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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 o 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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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 o 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.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amora

    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 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!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Blanks

    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 con 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. UPDATE: For some reason, this review has gotten some attention recently. The link to my Rare review is no longer active so I repost it here: Although often painted as a united movement, the black struggle for civil rights and equality has almost always been contentious and acrimonious among those ‘on the same side.’ For decades, this fight was primarily over tactics and rhetoric. In recent years, it’s been more about political ideology. There are differing opinions to how to make lives for black Americans better, and those to the economic right of center—probably due in part to its ties to the South and the small government rhetoric once used to support Jim Crow segregation—get the short end of it, despite their valid critiques of the status quo. The unintended consequences of social programs still create perverse incentives for the poor. Many public schools trap students in low achieving tiers that stunt their academic growth and lower their chances at becoming successful members of a global economy. Stressing the importance of self-reliance, personal responsibility, and entrepreneurship is not as sexy as “social justice” and communal outrage. The vastly outnumbered black conservatives are sometimes called “[Uncle] Toms” and “sellouts” for pointing these facts out, as if they do not care about black people. Indeed, such treatment led me to title one piece for my school newspaper, “Angry, Black, and Conservative.” I don’t self-identify as a conservative anymore, but that’s more about the (d)evolution of the Republican Party since the end of the Cold War than a great shift in my own politics, though there has been some. Indeed, when I first started learning about politics as a young adult, and to an extent, race, I probably would have enjoyed Jason L. Riley’s Please Stop Helping Us because it completely fit my worldview. But then I grew up and learned a few things. The problems with Riley’s book are far too many to list in one book review. The introduction reads like a checklist of conservative shibboleths about black people and model minorities. “[I]f the rise of other groups is any indication,” Riley writes, “black social and economic problems are less about politics than they are about culture.” This gives the game away straight off. The first half of his book is much less about how welfare and government harm or hinder black people than it is airing Riley’s resentment and hostility toward black people and his myopic view of “black culture.” Moreover, the book is rife with anecdotes and cherry-picked quotes supporting his thesis, rather than rigorous analysis or fair treatment of competing narratives about the current state of black America. Instead of making his case for a right-of-center approach to black problems, he spends page after page lamenting the lost black youth. In one instance, he tells of members of his own family falling prey to the wrong crowd, rejecting polite society and listening to Geto Boys and Ice-T. That his family members died young is nothing to laugh at, but that Riley would mention these recording artists as at all related is comically misguided. Rappers are storytellers. The most popular stories of these in particular made arguments against the destructive problems Riley complains about throughout his book, but that doesn’t get in the way of his narrative. Even if their messages were vile, the idea that the problems of black America stem from an inability to distinguish fact from fiction in music is plainly unserious.Unfortunately, Riley’s follies neither begin nor end with misunderstanding Hip Hop. Early in the book, Riley defends Booker T. Washington, once the de facto leader of black America now out of favor among liberal scholars. As Riley tells it, Washington rose to prominence after giving a speech in Atlanta on “racial conciliation.” The speech Riley mentions is indeed famous, but “conciliation” is not the word anyone would use today. Washington said to white America: In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress. This passage is fairly read as an endorsement of racial segregation. Yet, that goes unmentioned in Riley’s defense of the fallen icon of civil rights. Washington’s program was essentially to sacrifice equality by endorsing segregation, allowing blacks to become a class of menial laborers, and forgoing their political rights—which Riley oddly conflates with the ascendency of black politicians—in exchange for economic opportunity. But a century of segregation in the South proved that tradeoff to be false, with devastating consequences. Riley could have said that this was probably the best blacks could have hoped for and Washington was trying to make the best of a bad situation. This is the best argument for the accomodationists, and may even be true, though he fails to make it. At the turn of the 20th century, the South was a place under the reign of white terror—where the both the unemployed and industrious black folks were murdered with impunity. This was no secret. Indeed, the South was quite proud of the way it handled its Negroes, announcing lynchings in newspapers—sometimes advertised in advance as family events—and violently overthrowing democratically elected governments run by black people. You wouldn’t get that from reading Washington’s Up