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Black civil rights leaders have long supported ethnic identity politics and prioritized the integration of political institutions, and seldom has that strategy been questioned. In False Black Power?, Jason L. Riley takes an honest, factual look at why increased black political power has not paid off in the ways that civil rights leadership has promised. Recent d Black civil rights leaders have long supported ethnic identity politics and prioritized the integration of political institutions, and seldom has that strategy been questioned. In False Black Power?, Jason L. Riley takes an honest, factual look at why increased black political power has not paid off in the ways that civil rights leadership has promised. Recent decades have witnessed a proliferation of black elected officials, culminating in the historic presidency of Barack Obama. However, racial gaps in employment, income, homeownership, academic achievement, and other measures not only continue but in some cases have even widened. While other racial and ethnic groups in America have made economic advancement a priority, the focus on political capi­tal for blacks has been a disadvantage, blocking them from the fiscal capital that helped power upward mobility among other groups. Riley explains why the political strategy of civil rights lead­ers has left so many blacks behind. The key to black eco­nomic advancement today is overcoming cultural handicaps, not attaining more political power. The book closes with thoughtful responses from key thought leaders Glenn Loury and John McWhorter. 


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Black civil rights leaders have long supported ethnic identity politics and prioritized the integration of political institutions, and seldom has that strategy been questioned. In False Black Power?, Jason L. Riley takes an honest, factual look at why increased black political power has not paid off in the ways that civil rights leadership has promised. Recent d Black civil rights leaders have long supported ethnic identity politics and prioritized the integration of political institutions, and seldom has that strategy been questioned. In False Black Power?, Jason L. Riley takes an honest, factual look at why increased black political power has not paid off in the ways that civil rights leadership has promised. Recent decades have witnessed a proliferation of black elected officials, culminating in the historic presidency of Barack Obama. However, racial gaps in employment, income, homeownership, academic achievement, and other measures not only continue but in some cases have even widened. While other racial and ethnic groups in America have made economic advancement a priority, the focus on political capi­tal for blacks has been a disadvantage, blocking them from the fiscal capital that helped power upward mobility among other groups. Riley explains why the political strategy of civil rights lead­ers has left so many blacks behind. The key to black eco­nomic advancement today is overcoming cultural handicaps, not attaining more political power. The book closes with thoughtful responses from key thought leaders Glenn Loury and John McWhorter. 

30 review for False Black Power? (New Threats to Freedom Series)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amora

    Concise and persuasive. If you enjoyed Jason Riley’s previous book you will enjoy this one as well. Riley presents the reader with fact after fact showing that more social programs intended to help vulnerable blacks don’t improve their status and can actually have devastating consequences. There is even a section of responses to Riley’s arguments included in this book as well as Riley’s rebuttal to the responses. Very good and I hope Riley writes another book sometime in the future.

  2. 5 out of 5

    L.A. Starks

    This is more an extended treatise than a nonfiction book but worth the read for those interested in socioeconomic topics. Riley kindly includes some reactions from fellow thinkers at the end. His premise is that various ethnic groups in the US have achieved power in different ways, and that achieving political power as African Americans have done in the last fifty years does not automatically lead to achieving economic power--that economic power has different roots. Riley is extremely cognizant This is more an extended treatise than a nonfiction book but worth the read for those interested in socioeconomic topics. Riley kindly includes some reactions from fellow thinkers at the end. His premise is that various ethnic groups in the US have achieved power in different ways, and that achieving political power as African Americans have done in the last fifty years does not automatically lead to achieving economic power--that economic power has different roots. Riley is extremely cognizant of the unique hardships African-Americans have faced. However, he also shows the unheralded extent to which African-Americans built up their social, intellectual, economic and human capital after the Civil War through the early 1960s, with statistics otherwise seldom seen.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bill Powers

