Jason L. Riley has written a new book entitled Please Stop Helping Us. If you are a conservative, I urge you to read it. If you are a leftist, I dare you.
I’ve shaken hands with Riley once or twice but I don’t know him. He’s on the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. If you ever watch the excellent Journal Editorial Report on Fox News, he’s the bald black guy. He always seems smart to me but so does everyone else on the show.
His book was just one of the numerous galleys I regularly receive from publishers. I glanced at it — and next thing I knew, I had read it cover to cover. It was the inspiration for my new Revolting Truth video, “Why Democrats Call You Racist,” released here last Thursday.
The subtitle of Please Stop Helping Us is: “How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed.” But if you’re expecting some sort of raging turn-the-tables tirade, it isn’t that at all. Riley’s writing is restrained, open-minded and fact-based. “My goal,” he writes modestly, “is to assess some of the social policy and thinking that arose from the ruins of Jim Crow. Good intentions aside, which efforts have facilitated black advancement, and which efforts have impeded it?”
Others have dealt with these issues. (Riley dedicates the book to Thomas Sowell and Shelby Steele.) But Riley’s condensed, statistic-backed, personal-yet-dispassionate style provides an uncommonly stark and complete 176-page examination of the results of leftist policies on black Americans. Bottom line: they’ve failed and they continue to make things worse.
Leftist intellectual defenses of dysfunction in black American culture have abetted and magnified the devastation caused by that dysfunction. Misguided charges of racism against police have made it easier for black criminals to prey on the vast majority of law-abiding black citizens. Minimum wage laws have increased black unemployment. The Obama administration’s war on school choice has harmed black education. And Affirmative Action has increased African American failure. When race is removed from the college application process, black enrollment first falls off, then rebounds, and black success rates increase as people enter colleges that are in line with their capabilities.
Rather than face these facts, the left establishment continually cries “Squirrel!” either attempting to silence critics of their policies with accusations of racism or ginning up meaningless controversy over individual events and statements of little general import.
When Donald Sterling was recently caught on tape making racist remarks, Rosalyn M. Brock, the chairman of the board of the NAACP, wrote in USA Today: “So much for the post-racial society that was supposed to have been ushered in by the election of Barack Obama in 2008. We Americans have a long way to go. Race still matters.”
This is trash and nonsense. So was the overblown press coverage of Trayvon Martin’s death, no matter what the truth of it. So were any number of other controversies sparked by individual events and statements.
Because individuals will always be racist everywhere. Such events will always happen. Such statements will always be made. Weaving them into a narrative of nationwide bigotry — demanding they all be eradicated: this is simply a strategy used by left wing political organizations like the NAACP to distract from their failure in order to keep and expand their power.
“Fifty years into the war on poverty, the picture isn’t pretty,” Riley writes. “The black-white poverty gap has widened over the last decade and the poverty rate among blacks is no longer declining. The black-white disparity in incarceration rates today is larger than it was in 1960. And the black unemployment rate has, on average, been twice as high as the white rate for five decades... black America has long been stuck in a severe recession. Confronted with these statistics, liberals continue to push for the same ‘solutions’ that clearly haven’t worked before.”
There are racists on the right; of course there are. But left wing policies hurt black Americans wholesale. For the good of all Americans, they need to be dismantled and the people who support them should be voted out of office.