from Slavery. Washington eases the mind of his readers that the South in 1900 was a changed place that no longer tolerated the Klan. Furthermore, “the fact that [the Klan] ever existed is almost forgotten by both races.” While it is true that the Klan had been driven out of existence temporarily by the time Washington’s autobiography was published, white terrorism was hardly a thing of the past. To further say that black folks with living memory of the night riders and murders had “almost forgotten” is to be disingenuous to the point of buffoonery. Throughout Please Stop Helping Us, Riley emulates Washington’s selective memory and blithe dismissal of societal realities. In no realm does Riley do this more than in his treatment of crime and law enforcement. Notably, Riley makes the elementary mistake of assigning causation to correlation when discussing the spike in mass incarceration and the declining crime rates. He presents no specific data to back up his causation claim and selectively cites late Harvard law professor William Stuntz’s critique of the Warren Court reanimate the discarded “soft on crime” trope. Stuntz’s broader critique is that the criminal justice system is overly punitive and effectively broken. Moreover, Stuntz wrote about the devastating effects of that system on minority communities. This was missing from Riley’s book. In a striking change of tone, Riley recounts many of his own negative encounters with police. He talks about being pulled over many times for no reason and being humiliated when in a suburban neighborhood when he was going to a friend’s house to show off his new car. But one story about the police stood out: Against his uncle’s advice, Riley drove through Washington, D.C. rather than around it when going to his college internship in suburban Virginia from his uncle’s home in Maryland. This was back in the times when Washington was still the “murder capital” of the United States and aggressive policing was taking hold across the country. Riley was pulled out of the car and thrown on the ground by police at gunpoint because he “fit the description” of a robbery suspect. Riley’s takeaway from this and the other episodes was that he was young, black, male and thus, statistically speaking, more likely to be criminal than others. He learned his lesson about driving through the District. That other black kids who tend to “fit the description” didn’t live in Maryland had to face treatment like this every day seems to have escaped Riley’s attention. Riley recognizes that young black men are treated differently because of how they’re perceived. He justifies maltreatment based on race because there are so many black criminals. Cops and others who mistreat black people are “likely…acting on probability.” But most black people, even young black men, are not violent criminals. Thus the probability actually shows that disparate treatment is wildly inefficient in catching criminals, as demonstrated by New York City’s Stop and Frisk statistics, in addition to being inherently wrong. That a lot of black people are criminals does not obviate the constitutional protections that require individualized suspicion and reasonable treatment by police officers. Young black males see and feel what happens to them—being followed in the stores, stopped often in the streets, and having a gun put to their heads by the people charged with protecting them—even when they’re not doing anything wrong. Riley does not so much as entertain that such actions amount to wholesale abuse. What incentive do these young men have to play by the rules when the protection of those rules don’t apply to them? Add an often lacking public education system and segregated neighborhoods suffering high unemployment and poverty rates to this general rejection and fear by society at large, you have a perfect recipe for bad decisions and behavior. This is especially true for young men, a demographic known across races and time for making bad decisions. This does not absolve any individual of his actions. There is no contradiction in understanding certain outcomes are more likely from a system that has yet to fully correct for centuries of mistreatment and injustice and believing people are responsible for the bad decisions they make. Riley cannot reconcile individual responsibility with people who are given limited opportunities, experience disaffection with their circumstances, and sometimes face desperation will predictably make bad decisions. This, he argues, undermines individual agency and treats black people as incapable of making responsible decisions. Certainly an odd accusation from someone who blames saggy pants, foul language, and rap music for the ills of black folks. Nevertheless, Riley made some good points in his book, such as explaining the unintended consequences of majority-minority voting districts, the detrimental political alliances with unions against community interest, and the negative effects of the public school monopoly, to name a few. That more black individuals should make better decisions is not untrue. But how society treats them, particularly in their younger and most impressionable years, is more important than what music they listen to or how they wear their pants. The great potential value this book had to offer is drowned-out by Riley’s contempt for American black people, thinly veiled as assaults on a nebulous yet omnipresent “black culture.” Worse, the short shrift he gives his opponents’ arguments and the facts he conveniently omits ultimately undermine the book’s purpose. Please Stop Helping Us is a wasted opportunity to promote small government solutions to persistent policy problems. Like the liberals he chides for putting their ideology before the people they seek to help, Riley puts his own antipathy before his policy message. I blame political culture. https://web.archive.org/web/201410261...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Buddy