    If you’re looking for a frank, honest assessment on race (black American) relations today in the US, that is unfiltered through the haze of PC/liberal politics and media, then I highly recommend “False Black Power?” by Jason Riley. Mr. Riley explains how the actions of civil rights leaders and liberal politicians has not only not helped black economic advancement, but has hindered our progress. It would be refreshing to think that such a book would stimulate an open dialog on how to really impro If you’re looking for a frank, honest assessment on race (black American) relations today in the US, that is unfiltered through the haze of PC/liberal politics and media, then I highly recommend “False Black Power?” by Jason Riley. Mr. Riley explains how the actions of civil rights leaders and liberal politicians has not only not helped black economic advancement, but has hindered our progress. It would be refreshing to think that such a book would stimulate an open dialog on how to really improve race relations and black economic advancement, but I hold little hope of that happening. Unfortunately, the powers that be are far too invested in the status quo.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Styron Powers

    Mr. Jason Riley believes the focus on white racism and government solutions, have not closed the economic gaps in the US, for African Americans. In fact, he implies, these two elements do more harm. From 1850 to the 1920’s, two parent households ranged from 82-92%. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, argued in 1965, growing up without a black male breadwinner, increased the probability of poverty and makes it harder for black youth to take advantage of the legal and institutional changes u Mr. Jason Riley believes the focus on white racism and government solutions, have not closed the economic gaps in the US, for African Americans. In fact, he implies, these two elements do more harm. From 1850 to the 1920’s, two parent households ranged from 82-92%. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, argued in 1965, growing up without a black male breadwinner, increased the probability of poverty and makes it harder for black youth to take advantage of the legal and institutional changes ushered in by President Johnson’s administration. He was called a racist. In 2004, Barack Obama appeared to agree with Senator Moynihan, and stated:...”government alone-can’t teach kids to learn...Parents have to teach that...turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white”. The stats at the end of the 1st Black President’s term are frightening: Black illegitimacy remains at 70% Blacks did worse on the SAT in 2000 than in 1990 While blacks are 13% of the population, we represent 55% of all federal prisoners. In summary Mr Riley believes we need one simple solution, that does not require Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, or the Black Congressional Caucus. We need what I was blessed to have-two strong and loving parents.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    Jason Riley is a black, conservative American journalist, serves on the Wall Street Journal's board, is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute (a non-profit, conservative think-tank), and appears now and then on FOX News. I do not generally read much by such conservative authors, but read a few such books just so I can understand where the right stands on issues I am interested in. Suffice it to say, there are two main approaches to explaining why blacks still lag far behind whites economically, pol Jason Riley is a black, conservative American journalist, serves on the Wall Street Journal's board, is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute (a non-profit, conservative think-tank), and appears now and then on FOX News. I do not generally read much by such conservative authors, but read a few such books just so I can understand where the right stands on issues I am interested in. Suffice it to say, there are two main approaches to explaining why blacks still lag far behind whites economically, politically and educationally. Progressives by and large emphasize racism, especially structural racism, as the primary cause, identifying it in such things the war on drugs and its disproportionate effect on blacks due to inequities in the justice system; ghettos, caused by the past practice of redlining; poorer funding for schools in predominantly black communities, leading to reduced higher educational opportunities for blacks; continuing racist hiring practices; etc. Conservatives, on the other hand, typically blame black culture for the continued lack of success for blacks, citing things such as absent fathers, leading to single parent families led by women; lack of drive to succeed in school or in the workplace (they don't usually say blacks are lazy, but that seems to be the implication); higher crime rates in black communities; etc. In other words, the main reason blacks still have not reached their potential is because they are not taking responsibility for their own cultural deficiencies. It is this side of the