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 review of the book at Rare here.