    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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

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

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joya Cousin

    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 bill 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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    David Kinchen

    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" argume 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...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

    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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Omari Souza

    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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bill Powers

    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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    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 l 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.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    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 a 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.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    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 b 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.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brice Karickhoff

    I think this was an über important read, if nothing else, to hear a diversity of opinions! It was a little technical, but well written, so it was easy to read through. Honestly it compares quite well to “When Helping Hurts”, except instead of the global poor, it’s black America, and instead of the church, it’s the DNC. Challenging but important content. The best thing about this book was that it was factual and straightforward. It had an obvious political leaning (more to follow), but the writin I think this was an über important read, if nothing else, to hear a diversity of opinions! It was a little technical, but well written, so it was easy to read through. Honestly it compares quite well to “When Helping Hurts”, except instead of the global poor, it’s black America, and instead of the church, it’s the DNC. Challenging but important content. The best thing about this book was that it was factual and straightforward. It had an obvious political leaning (more to follow), but the writing style was so far from politicized rants. Like 2/3 of each chapter was a lit review of research on the chapter’s topic, which I really appreciated. The author did sometimes explore statistics for himself, which was at times imperfect. His approach was, however, a clinic in the use and misuse of the difference-in-difference approach to analyzing statistics, which more people should learn about in my opinion, so that’s fun. The reason this book gets minus one star is because, as I mentioned, it had its inevitable biases. For instance, he provided a strong and objective case that an increased minimum wage negatively impacts black employment. However, he left out any commentary on the obvious reality that it also increases wages to a living wage for those who do have a job, and employment when you live in a city and make 10 dollars an hour actually isn’t that meaningful. SO, all in all, I would highly suggest this book. You probably won’t agree with all of it, and neither did I, but if we really want to care for our neighbor (on a national scale) it’s worth reading multiple perspectives about how to actually do that well. I’ll save my 5 star review of a race-related book for that ever-illusive bias-free work that has all the facts and solutions without any politicized soapboxes or confirmation bias. But because every book you read about a contentious topic is gonna be opinionated anyway, you may as well include this one.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Achord

    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 a 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.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michael Stumborg

    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 A 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.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Luisa Geisler

    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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dean

    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.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael Canoeist

    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.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jim Dowdell

    Joe Biden; you do not own the black vote. Please Stop Helping Us, published in 2014, is a must read for voters who want to vote intelligently. The DNC and mainstream media so perverted reality that a reassessment of where we were in the Obama era is needed. This book is a ticket to the truth train for anyone who still has the capacity for reason rather than hype. The rich white kids burning and looting poor neighborhoods in the name of “black justice” are only interested in burning our society dow Joe Biden; you do not own the black vote. Please Stop Helping Us, published in 2014, is a must read for voters who want to vote intelligently. The DNC and mainstream media so perverted reality that a reassessment of where we were in the Obama era is needed. This book is a ticket to the truth train for anyone who still has the capacity for reason rather than hype. The rich white kids burning and looting poor neighborhoods in the name of “black justice” are only interested in burning our society down. If we really want to fix and improve the present disparity in living standards then we must listen to the reason and logic of one who comes from there. Easy to read, especially when you do not dwell on statistics, this book should reaffirm what you already know about the benefit to Blacks the first three years of Trump has given. The contrast to six years ago is obvious. The details and suggestions given here will so thoroughly contradict the media narrative that it will convince even the most “liberal” voter to abandon the Democrats. It is just too sad that the “progressive” voter has lost his capacity for reason. He will be the poorer for thinking Jason L Riley a traitor to his race and toss logic and reason onto his book burning pyre. For those who still believe in reason over emotion I highly recommend that you read this before you vote in 2020.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mark Lickliter