equation that Riley supports. His main thesis is that liberal black leaders have long seen greater political participation as the path to success. Greater political representation, along with a variety of social programs, such as the War on Poverty and other welfare programs, affirmative action, and pushes to reform the justice system so that blacks are treated equitably. He cites the failure of all these approaches, the culmination being the Obama presidency. Like many conservatives, Riley blames Obama for doing almost nothing to better black communities, and that he may have actually made race relations worse by frequently supporting liberal approaches to dealing with racism. Although Riley certainly does make some points that probably need to be made, such as the breakdown of black family systems and the higher crime rates in black communities, he seems to want to blame blacks themselves for all these problems. While I agree that blacks should do all they can themselves to solve whatever cultural problems they may have, I do not feel it is my place as a white person to criticize black culture. I also think it is a gross oversimplification on Riley's part to blame the bulk of the black community's problems on their own self-inflicted cultural failings. Whatever cultural deficiencies black communities display today are inextricably tied with structural racism. So, yes, they need to work on their own cultural failings, but as a white person, I need to do my part to dismantle structural racism. Black communities will have much greater success dealing with their problems when structural racism has been dismantled as much as possible. What bothers me most often in the book is that Riley not only overemphasizes black cultural failings, he almost mockingly dismisses a number of well established aspects of cultural racism, and in most cases he doesn't even present any convincing data, but rather just opinion. Here are a few examples: '“It’s not up to me to decide what activists should protest, but after years of dealing with the realities of street violence, I don’t understand how a movement called ‘Black Lives Matter’ can ignore the leading cause of death among young black men in the U.S., which is homicide by their peers,” wrote a retired New York City police detective in 2015.' It is interesting to know that a NYC police detective believes this to be true, but it actually isn't true. The leading cause of death in young black men is accident, followed by suicide. Homicide by other than police is third. Being shot by police is 6th. Source: https://news.umich.edu/police-sixth-l... "The family breakdown, social pathology, and economic blight seen today in places like Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Washington, and other cities with large black populations is commonly blamed on slavery and Jim Crow. But the available evidence belies that narrative and suggests that well-intentioned but misguided social policies of the 1960s better explain the circumstances of today’s black underclass." He is saying that affirmative action and the War on Poverty are to blame? He completely ignores the effect of the war on drugs, which incarcerated so many young black men, and once they were released, as ex-cons, they had almost no job prospects. Who will hire a black ex-con? So, in order to survive they often went back to a life of crime, leaving their families as a result, so at least, as single mothers, they might be eligible for welfare. "What often go unmentioned are the numerous empirical studies demonstrating that black arrests and incarceration rates reflect black behavior, not systemic bias." First of all, he gives no data to support this contention, and this is not the only place where he says this. Secondly, just because blacks are arrested more often does not automatically mean they are committing more crimes. If blacks are policed more heavily, a greater number of blacks who are committing crimes will certainly be arrested, and if whites are being policed less, fewer of the whites committing crimes will be arrested. Lastly, even if blacks were committing more crimes, that is no reason to excuse the justice system for systematically sentencing blacks to longer sentences for the very same crimes for which whites get shorter sentences. Blacks are also more likely to be found guilty in court. How can these kinds of inequities be tolerated? Riley seems to pretend that these things are not happening, in spite of overwhelming evidence they are. Riley is certainly not one of the voices MOST strongly dismissive of liberal arguments for racism being a primary cause for the systemic problems suffered by blacks, but he is more dismissive than he should be. If conservatives are even partially right, that black culture itself is significantly to blame for black troubles, they need to recognize that the other large cause is systemic racism. Ultimately, many of Riley's claims that the liberal model is wrong are poorly documented, often with no data at all, and always more dependent on ideology and opinion.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Randall van den Berg

