Please Stop Helping Us

please-stop-helping-us[Author Jason Riley will be featured at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s August 7th gathering of the Wednesday Morning Club. For more information, click here.]

While reading the first chapter of Jason Riley’s new book, “Please Stop Helping Us,” I thought about Will Rogers’ Prohibition-era observation that “Oklahomans vote dry as long as they can stagger to the polls.” Demonstrative of similar dedication, one member of Congress told Vanderbilt University political scientist Carol Swain that “one of the advantages and disadvantages of representing blacks is their shameless loyalty. … You can almost get away with raping babies and be forgiven. You don’t have any vigilance about your performance.” In my opinion, there appear to be no standards of performance low enough for blacks to lose their loyalty to their black political representatives.

Riley says that between 1970 and 2001, the number of black elected officials skyrocketed from fewer than 1,500 to more than 9,000, but black poverty has remained roughly the same. Between 1940 and 1960, when black political power was virtually nonexistent, the black poverty rate fell from 87 percent to 47 percent. Riley points out that there has been significant achievement among the black middle class but that wide black-white gaps remain with respect to income, educational achievement, unemployment, labor force participation, incarceration rates and other measures. Despite political gains, there have been dramatic reversals in teen unemployment, crime, out-of-wedlock births and family stability. Political power is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for socio-economic progress.

Riley lays out the devastating deal black political leaders and civil rights leaders have made with labor unions, in his aptly named chapter “Mandating Unemployment.” Black leaders of the past recognized that labor unions were hostile to the interests of ordinary blacks. Frederick Douglass, in his 1874 essay “The Folly, Tyranny, and Wickedness of Labor Unions,” argued that unions were not friends of blacks. W.E.B. Du Bois called unions “the greatest enemy of the black working man.” Booker T. Washington also opposed unions because of their adverse impact on blacks.

Today’s black leaders have little reservation about giving their support to union policies that harm their constituents.

They support minimum wage increases, which have had a devastating impact on black employment, particularly that of teenagers. Recently, black teen unemployment reached 44 percent, but few people realize that during the late 1940s, before rapid minimum wage escalation, it was less than 10 percent and lower than white teen unemployment. Black leaders also give their support to a super-minimum wage law known as the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931. The legislative history of Davis-Bacon makes clear that its union and congressional supporters sought to eliminate black employment in the construction trades.

Riley’s “Educational Freedom” chapter details the sorry story of black education. Between 1970 and today, educational spending has tripled and the school workforce has doubled, far outpacing student enrollment. Despite these massive increases in resources, black academic achievement is a national disgrace. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the nation’s report card, black 17-year-olds score at the same level as white 13-year-olds in reading and math. White 13-year-olds score higher than black 17-year-olds in science.

A number of studies show that black students who attend private and charter schools do far better than their peers in public schools. If there were greater parental choice, through educational vouchers, black achievement would be higher. However, teachers unions see school choice as a threat to their monopoly, and virtually every black politician, including the president, backs the teachers unions.

At an 1865 gathering of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, Douglass said everybody had asked, “What should we do with the Negro?” Douglass said: “I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us.” Later on, Washington explained, “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.” It’s the abandonment of these visions that accounts for the many problems of today that Riley’s book does a masterful job of explaining.

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  • EvaKJones

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    • DaCoachK

      What, you’re going to do this crap on every article? Get a real job, you bum.

      • tickletik

        That is their job.

      • tickletik

        And it’s probably a bot, so I wouldn’t waste time replying

  • adumbrate

    I’ll never understand how an entire group consisting of millions can sit there enslaved to their own ideology and not figure out how to change their own circumstance by voting differently. It’s weird. Maybe after Obama who has done the most to enslave the human American race there will be some awakening , but I doubt it.

    Thanks for writing this article/book – will read, surely.

    • Zundfolge

      Juvenal said it was “bread and circuses” not “Filet Mignon and full employment”.

      As long as people don’t have to work for their basic survival they’ll gladly sit on their backsides and collect a check in squalor.