    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 hi 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!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chrisanne

    Once upon a time, the NYT released a list of Anti-Racist books to read. Like a good bibliophile and researcher, I wrote them down and added them to my Goodreads list. At some point during the process, this book came up on the "people who have read this also read this" suggestion box. Being a firm believer in reading both sides of the story (the truth usually, for me, seems somewhere in the middle) I added it and toddled off to the library, enormous To-Read list of call #s in tow. All of the book Once upon a time, the NYT released a list of Anti-Racist books to read. Like a good bibliophile and researcher, I wrote them down and added them to my Goodreads list. At some point during the process, this book came up on the "people who have read this also read this" suggestion box. Being a firm believer in reading both sides of the story (the truth usually, for me, seems somewhere in the middle) I added it and toddled off to the library, enormous To-Read list of call #s in tow. All of the books I wanted were checked out.* But, in that same section, was this book (because it wasn't on the NYT list). So, after waffling a bit, picking up a few of Thomas Sowell and Stephen L. Carter books, I added it to my pile where it haunted me for the next four weeks. After reading it, I have come to the conclusion that the title is misleading. It should be "How Well-meaning People make it harder for Blacks to Succeed."** This book, as well as The Souls of Black Folk, did a great deal for me in helping me to understand the ongoing ideological conflicts between W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T Washington. In fact, that's how he started out. One of the best sections is, in fact, where he picks up where Du Bois leaves off(his history of racism in that book ends in 1903 when it was published) and gives you an in-depth look at facets throughout the 1940s that supported Jim Crow laws(in the working class and, more especially, in the North). Some of these facets are still around today and effect, most noticeably, the public education system. Gag.*** Also, his experiences of being stopped, frisked, racially-profiled are worth reading. Anyway, as far as the writing is concerned, he needs to slow down and clarify in some chapters. There were times I had to flip back several pages to see what his original point was and several times I had to reread a sentence 3 times to get the meaning of it. End Notes: I really want to read his book Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders now. Like any good coward, because this isn't going to be a popular book to read (in light of the title, current popular writers, etc.) I am hugely afraid to write this next sentence but, here goes: I highly recommend reading this book if you want to see the opposing view, if you want to see stats on some recent studies, etc. You can hate me/unfriend me now if you want... *It only took 3 hours for people to swipe them off the shelves. That's how fast this swept the nation. ** Sorry. But some of those names dropped were definitely not Liberals. And, after what Stephen Carter observed of FDR in Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster one is reminded that hypocrisy is a worldwide epidemic. :) *** I don't need sources on this one. I have friends who confirm it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eric Wright

    Jason L. Riley lays down the fact-hammer hard on social policy's which have for long been hailed as the cure-all for any problem haunting the black american. He meticulously picks apart several preconceived notions of liberal victories won in the struggle to aid the black American, and the reader gets a different point of view about everything from Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on poverty", the affect it had on the black family, to how affirmative action in fact helps all the wrong people. Riley is f Jason L. Riley lays down the fact-hammer hard on social policy's which have for long been hailed as the cure-all for any problem haunting the black american. He meticulously picks apart several preconceived notions of liberal victories won in the struggle to aid the black American, and the reader gets a different point of view about everything from Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on poverty", the affect it had on the black family, to how affirmative action in fact helps all the wrong people. Riley is fair though, and this book is not a mere smear piece vilifying liberal politics as a whole. And being as well-researched as it is, it saddens me to see how few have heard of it upon mentioning it in discussions about the African American experience, historically as well as currently. What grieves me as well, is how these books that dare touch upon these topics, and their authors in particular- frequently receive accusations about being racist, or get called an "uncle tom" in response if the authors are black themselves. Because these are acts which unintentionally proves Riley's arguments about the worst aspects of the liberals relationship with the African American. Instead of valuing the insight given from authors like Jason L. Riley, who as a black man offers his unique view on what the effect of these policies have been- even the most liberal and "race-conscious" reader tends to rise their nose high into the air, and cover their ears. You'd hope this attitude would've been limited to modern far-left black activists defiantly turning their backs on great men like Booker T. Washington, and instead favoring men like Malcom X, but sadly it's a trend that seems to be going nowhere anytime soon. Anyway, if you can find the time to read this book about what the actual effect of liberal social policy has been for blacks in America, you might find yourself being forced to reevaluate your position on everything from crime-prevention, segregation, welfare, public schools and anti-discrimination laws. Or you can just cover your ears and meander on about racism some more.