    A good short read. Really made me want to re-watch Barbershop again. Although I tend to agree with the general thesis of the book, namely that modern day black-white inequality is too often cast as simply a result of systemic oppression, there isn't too much argumentation in these pages that a Thomas Sowell or a Shelby Steele hasn't made before. That being said, some of the more contemporary studies, for example the study on police violence published by Roland Fryer, are important additions to th A good short read. Really made me want to re-watch Barbershop again. Although I tend to agree with the general thesis of the book, namely that modern day black-white inequality is too often cast as simply a result of systemic oppression, there isn't too much argumentation in these pages that a Thomas Sowell or a Shelby Steele hasn't made before. That being said, some of the more contemporary studies, for example the study on police violence published by Roland Fryer, are important additions to the book. John McWhorter in my opinion rightly questions the writer's observation on the legacy of Obama's presidency with regards to race relations, and I wonder what Riley's response would be today since he never addressed it in his response.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Vincent Lombardo

    Brief, succinct, effective, magnificent! Culture matters!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rafael Suleiman

    A good examination of the Black Power movement from a conservative perspective.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    Very neat concept of including two (semi) critical opinions + the author's reply to them at the end. Very neat concept of including two (semi) critical opinions + the author's reply to them at the end.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Malik

    I was very optimistic starting this book as I wanted a fresh look at the issue blacks face in America. The conservative Fox News pundit did not deliver in any regard nuanced takes, but instead carelessly repeated centrist and conservative takes with little thought of his own it seems. I won't go into deep detail about all of the different gripes that I have with Riley's call for Blacks to.. uhh.. well he didn't really offer much of any solutions for Black people besides curbing "black antisocial I was very optimistic starting this book as I wanted a fresh look at the issue blacks face in America. The conservative Fox News pundit did not deliver in any regard nuanced takes, but instead carelessly repeated centrist and conservative takes with little thought of his own it seems. I won't go into deep detail about all of the different gripes that I have with Riley's call for Blacks to.. uhh.. well he didn't really offer much of any solutions for Black people besides curbing "black antisocial behaviors and attitudes." Lastly his frequently used dated references to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton show just how out of touch Riley is with todays trends and cultures it is almost embarrassing to use the two as beneficiaries of media coverage during racial outrage and scapegoats when blacks aren't doing well. Riley had a chance to offer sleek criticisms of the neo-black power movement but instead used his pages to criticize Obama for his lack of action and pandering to Blacks, Mr. Jackson and Sharpton, Black people themselves for "antisocial and attitude" issues along with putting the blame on us for seeking political capital instead of human capital.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Leib Mitchell

