A Negative Take on Affirmative Action

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jason Riley, member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, Fox News contributor and the author of Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed (Encounter Books, 2014), says minimum-wage and affirmative-action laws are counter-productive and end up hurting the people they're intended to help.


Jason Riley

Comments [77]

GaryBoy from Harlem

@jgarbuz from Queens: fathers' rights?! I am all for them. But in the "Girls Rule, Boys Drool" WNYC universe, don't expect those 2 words ever to be uttered. The favored listener group -- "open minded, liberal" females -- would never permit it.

Jun. 28 2014 02:49 AM

@john from office

Well, tone of voice doesn't necessarily come through very well in print without some help...Punctuation, emoticons, etc. cf. Gary Oldman having to walk back at least some of his recent Playboy interview.

The voice you hear inside your head is not the only way it can be read.

As for Riley's argument, it makes about as much sense as the position that people would deal with the cold better if they didn't wear clothes.

Jun. 27 2014 06:26 PM
john from office

Negro was meant to be Ironic, genius. Those who hate this guest want to always be Negros, not just Americans.

Jun. 27 2014 07:29 AM

@john from office

"God forbid a Negro not feel victimized and entitled"

Negro!?! What planet are you from?

Jun. 26 2014 10:06 AM
john from office

Interesting how the usual suspects have reacted to this guest. Angry at a free thinking black man. God forbid a Negro not feel victimized and entitled!

The reaction highlights the problem!

Jun. 26 2014 09:16 AM
C Richard from Cortlandt Manor, NY

Brian - your social contract angle is very important. As Elizabeth Warren said better than Obama did - if you run a business, you didn't build it BY YOURSELF - you built it in the America that we all have a part in building. So it's essential that we all have the ability to live a decent life when we work in that community. Is it reasonable that Walmart can pay its employees less than is needed for that decent life, and at the same time offload the difference between the salary and that needed for the decent life, to public support.

Jun. 25 2014 10:25 PM
Roger Grange from Nyack, NY

Brian, I was disappointed that you did not challenge your guest on the substance of his premise- that measuring outcomes of economic equality is not a useful way to judge the effectiveness government policy. Jason Riley said very clearly that no society in human history has EVER produced greater equality because of government policy ("social engineering"). This is his basic premise- that government policy has no positive effect on life outcomes. Of course, he's completely wrong. Look at Northwestern Europe, Canada, Japan, Korea, even most of the UK. Government policy has nearly ELIMINATED POVERTY from these societies. You let him get away with this without challenging him. I was shocked by his statement and the fact there was no rebuttal.

I get his point- that government policy designed simply to raise incomes is not an effective way to change culture.
But, actually, is that true? I'm not so sure. If the Johnson era "Great Society" programs had been allowed to continue and improve, we might have seen more success. Mr Riley says these programs failed, but in fact they succeeded for a while. The positive results of these programs are visible everywhere today. I have many friends who are probably beneficiaries of the Great Society. I'm not ready to write them off as complete failures. Changing culture takes a long time. There are no easy solutions.

I remember an article in the NY Times from the late 80's. Roughly, the headline read "Million Dollar Study Concludes: Rich People Have More Money". Yep that's true. And when poor people are allowed to have more money (through whatever means), their lives improve. Their childrens' lives improve. And maybe things change.
The same old same old, in the words of Bill Clinton, is insane.

Jun. 25 2014 09:12 PM

Tune into next week's show when le Maire deFargio tells the tale of how his decision to rent his Brooklyn townhouse for " . . . around $6,500 a month, with $1,500 of that cost added just because he's the mayor. . . . "

will aid his "Vision Zero" program for "affordable" housing by the year after his second term ends (2022?).

In addition he will announce his support of a 50% windfall profit tax on the sale of private homes, condos and co-ops sold for over one million dollars.

That's what I call a social consciousness.

Jun. 25 2014 06:35 PM
I might Contribute from nyc


Shocked to think that guy contributes absolutely nothing monetarily (and otherwise) to wnyc. Your comment about supporting the radio station and "i might contribute" are spot on!

Jun. 25 2014 04:12 PM
Toussaint Louverture

Feels so bad to say but you can see why these guys were enslaved: absolutely no sense of self-determination. Begging and crying to the old masters to give you a bunch of handouts is not how free people do it.