  23. 4 out of 5

    John Devlin

    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 j 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..

  24. 4 out of 5

    Razz

    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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Haug

    This is the second book I read on this topic of how policies meant to help Black people are actually hurting them. Like Affirmative Action, lack of access to vouchers for school choice, etc. This book primarily focuses on the education side. As a white person, books like this lead me to more questions: - How can society help Black people effectively? Where I do believe personal responsibility is vital to a strong society; society as a whole needs to change who we "look up to". As role models for This is the second book I read on this topic of how policies meant to help Black people are actually hurting them. Like Affirmative Action, lack of access to vouchers for school choice, etc. This book primarily focuses on the education side. As a white person, books like this lead me to more questions: - How can society help Black people effectively? Where I do believe personal responsibility is vital to a strong society; society as a whole needs to change who we "look up to". As role models for the Black community tend to be celebrities and others out-of-touch. - Therefore, how can education become or at least appear 'cool'? - Why has talking properly or dressing in 'business attire' become 'White'? This is the second book I've read this week where the Black author was accused of "acting white" by caring about education, family, and speaking properly. - Why have (mostly white) scholars touted identity policies and cultures that lead more Black people to be unprepared for most college settings? These books point to evidence that systematic racism isn't a nationwide civilian issue like the mainstream makes it appear, but rather the policies instituted in 1964 have led to left-wing policies that encourage more dependency on the government rather than helping foster independence. Just once I'd love to hear this side reported by the media. How can the evidence show that Black people were worse off in housing, education, income/poverty, and every other way while we had a Black president?

  26. 5 out of 5

    John Mcjohnnyman

    On the surface, the arguments in this book completely destroy policies favoring multiculturalism, and gives good examples of how unintended consequences of liberal policies from the last 5o years actually undermined the stated objectives. Riley also demonstrates that equality of opportunity and self-reliance is the only appropriate method of social engineering that has the potential to permanently lift people up, regardless of their circumstances. Where the book fell out of favor for me was its On the surface, the arguments in this book completely destroy policies favoring multiculturalism, and gives good examples of how unintended consequences of liberal policies from the last 5o years actually undermined the stated objectives. Riley also demonstrates that equality of opportunity and self-reliance is the only appropriate method of social engineering that has the potential to permanently lift people up, regardless of their circumstances. Where the book fell out of favor for me was its poor journalistic integrity. Repeatedly, Riley will make a case for or against a position by citing a somewhat legitimate source, only to immediately follow it with a much broader, uncited but reinforcing claim, giving the reader the impression that the case being made is much stronger than the evidence suggests. It was also unnecessary because in many instances the evidence did appear to be in his favor. However, for this reason and the reasons below, it's perfectly appropriate to refer to it as propaganda. I found the work of investigating his sources to be exhausting for two reasons: 1) Selective Evidence: due to the toxic environment surrounding the topics, the potential for bias is high and that becomes more problematic the deeper you dig into his claims, or publications that counter them. The fact is there are seemingly legitimate studies that favor both sides of many of the debates within the book. 2) Empty References: often his citations for broad claims will reference pages of books that upon finding that book, and navigating to said page, has no reference at all. Nevertheless, there are a lot of important takeaways that did appear legitimate that are worth knowing. I'll include a few that surprised me due to how contrary they are to the typical views we see represented in the media. 1) A large majority of blacks support voter ID laws. At the time of publication it was 65%. A more recent Gallup said 77%. These numbers are roughly the same across all racial groups. 2) In 1960, 25% of blacks lived without their fathers and it was considered a crisis. In 2011 it was 64%. Upon researching this, I found a poll showing 72% of the US population believe fatherlessness is the most significant social problem. 3) A Seattle schools study found that Black-American students whose primary language is English perform significantly worse in math and reading than black students who speak another language at home — typically immigrants or refugees. 4) Most minimum wage increase proposals do not properly target the poor, because most minimum wage earners do not live in poor households (i.e. they are typically young people living with their parents). "Most poor families don't have any workers" ~is Riley's comment on that. 5) An overwhelming majority of all races believe that race should not be a factor colleges use for admissions (it's rated equally with gender in terms of importance). Navigating truth in these topics is difficult due all the agendas at play, and despite making a lot of great points, and revealing some fascinating facts about American culture and policies, Riley did not put in the time necessary to meet the high journalistic standards expected in a book such as this.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Koloze