    5.0 out of 5 stars Politics is not the solution to every intergroup disparity, nor can every racial disparity be politicized. Reviewed in the United States on July 14, 2018 Verified Purchase There is not much that is new here, but in cases like this old arguments need updating with new data. Also, if you have something to say then it is not enough to say it only one time. It needs to be repeated multiple times in order to get some chance of getting through to other people. The first thing that I can 5.0 out of 5 stars Politics is not the solution to every intergroup disparity, nor can every racial disparity be politicized. Reviewed in the United States on July 14, 2018 Verified Purchase There is not much that is new here, but in cases like this old arguments need updating with new data. Also, if you have something to say then it is not enough to say it only one time. It needs to be repeated multiple times in order to get some chance of getting through to other people. The first thing that I can say is that this author owes a great deal of intellectual debt to Thomas Sowell (and he says as much). If you want to get the real story on this at greater length, then I recommend any number of Sowell's books. 1. Intellectuals and Race 2. Race And Culture: A World View (This is part of a trilogy.) 3. Affirmative Action Around the World: An Empirical Study (Yale Nota Bene S) There is also the primary author's own good book. Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed Or, one can go back to the very first of all these self help books written. Up From Slavery Who could this book be for? (It is not really for the present reviewer, because the author is preaching to the choir.) 1. It is for people that might want an introduction to black authors that have an "alternative" viewpoint. In addition to the ones that I have mentioned, there was also introduced Orlando Patterson and WJ Wilson. 2. It is for people who want easy examples of actual data on how the situation for black people actually worsened under the first black president. 3. It is for people who need an antidote to the articulate (but wrong) Professional Victimologists (TaNehisi Coates, et. al.) I do have one major quibble with Riley: (p. 37). He says that black people have been putting emphasis on political power since the 1960s. I think that he's off by a hundred years or so. WEB DuBois wrote about this notion that all problems could be solved by solving the underlying political logic of current circumstances. F. Douglass was the orator and professional talker that never got anything done. Marcus Garvey was the fundraiser/ leader who ran a shipping business that hired every single person to work EXCEPT people that were in the shipping industry. (But the business did have lots of symbolic calls to ports.) This discussion has been going on since the Reconstruction. In many ways, this reminds me of something that I read years ago. When Men of Words see something some way, they have a lot of power to create a fictional reality. Why are black people such a favorite toy of intellectuals? 1. Western Intellectuals have a terrible ax to grind against Western Civilization. And black people are a great tool with which to do this--both in terms of having Talking Points AND finding ways to make people accept something that is unpalatable. 2. (Ann Coulter): "Whenever the left talks about 'racism,' it has nothing to do with what's good or bad for black people. It's just another event in the Fabulous White People competition, where black people are the chips. This is what makes them feel superior to other people, especially other white people. It's not about racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.; it's just a self-actualization movement for people with emotional issues." Of the book itself: 1. It reads more like a broadside than a book. It has just a little too much to be a single chapter in an anthology, but not quite enough to be a book. 2. The whole thing can be read in a couple of hours. Much is said in few words. Verdict: Recommended at the price of about $5.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    I love this conservative writer. Fascinating (and concise) discussion of why increased black political power has not paid off in the ways that civil rights leadership has promised. For example, black unemployment under Obama remained in the double digits for years, black poverty became worse under Obama, and racial gaps in homeownership and income also increased under Obama. This is the 2nd book I've read by Jason Riley (no relation, though I do have a brother-in-law also named Jason Riley), and I love this conservative writer. Fascinating (and concise) discussion of why increased black political power has not paid off in the ways that civil rights leadership has promised. For example, black unemployment under Obama remained in the double digits for years, black poverty became worse under Obama, and racial gaps in homeownership and income also increased under Obama. This is the 2nd book I've read by Jason Riley (no relation, though I do have a brother-in-law also named Jason Riley), and I highly recommend both (both books, but both Jasons too!). Quotes: In 1965, “Moynihan’s warnings about the effects of family structure on black socioeconomic outcomes were dismissed by his detractors as victim-blaming bigotry, but rising rates of violent crime, welfare use, and other social problems among poor blacks in subsequent decades would ultimately vindicate the future New York senator.” “The current focus on white racism and political solutions to racial gaps continues to miss the mark… In the postslavery era, the differences in black progress before and after the Great Society interventions are glaring When intact families were commonplace, the rise in black education, incomes, and occupations was significant and steady. As black family disorganization intensified and wealth-transfer programs grew in size and scope, that progress slowed in some cases and stalled in others. Liberals have attempted to compensate for black cultural retrogression since the 1960s with increased black political power. In 2008, America elected her first black president, and eight years later, one undeniable lesson was that political