      It’s called “unrealized potential” for a reason

      • bigjulie

        I am blown away by the richness of “benefits” the unemployed are allowed to collect these days. I’m long retired, but today, I would not work, either, if I could collect food stamps, AFDC, Section 8 housing, health benefits and a check for spending money every month!

    • Danny

      I doubt it too. There is a segment of the Black population that wants to be left alone, to go to work, and to take charge of their own destinies. Let’s call this group, oh…I don’t know…how about we call this group “adults”. Then there is another segment in the Black population that would like to milk the historical oppression of their people for all its worth. This is the group that gets excited by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. It is this group that will always be in the pay of the Democratic Party. Let’s call this group “children”. So while I applaud the writer of this book, who obviously wants Blacks to be left alone to pursue the American dream, he obviously does not speak for all Blacks. I don’t think he even speaks for half of the Black population. Conservatives would be only too happy to leave Blacks alone, do away with race based programs, which only hurt Blacks in the long run, and treat Blacks with the knowledge that they are capable human beings; in other words, without contempt. Yes, I would love to see Blacks treated like adults. The $64,000 question is do Blacks want to be treated like adults? I am pessimistic about this. Because people tend to achieve up to the level that is expected of them. This goes for Aboriginals as well. When nothing is expected of you, that’s generally what you accomplish. Case in point, when Democrats say that presenting identification in order to vote is oppressive, what they are saying is that Blacks are retarded. Conservatives want to treat Blacks like adults, and for that, they’re called “racist”. This is a disgrace.

      • American Patriot

        Don’t forget the fact that hatemongers like Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan also have influence too. The important thing is to defeat the hatemongers and improve the quality of life for everyone.

      • Look_A_Squirrel

        WEB DuBois called them “the talented tenth”. Not much has changed.

      • fiddler

        I heard recently that this is causing a push to have marijuana legalized so that it is decriminalized. The issue isn’t about freedom, but that it is argued that it somehow removes the stigma of certain groups. Making pot illegal is somehow “racist”.

      • fiddler

        One of the most despicable statements made to a black audience was Joe Biden’s utterance: “They wanna put y-all back in chains”. To me this is the height of irresponsible and condescending displays. It to me is not worthy of a statesman. If I were black I would have done a double-take and ask myself, “What century are we living in again?”.

      • fiddler

        Another thing that is very telling is that lady who was “congratulated” for voting 6 times for Obama. So praise someone for committing a felony?

    • Charles Martel

      Maybe you should study tribal behavior, (i don’t mean as in African tribes) and culture. Also, a good knowledge of genetic sciences as it relates to human capacities and behavioral outcomes.

      We always attempt to over simplize the problem. We say the African American could achieve prosperity if only they would vote correctly thus implying they are not smart enough to recognize the outcomes of their own actions. Maybe the real fact is they are too stupid and or lazy to look for solutions. Maybe they like someone always caring for them. Maybe they can’t actually care for themselves in a manor comsistent with western civilization.

      • Look_A_Squirrel

        A “Troublesome Inheritance” by Wade, a former NYT science writer, provides insight into exactly your point.

    • Sheik Yerbouti

      I would not consider Americans to be a race. However, Americans are a cultural and even ethic collective of ALL races. Which is why it should outrage any of us that this race pandering continues to such a damaging degree.

      Jesse and Al are the obvious face of this hideous clown act. But the nations education system has been infiltrated and taken over by people who are concerned only with their own group’s advancement, ABOVE the advancement of the students. Preposterous.

      The race issue keeps us from addressing this. And education is only 1 issue. There are so many more ways the US government is being used to pervert and subvert the people we used to proudly call Americans.

      It would be really amazing if we could find genuine American unity regardless of race. Without it we are ALL sitting ducks for this sort of takeover.

    • runsinquicksand

      In their minds, they are all victims, and whitey owes them. That’s why they feel so betrayed by Oliar.

  • thult

    Thank you both, Dr. Williams and Jason Riley, for being BEACONS in the wilderness.