    Jason Riley challenges the political correctivity of a stifling Democratic and liberal control over African Americans in his new book, Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed (New York: Encounter Books, 2014). Joining the ranks of the esteemed Bill Cosby and other like-minded African Americans, Riley will be attacked for printing what every reasonable person has known for years but has been too afraid to confirm for fear of being labeled racist by the powers tha Jason Riley challenges the political correctivity of a stifling Democratic and liberal control over African Americans in his new book, Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed (New York: Encounter Books, 2014). Joining the ranks of the esteemed Bill Cosby and other like-minded African Americans, Riley will be attacked for printing what every reasonable person has known for years but has been too afraid to confirm for fear of being labeled racist by the powers that be. Riley’s monograph is a trenchant critique of liberal programs and perspectives which prevent African Americans from achieving social progress. What are some of the politically incorrect truths that Riley discusses? 1. President Johnson’s basis for affirmative action (“equality as a fact and equality as a result” 2) has kept African Americans enslaved in government programs and has defeated individual initiative. 2. Voter suppression is a lie (12-14). 3. African Americans discriminate against whites. Riley was often asked why he “hung around with ‘white boys’” (40). 4. There is nothing wrong with a Eurocentric pedagogy (48). 5. Blacks are in jails because they commit the crimes (68ff); “the black inmate population reflects black criminality” (75). 6. Riley affirms Lemon’s “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” (82). 7. Unions contribute to black unemployment (96ff). 8. The dismal fate of uneducated blacks is the fault of public school teacher unions, which care more for union dues extracted from teachers instead of the children’s education (116). 9. Voucher programs educate schoolchildren better (129). 10. HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) are not helpful for blacks (135ff). 11. Affirmative action means quotas (148). 12. As Justice Thomas says, people are more race conscious today than ever before (173). Many more ideas can be extracted from Riley’s eminently readable and thought-provoking book. More importantly, the work should become the basis for twenty-first century social change to prevent further destruction of the African-American community.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Martin-Shores