clout is no substitute for self-development.” -pp. 6-7 “To stay relevant, Jackson, Sharpton, the NAACP, and the civil rights establishment prefer to present black Americans as an aggrieved group whose problems stem mainly from the actions of others.” -p. 16 “I don’t understand how a movement called ‘Black Lives Matter’ can ignore the leading cause of death among young black men in the U.S., which is homicide by their peers.” -p. 18 “Foes of ‘mass incarceration’ of black men seem much more concerned with the plight of criminals than with the plight of the most likely crime victims… Hillary Clinton railed against ‘excessive’ incarceration, but if you live in a community with excessive crime and violence, you might see things differently...The people she is so reluctant to lock up and so eager to cut slack aren’t terrorizing her neighborhood.” -p. 20 “The major barrier to black progress today is not racial discrimination and hasn’t been for decades. The challenge for blacks is to better position themselves to take advantage of existing opportunities, and that involves addressing the antisocial, self-defeating behaviors and habits and attitudes endemic to the black underclass.” -p. 23 “Census data shows black marriage rates exceeding white rates in the first half of the twentieth century… The family breakdown, social pathology, and economic blight seen today… is commonly blamed on slavery and Jim Crow. But the available evidence belies that narrative and suggests that well-intentioned but misguided social policies of the 1960s better explain the circumstances of today’s black underclass.” -pp. 26-7 “Shielding blacks from any responsibility for their situation today may seem kind in light of the atrocities that blacks have endured in the United States over the centuries, but the relevant question is whether it’s helpful. More than anything else, the black underclass needs the human capital-- values, habits, attitudes, behaviors-- that has facilitated the economic advancement of other racial and ethnic groups and that indeed was facilitating unprecedented black advancement prior to the Great Society.” -p. 29 “Liberalism in the twenty-first century, is for the most part, a moral manipulation that exaggerates inequity and unfairness in American life in order to justify overreaching public policies and programs… Modern liberalism is grounded in a paradox: it tries to be progressive and forward looking by fixing its gaze backward. It insists that America’s shameful past is the best explanation of its current social problems.” -Shelby Steele, pp. 32-3 “The sharp rise in violent crime in our inner cities coincides with the increase of black leaders in many of those very same cities, which makes it hard to argue that racist or indifferent authorities are to blame.” -p. 39 “Black Americans in the first half of the twentieth century-- during the darkest decades of Jim Crow, when racial discrimination was widespread, legal and often ruthlessly enforced-- nevertheless managed to climb out of poverty and gain access to white-collar professions at unprecedented rates tat have never since been repeated, even after the passage of landmark civil rights legislation in the 1960s and implementation of affirmative action programs in the 1970s. One of the clear lessons from history is that human capital has proven to be far more important than political capital in getting ahead.” -p. 43 “Omitting black crime rates from discussions about black incarceration rates, as Obama and his supporters often did, is misleading but common… What often go unmentioned are the numerous empirical studies demonstrating that black arrests and incarceration rates reflect black behavior, not systemic bias… facts overwhelmingly show that blacks go to prison more often because blacks commit more crimes.” -pp. 62-3 “Obama’s presidency suggests that attempts to advance blacks through heightened group identity and us-against-them posturing can be just as ineffective as the black political power route has been… In an increasingly pluralistic country, does it make sense to push a politics based on group consciousness and racial spoils?” -p. 68 In 2008, Shelby Steele asked, “Will the Obama victory dispel the twin stigmas that have tormented black and white Americans for so long-- that blacks are inherently inferior and whites inherently racist? Doesn’t a black in the Oval Office put the lie to both black inferiority and white racism? Doesn’t it imply a ‘post-racial’ America?” But disparities (illegitimacy rate of 70%, lower SAT scores, 55% of federal prisoners were black) continued under Obama, “refueling our racial politics”. -pp. 68-9 “Successful groups in America- as measured by income, academic accomplishment, and professional attainment- have developed certain attitudes, habits, and behaviors… But the cultural developments tended to precede the eventual prosperity. Today’s black leaders are preoccupied with developing excuses, and those excuses often center on white villainy in one form or another.” -p. 72 “For in many areas of our public life- including schools, the workplace, and the criminal justice system- the policies most likely to be effective in closing the gaps should be focused on enhancing the development of the human potential of black people and not on preventing us from being the victims of antiblack bias… To tell or people that all their woes stem from a failure of whites to treat us equally, all the while avoiding taking up the challenge of making ourselves more effective, productive, and virtuous members of society, is to take the easy path and to offer a false sense of power.”-Glenn Loury, pp. 97-8 “All of this exposes just how superficial the thinking is of those controlling the cultural megaphones of American liberalism. They can offer nothing but excuses, finger pointing, and hysteria in response to what is one of the great catastrophes of our time- namely, the failure of post-1960s progressive politics to effectively incorporate the urban black masses into the American commonwealth… The self-appointed guardians of the interests of black Americans have no program, except to decry ‘white supremacy’. They offer no real solutions. They seem to have learned nothing from their failures.” -Glenn Loury, pp. 101, 103