    By contrast, the RACISM of Eugene Robinson, Ta-Nehisi Coates, race pimps Al “Tawana Brawley” Sharpton, Jessie “Hymietown” Jackson, and the Democrat Party generally is OVERWHELMING, everything from the Ku Klux Klan (Robert Byrd AND William Fulbright, people!), to Al Gore Sr. and George Wallace to Lyndon Baines Johnson! In FACT, what we see today is largely the fallout from the LBJ’s Great Society, wherein America has squandered over $21 TRILLION on anti-poverty programs, the sole purpose (certainly, SOLE OUTCOME) of which, has been to HUGELY degrade the Black American family, and everything that springs from a cohesive and intact family unit! Race pimps like Ta-Nehisi Coates are simply CONTINUING the “gimme” sham, in addition to the efforts of Barack Hussein Obama to make good on his promised objective, that being to “fundamentally remake America!”

    How about letting this be a “wake up call” to the underlying issues? How about “waking up” to the FACT that Black-on-Black murder rates are HUGE! How about “waking up” to the FACT that Black-on-Black crime is HUGE! How about
    “waking up” to the FACT that ONE OUT OF THREE Black men is part of the jail/prison system! How about “waking up” to the FACT that 73% of ALL Black babies are illegitimately born (read that, born into FATHERLESS households)! How about “waking up” to the FACT that many, if not MOST, Black students CHOOSE to perform abysmally at academic achievement in securing a FREE education, paid for by the taxpayers!

    WAKE UP; lay the blame for the FEW OF MANY problems within the Black culture that you cited, where they belong! LBJ’s “War on Poverty,” established AFDC MANDATED regulation whereby there could NOT be a man in the house, in order for the woman to fire up her own FREE “government ATM dispenser,” thereby institutionalizing generational dependency and today’s 73% Black illegitimacy rate!

    Why do you suppose, after LBJ enacted the “War on Poverty,” he said, “I’ll have those ni**ers voting Democratic for the next 200 years?”

    • Steve

      This is so tiring. I guess racists like you really believe that during the 40s and 50s blacks were living in mansions with great jobs and wonderful families. Then LBJ and the liberals came along and said “I’ve got a deal for you negroes. Why don’t you men quit your jobs and abandon your families. Then we’ll put your wives on welfare and put you in the prison industrial complex. And you get all that for voting Democratic. Doesn’t that sound great?” Anyone who believes that garbage has the IQ of a grapefruit.

      • thult

        Is this UptownSteve? If so, you’ve done the typical UptownSteve diversion, distortion, and name-calling instead of ADDRESSING THE FACTS! The FREE MONEY was contingent on there being NO MAN in the house! Today, that “fatherless” baby can ALSO be cared for by the baby’s grandmother, as a Foster Child, in most States, whereby the grandmother ALSO collects $1000 per month for EACH of her baby-producing daughter’s ILLEGITIMATE babies! WAKE UP to the TRUTH!

        Address the FACTS, UptownSteve! Why do you suppose, after LBJ enacted the “War on Poverty,” he said, “I’ll have those ni**ers voting Democratic for the next 200 years?”

        • American Patriot

          He is uptownsteve. Steve is uptownsteve, just like he is also “skf1999″ and “Steve Fair”. He has multiple usernames.

          • thult

            YES! I KNEW IT! UptownSteve, RACE PIMP EXCEPTIONALE! How predictable is the utter drivel that preoccupies YOU, PIMPING skin color to the max!

  • nimbii

    Once again, thank you Water Williams.

    When Bill O’Reilly asked Valerie Jarrett about charter schools and vouchers she said “…we can’t abandon the schools…” That conflates a lot of agendas with the bottom line of power and votes.

    Progressives don’t care whose bodies they step over including our children….

  • liz

    Amazing – and tragic, that this was understood and spelled out all the way back by Frederick Douglas, yet has been completely drowned out by political corruption.
    But that’s not surprising, considering how corrupt politics already was at the time. In “The Real Lincoln”, Thomas diLorenzo reveals how corrupt Lincoln and the Republican party were (which actually started with Alexander Hamilton).
    They used the freeing of slaves merely as a political covering for their real agenda of government cronyism.
    Now both parties are corrupt, with the Democrats adding in the leftist agenda to make it even worse than the Republicans.

