I have to say I wish Riley would write, if not a rejoinder to Coates' effort, but an elaboration on his own experiences growing up black in America.. ...more
4

Sep 03, 2014

Written by a black, conservative Wall St editor on how the liberals in our society are actually hindering progress in black America. It made a great deal of sense to me. However, I need to read the other side to perhaps get a bigger picture. And even then, I may never understand.
4

Oct 29, 2019

A case against the liberal government welfare policies that instead of uplifting blacks, serve to keep them down.

I cannot overstate how important a skill it is to pull oneself out of the messages of propaganda and rhetoric that drive societal beliefs and look at what the actual data indicate. Its akin to pulling yourself out of a mosh pit at a concert and observing from the sidelines just how insane mosh pits are.

Riley offers data to contradict strongly held, mostly liberal-leftist beliefs. A case against the liberal government welfare policies that instead of uplifting blacks, serve to keep them down.

I cannot overstate how important a skill it is to pull oneself out of the messages of propaganda and rhetoric that drive societal beliefs and look at what the actual data indicate. It’s akin to pulling yourself out of a mosh pit at a concert and observing from the sidelines just how insane mosh pits are.

Riley offers data to contradict strongly held, mostly liberal-leftist beliefs. Disclaimer: not all liberals think this way. Riley has an opinion based on his own lived experiences but it is the data that drives this book. The main theme that runs through the entire book is the concept of personal responsibility and what that truly requires from an individual. There is so much work to be done in this area alone. I never understood the concept of a free pass for any race on bad behavior because of the way whites have historically treated blacks. This practice only serves to widen the chasm between races as does the aggressive shoving of careless liberalism down the throats of people who are afraid to voice their opinions. Taking away the ability to even have a conversation is the first step in oppression and it extends to all races.

Excuses don’t serve anyone and it has nothing to do with invalidating an experience nor is it an admission of equality in every facet of life. It seems however, that many people have a very difficult time separating out personal responsibility from a long list of excuses. It is far too easy to play victim and a whole lot more comfortable. This is true for every single race because this is literally how we are wired. The question is: why do some overcome it while others can’t?

Riley has offered a unique opportunity to examine what racism entails, how it is perpetuated every single day in both big and small ways by those who are the loudest vocal detractors. When something doesn’t sit right, there is always a valid reason why.

For those who don’t know, Riley is a black conservative, a journalist, and a member of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board. The book was published during the Obama years and Obama’s presidency is discussed often. It is truly fascinating to be reminded that under a black president, poor blacks were statistically worse off than ever and that Obama’s disconnect with his own race made him seem more white than black.

Please Stop Helping Us lays out the policies such as affirmative action in education that were born out of past racial discrimination. Instead of helping the poorest blacks get a societal leg up, these governmental liberal policies hold them back even further. The data is startling in what the numbers show. In spite of this, there will still be the critics who believe that we should not look for other solutions. I simply do not understand this mindset. Riley also shares his own lived experiences and widens the lens of perspective, something that will naturally cause discomfort in those who aren’t ready to hear an opinion that is different from theirs, especially one that is put forth succinctly and backed up with research. Riley seems to be making a case for less governmental interference and the space for blacks to claim agency over their lives. He asks hard questions and refuses to make the excuses that many make for a lack of accomplishment. Overall, his message is one of hope because Riley believes that his race can achieve on their own merit under the right conditions.

Clearly by nature of the subject matter, this book will be labeled anathema to some and will be criticized and dismissed in turn. Many of us who read his book in its entirety, read a different book based on our beliefs and lived experiences. For myself, much of what Riley writes about is a validation of my own held beliefs on issues such as soft-on-crime policies that serve no one, least of all poor blacks. The Stand Your Ground refutation is a good example of how that law served poor blacks more than anyone, yet it is largely considered to be a racist policy. There are always two sides to every story but there is also far more to any story than the publicity would have us believe. Dig deeper. This applies to EVERYTHING. The text did jump around some instead of following a defined order but there is something here for everyone and being uncomfortable is all the more reason to read a book like this one.

BRB Rating: Read It. ...more
4

Mar 06, 2020

Author Riley illustrates several areas where expensive government policies with good intentions of helping the African-American community have failed. In some cases, they have had a counter effect of hurting many Americans including Black Americans. Specific areas are culture, crime, employment, education, and affirmative action. His work is easy to read and well researched and documented. Solutions, however are not all that lucid. Perhaps he intended for us readers to figure that one out. I am Author Riley illustrates several areas where expensive government policies with good intentions of helping the African-American community have failed. In some cases, they have had a counter effect of hurting many Americans including Black Americans. Specific areas are culture, crime, employment, education, and affirmative action. His work is easy to read and well researched and documented. Solutions, however are not all that lucid. Perhaps he intended for us readers to figure that one out. I am okay with that. As a numbers kind of guy, I would have liked to see more charts and graphs to show comparisons. All in all, it was a very good informative read, somethings I had suspected all along. ...more
4

Feb 06, 2019

This book sets out to expose some of the myths surrounding public policy and race, on topics such as culture, education, employment. It's clear the author took a lot of inspiration from Thomas Sowell, who also writes on these subjects. Generally, I agree with much of what the author writes, and he provides sources for his claims. There are groups who suffer worst racism who do much better. I will say that Riley is a little right-wing economically. His stuff on the minimum wage was a bit weak. This book sets out to expose some of the myths surrounding public policy and race, on topics such as culture, education, employment. It's clear the author took a lot of inspiration from Thomas Sowell, who also writes on these subjects. Generally, I agree with much of what the author writes, and he provides sources for his claims. There are groups who suffer worst racism who do much better. I will say that Riley is a little right-wing economically. His stuff on the minimum wage was a bit weak. The book goes against the general narrative, and is about a controversial topic, so there will be those who attack for those reasons. ...more
1

Mar 04, 2020

The I can succeed so can you crap really annoys me. In fact, I feel like the author has this Im less than syndrome while he struggles living in his black skin. I did learn some unintended things from this book but mainly it pissed me off. The “I can succeed so can you” crap really annoys me. In fact, I feel like the author has this “I’m less than” syndrome while he struggles living in his black skin. I did learn some unintended things from this book but mainly it pissed me off. ...more

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