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    A conservative view of the racial climate, written in 2017. Poignant in the surge of the "Black Lives Matter" movement during the pandemic. My thoughts upon finishing this book are hopes for hearing more stories of the blacks who achieved and overcame the barriers of the past and present, despite the overbearing obstacles they face, in moving America closer to its dream of universal independence and freedom. These stories are invaluable for anyone seeking liberty in America. These stories show th A conservative view of the racial climate, written in 2017. Poignant in the surge of the "Black Lives Matter" movement during the pandemic. My thoughts upon finishing this book are hopes for hearing more stories of the blacks who achieved and overcame the barriers of the past and present, despite the overbearing obstacles they face, in moving America closer to its dream of universal independence and freedom. These stories are invaluable for anyone seeking liberty in America. These stories show that anyone who wants freedom and liberty, will consistently face opposition from many forces every day, and that the battle can be fought and won. We need more of these stories! My thoughts continued: overcoming barriers to freedom is an ongoing battle. It requires individuals to stand up to any idea, policy, or person who wants to make decisions for you OR relieve you of the consequences of your own choices. Liberty is the ability to make a choice AND own the consequence. If either parts of liberty are blocked or hindered--the person, policy, or idea that is blocking them is not your friend or advocate, but a power seeking entity that will lead you into a new kind of bondage. Beware of NOT owning choices AND their consequences. In addition, Liberty cannot be found without her sister, Duty. The idea that liberty and freedom are about doing whatever we want is a fallacy; they are only used to choose which obligations we will bear. If we don't have any duties, obligations, or responsibilities we are not free, we are feckless. Both liberals and conservatives have underlying principles that will keep freedom in America--as citizens we must address both principles: uprooting corruption and taking personal responsibility. This succinct compilation of Jason L. Riley's essay and the responses to it by John McWhorter, and Glenn C Loury led to those thoughts.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    This is the second book I’ve read by the Author Jason Riley. This book is similar to the other Please Stop Helping Us where he does an excellent job explaining Black issues today and in past history. This comparison of trends before and after the 1960’s civil rights movements contrast steps taken with Black individuals. Today Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton along with new comers Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michael Eric Dyson make claims of racial inequalities/ need for reparations. While Booker T. Washingto This is the second book I’ve read by the Author Jason Riley. This book is similar to the other Please Stop Helping Us where he does an excellent job explaining Black issues today and in past history. This comparison of trends before and after the 1960’s civil rights movements contrast steps taken with Black individuals. Today Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton along with new comers Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michael Eric Dyson make claims of racial inequalities/ need for reparations. While Booker T. Washington made typical Republican like motivations of self effort/help specifically by writing a book in 1907 called The Negro in Business. (I plan to read). Statistics are provided where Blacks used to have higher rates than whites in out right home ownership and marriage which don’t even compare today. The end of the book has two dissenting points of view by John McWhorter and Glenn Loury with a reply by Jason Riley. Discussion is good on such a touchy subject. Jason Riley concluded, and I’ll write it here: Black antisocial behaviors and attitudes play a bigger role in Black outcomes than most social scientists and black intellectuals want to acknowledge publicly. Recommended.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    Well argued perspective that racial discrimination is no longer the primary culprit in racial disparity. Riley argues that black individuals and communities made huge improvements after slavery was ended and before the civil rights laws were passed. And he says progress continued more slowly in some ways after the legislation. His argument is that there was a shift in focus from human capital (economic) improvements to political power. The shift was successful in that black political power incre Well argued perspective that racial discrimination is no longer the primary culprit in racial disparity. Riley argues that black individuals and communities made huge improvements after slavery was ended and before the civil rights laws were passed. And he says progress continued more slowly in some ways after the legislation. His argument is that there was a shift in focus from human capital (economic) improvements to political power. The shift was successful in that black political power increased, but their social and economic standards and trends for narrowing disparities stagnated or even declined. John McWhorter and Glenn Loury add valuable and persuasive commentaries on the theme. I especially enjoyed Loury's poetic comments on "the self appointed guardians of the interests of black America" who "have only a snarl, or a scold, or a bill of indictments to offer."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Helpfully complicated some of my assumptions related to racism in the US by a black conservative thinker. He was critical of some writers on the left that I have learned a lot from and so it was a good reminder to read widely and from a variety of perspectives. It is tough to try to have a balanced and accurate understanding of both the agreements and disagreements between people who belong to the same group much less between groups and this small book, with two responses, was an interesting int Helpfully complicated some of my assumptions related to racism in the US by a black conservative thinker. He was critical of some writers on the left that I have learned a lot from and so it was a good reminder to read widely and from a variety of perspectives. It is tough to try to have a balanced and accurate understanding of both the agreements and disagreements between people who belong to the same group much less between groups and this small book, with two responses, was an interesting introduction to what could be called black conservatism?.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Diane Navarrete