    I won Jason L. Riley's book, Please Stop Helping Us, through a Goodreads giveaway. As a born again Conservative, I thought I knew almost everything about the Conservative/Liberal movement. I was wrong. Mr. Riley's book was an eye opener for me. It was easy to read and easy to understand. He backed his statements up with data and statistics. Why are blacks not moving ahead in today's society? Many blacks blame the white man, poor schools, lack of money, and the list goes on. It's not just one fac I won Jason L. Riley's book, Please Stop Helping Us, through a Goodreads giveaway. As a born again Conservative, I thought I knew almost everything about the Conservative/Liberal movement. I was wrong. Mr. Riley's book was an eye opener for me. It was easy to read and easy to understand. He backed his statements up with data and statistics. Why are blacks not moving ahead in today's society? Many blacks blame the white man, poor schools, lack of money, and the list goes on. It's not just one facet responsible but several things that contribute. Starting with the very young and the schools they attend, all the way to adulthood, Mr. Riley shows how and why the blacks of today have a problem. Society plays a big part. If black children talk correctly, do their homework, excel in school, they are accused of acting white. The liberal movement plays a big part in this. They want blacks to be dependent, to rely on government, and this keeps the cycle going. Many liberal leaders are self serving and have absolutely no desire to help minorities. As long as they get what they want they feel they're doing something right. President Obama was supposed to be the savior of the black community. With his liberal agenda, he has done nothing to advance the black population. He may have made it even worse. His bond with the teachers' unions did not help the young, black children in their quest for knowledge. His ties with the entertainment industry has shown young blacks that it's okay to idolize rappers and their messages of hate. He is a self serving liberal who did nothing for those he made promises to. Mr. Riley has shown the only way for blacks to get ahead is to take personal responsibility and to quit the blame game. This is a book everyone needs to read. Blacks need to read it to understand what exactly is happening to them, and whites need to read it to understand why the blacks seem so angry and frustrated. Today our racial divide is larger than ever, and until it's fully understood by everyone, there will be no solution.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Norbert

    The book is a compilation of how government interference in the lives of black Americans trying to uplift their status resulted in holding them back. Covers economics, education and employment. Most of the social engineered programs helped those who didn't need the help and did very little to uplift blacks. An example would be that the minimum wage did little for blacks as it caused them to lose jobs, but did more for whites who already lived in households making more than $50,000.00 in income. The book is a compilation of how government interference in the lives of black Americans trying to uplift their status resulted in holding them back. Covers economics, education and employment. Most of the social engineered programs helped those who didn't need the help and did very little to uplift blacks. An example would be that the minimum wage did little for blacks as it caused them to lose jobs, but did more for whites who already lived in households making more than $50,000.00 in income. Another is, even when the Obama administration said that Head Start (education) did very little and that by 2nd grade it made no difference, Obama now still wants to do "more." More of the same that didn't help. Since the '60s liberals believe they are helping and won't admit that their thinking is convoluted. Black leaders merely want blacks to continue to believe that they are victims. That way they can keep their lofty position by crying racism. The knowledgeable blacks are called Uncle Tom, etc. The majority of blacks believe the wrong, lying messiahs. As long as they do they will not progress. Where have they gone for the past 54 years? The majority still live in ghettos, have high unemployment rates and go to substandard schools. I suggest that they start following the suggestions of blacks like Bill Cosby, start thinking like Clarence Thomas and allow the true black Conservative to change their minds.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Leonardo Etcheto

    This book has a ton of ideas and clocks under 200 pages. He deserves a medal just for that. But that is not all, Mr. Riley also tied together for me a lot of threads that were loose in my mind, I agree with his main thesis 100%. By helping you are actually hurting, and what is worse the evidence is clear and the civil rights establishment now just choose to ignore it because of their own interests. You can and should give equal opportunity, but you can’t give equal outcome. People have to earn i This book has a ton of ideas and clocks under 200 pages. He deserves a medal just for that. But that is not all, Mr. Riley also tied together for me a lot of threads that were loose in my mind, I agree with his main thesis 100%. By helping you are actually hurting, and what is worse the evidence is clear and the civil rights establishment now just choose to ignore it because of their own interests. You can and should give equal opportunity, but you can’t give equal outcome. People have to earn it. His main indictment is of the entire educational establishment and how affirmative action and the teachers unions have consistently made matters worse. African-Americans are going backwards educationally. Brilliantly shows how the teachers unions blame the victims – they always say the reason they can’t teach the students is because of the students they have. Proven wrong time and again when the same students go to private school and actually achieve. The second main indictment is that modern black culture is anti-intellectual, anti- achievement and then you reap what you sow. Acting white the great sin, so rejecting middle class values is their great rebellion. Does not end well. Interesting how he shows the change in value system and how it mirrors “cracker” culture from the south from two generations ago – violent, know nothing, selfish. Oh the irony, it would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. My main takeaway – school vouchers for all – freedom to choose.

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