    • Look_A_Squirrel

      LBJ fought against all civil rights legislation brought multiple times by Repubs (legislation that did NOT include dumbing down and lifetime support). However, when LBJ saw a way to use gov’t money to get blacks back on the plantation, he drove it through under the “War on Poverty” guise. According to one biographer, the quote in the picture below is accurate.

      • liz

        That’s right. Both parties are corrupt, but the Democrats are by far the worst since the leftists took over with FDR, LBJ, Carter, Clinton, and Obama.
        But it’s the corruption that remains in the Republican “establishment” that prevents them from offering any “pushback” to the leftist agenda now.

  • Lanna

    Bringing in all these illegals does not help those of us who need jobs or are poor…it only make the poor poorer and lays the burden on the Middle Class American taxpayers to pay for their care! Whats wrong with these governments that they made a deal to unload all these people onto America?

    • Look_A_Squirrel

      Did you vote for Obama? If not, have you called your Congressional rep, Senator, Boehner’s office, DNC, RNC?

  • Steve

    Jason Riley is just latest “Rent-A-Minstrel” peddling negrophobia to the eager rightwing minions who want so bad to believe that Black America was better off under Jim Crow.

    • 11bravo

      and you want so bad to believe that they are better off now – but the stats do not lie. The only minstrels are Jackson, Sharpton, Phlaiger, Sheila Jackson, and Donna Brazil.
      Bull Conner, Jim Crow and Slavery are all products of the democrat party.

    • American Patriot

      Tim Wise is just the latest “Rent-A-Polar Bear” peddling blancophobia to the eager left-wing minions who want so bad to believe that White America would be better off under a new form of racial segregation called “John Crow”. Blanco, by the way, means white. In any case, left-wingers are racists and hate conservative minorities because conservative minorities think for themselves.

  • Steve

    I guess rightwingers are too wedded to their own arrogance and bigotry to understand that black Americans, who by and large are employed, productive and law abiding people, will never align themselves with you politically or even listen to you as long as characterize us as blind dupes, criminals and beggars who want handouts. In case you haven’t noticed, the demographics of this country are changing rapidly and rightwing racists are being marginalized to ranting the same old garbage on internet blogs. As a proud member of the striving and thriving black middle class I find you people kind of pathetic.

    • Vinchenz

      I doubt you are black – you sound like a white liberal.

    • liz

      I guess you hadn’t noticed the author of this article is black. So is he a right-wing racist bigot, too?

  • fiddler

    I’ve said before that the Democratic Party OWNS the black vote. Kind of ironic, huh? OWNS the black vote. Funny that they can leave at any time. Almost like a self -made prison. If you break ranks you are ridiculed. Just fall in line, check your brain at the door and pull the lever.

    • Steve

      The GOP owns the racist vote. Why would any self respecting black align themselves with them?

      • American Patriot

        The GOP doesn’t own any racist vote, fool. But they do have the Cuban American vote. Meanwhile, the Democrats have the bigot vote. Why would any self-respecting Cuban American align themselves with the Democrats?

      • Vinchenz

        Self-respecting blacks like – Jesse Jackson Al Sharpton and Julian Bonds. You can keep them – we will take Clarence Thomas Walter Williams Thomas Sowell.

        • American Patriot

          Don’t forget the self-respecting hate mongers like Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan, too.

      • liz

        The GOP “owns” the racist vote because the leftist propaganda machine – aka the mainstream media – says they do, and gullible morons believe them.

  • FrontPgSubscr

    There is a kind of “help” which is NOT helpful. I believe it is this “help” of which
    Mr. Riley is speaking.

  • Pericles

    Reminds me of Ronald Reagan’s remark: “The scariest thing that can happen is to receive a knock on the door and to be told ‘We are from the government, and we are here to help’.”

    The economic notion of “diminishing returns” certainly applies to government. The bigger it gets the less return it provides. A government that offers welfare instead of jobs and self-sufficiency is merely replacing plantation owners.

  • Maynard

    It won’t be long before he is dubbed a RACIST. How dare he confuse the liberals by quoting facts!