    This book presents a counter argument to ideas expressed by popular progressive black thinkers like Kendi (“How to be an Antiracist”). Some compelling arguments here demonstrating increased black political representation since the 1960s has not improved black outcomes. However, he fails to offer any real solution other than “invest in black human capital.“ But how? My biggest gripe is Riley’s lack of solutions. My second gripe is how much space he devoted to critiquing the Obama presidency, whic This book presents a counter argument to ideas expressed by popular progressive black thinkers like Kendi (“How to be an Antiracist”). Some compelling arguments here demonstrating increased black political representation since the 1960s has not improved black outcomes. However, he fails to offer any real solution other than “invest in black human capital.“ But how? My biggest gripe is Riley’s lack of solutions. My second gripe is how much space he devoted to critiquing the Obama presidency, which was only tangentially related to his central argument.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gregory Stanton

    Another brilliant piece of writing from Riley about the illusion of Black political power being a positive force in America. Short and concise. Very quick read that doesn't lack in substance. As mentioned in the criticism's portion, he doesn't offer much by way of a strategy/solution to contribute to Black American society in place of the tired and overused attempts of the past. Another brilliant piece of writing from Riley about the illusion of Black political power being a positive force in America. Short and concise. Very quick read that doesn't lack in substance. As mentioned in the criticism's portion, he doesn't offer much by way of a strategy/solution to contribute to Black American society in place of the tired and overused attempts of the past.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Id really go for a 3.7 if that were an option. This book was meant to do on discussion and in concert with other books. Riley makes some good points, and rightly makes the left think a bit. However, there are some areas where he needs to include more fact and less judgement- like in housing redlining and factory moving (points adressed at the end by McWhorter)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Quanita

    False Narrative After seeing Mr. Riley on CSPAN's in-depth program I knew I needed to read his books. I started with this one and I wasn't disappointed. Although racism is a reality, everything isn't racist. Some outcomes happen because of an individual's actions, not the racist intent of another. A short book worth your time. False Narrative After seeing Mr. Riley on CSPAN's in-depth program I knew I needed to read his books. I started with this one and I wasn't disappointed. Although racism is a reality, everything isn't racist. Some outcomes happen because of an individual's actions, not the racist intent of another. A short book worth your time.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    In False Black Power?, Jason Riley follows up his wildly successful novel "Please Stop Helping Us" with a primer into the world of contrarian, conservative viewpoints regarding the after effects of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and how government social equity programs in general have crippled many pockets of the African American community. In False Black Power?, Jason Riley follows up his wildly successful novel "Please Stop Helping Us" with a primer into the world of contrarian, conservative viewpoints regarding the after effects of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and how government social equity programs in general have crippled many pockets of the African American community.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mike Klein

    A short essay that adds a forgotten part of African-American history. Surprisingly the book includes two short essays that at least have some (although not a lot) of disagreement with the author. Not usual for an author to include potential critics.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chaance Graves

    Interesting insights from his journal I largely agreed with the theme that denounced political power as the driver aiding the advancement of blacks in modern day America. It was good to see intellectual contributions from other well versed authors.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zaire

    Thank you!! Fantastic essay of the ongoing race war in America. It’s a relief to read a book that goes against the oft repeated narrative — that blacks cannot succeed due to previous enslavement and Jim Crow. It’s a blatant lie. I hope more people read this and wake up!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    Not terribly different from his first book...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Karin

    More of a long essay than a book, but very interesting viewpoints from a black journalist about the socioeconomics and politics influencing race relations in our country today.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carlos

    Essentially a long-ish essay on how pursuing political power rather an economic empowerment has failed African-Americans in the United States. If you've read the author's previous book, Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed, then there really isn't that much new (aside from a few updates to reflect the end of Barack Obama's term in office and the election of Donald Trump as president). Essentially a long-ish essay on how pursuing political power rather an economic empowerment has failed African-Americans in the United States. If you've read the author's previous book, Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed, then there really isn't that much new (aside from a few updates to reflect the end of Barack Obama's term in office and the election of Donald Trump as president).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Connor Wytko

    He set me on a path to read other historical books of our nation. Thank you sir.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jerrell Whitehead

    At its best discussing the history of black growth, development, success from the time of Emancipation up until the Civil Rights era.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    Full of wisdom and truth. It needs to be acted on, but our PC culture will never allow that to happen.

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