Jun. 25 2014 03:51 PM

@jgarbuz from Queens

>>"I might even start pledging if you do."

You get untold value from being able to sit at home on your computer for hours at a stretch and, hijacking WNYC's site, get to foment your screwball pronunciamentos in front of an intelligent audience, ad infinitum--and you don't even contribute??

That's so tellingly typical for one of your views, I suppose.

Jun. 25 2014 03:47 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Anna, I'm saying that your posts reflect a lack of understanding of black history and the black present, which don't change based on whether or not a person had tumbleweeds in her backyard.

Truth, understanding, repudiation and restitution are NOT in order for black folk, after 350 years of kidnap, brutality, rape, terror and plunder? (Understand that, here, I'm NOT asking whether reparation should happen NOW.) It certainly HAS solved things for others, natives notwithstanding: Jews, Japanese. Of course, restitution for harm is a fundamental tenet of American jurisprudence...

You and Kadija correctly find many blacks' inefficient, counterproductive response to the unjust obstacles they face problematic. Nobody sane would question your frustration with it. I mean, Sojourner Truth recognized it, while observing some blacks' behavior, at the very moment of emancipation in DC 150 years ago. What's different is she understood the source. She understood the social, economic, psychosocial, etc. effects of centuries and the need for restorative interventions -- something like what we currently acknowledge soldiers may need after 30 days of active duty -- that never came. She was very very frustrated with this behavior when she encountered it, and put folk on blast. She knew blacks could not depend on the forces that created the conditions to fix them; that we must be self-determined. But she never lost sight of the source, and she never was less critical of it than of blacks. (Peep 'Sojourner Truth's America'.)

Where do you see me encouraging dependency? You think that to acknowledge injustice is to promote victimization? And what do you mean by "undercut"? All I'm saying is, know you (really) and don't seek/depend on the validation of those who do not.

I'm no Democrat. Both parties condescend to voters. It's just that one, again, openly courted unreconstructed ex-Confederates in recent history and never accounted for it, and consequently is ignorant of and has no viable policy for the black experience.

And I really mean no insult. It's just that your approach perpetuates black-inferioritism, which is counterprodutive, not to mention insulting, to you too.

Okay, I'm through.

Jun. 25 2014 03:26 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ Chuzzle -

Funny, because I was going to say something in the same vein:

"Watch the [rightist] vultures addicted to entitlements [investors/Wall Streeters, oil & gas industry, Big Ag, etc.] and protected favorable racial bias [white people - I know I'm one] dig into him on this one ... including personal vilification and character smears."

> E.g.: Political contributions by oil and gas industry rose 11,761 percent from 2008 to 2012. Industry received $20.4 billion in federal subsidies during the 111th Congress while spending $347 million on congressional contributions/lobbying. (5,800 percent rate of return.)

> Republican operative, Lee Atwater, essentially created the current political messaging and culture of "personal vilification and character smears." Interestingly, this messaging was (and is) predicated on racial and class division.

The United States - just like it always has and like all countries always will - is built on protecting, promoting and subsidizing certain industries and people groups over others. It's just revisionist history to say otherwise. So the question becomes, "Both de facto and de jure, which industries and groups do we support?"

Jun. 25 2014 03:00 PM

I was hoping for a coherent explanation of the widely held 'theory' that government programs have hobbled rather than enabled black Americans. I didn't get one. The arguments offered by Mr. Riley seem only to work for folks who already agree with the premise. Not so much for folks who are still wondering and definitely not for us who think the premise is for the birds. The relationship between the government and the individual is complex. This theory is far too simple to actually explain it.

Nobody asks if GE is hobbled by not having to pay taxes, or if farming conglomerates are harmed by government agricultural subsidies but under this theory, mustn't it be true? However, as far as the stultifying effects of supporting our own underclass (which is made up of far more persons than the descendants of African slaves, btw) too many of us are stuck thinking that poverty is a choice. Poverty can result from bad choices but lack of opportunity for personal improvement is more complex than anything I heard today.

Jun. 25 2014 02:57 PM

@jagarbuz: I'm in RUCB_Alum's camp here. PLEDGE or stop taking advantage of WNYC's forums.

Jun. 25 2014 02:36 PM
Anna from Brooklyn

And Khadija,

From your words, it sounds like your grandmother raised you well.. you keep doing what you are doing and don't let these voices hold you back and tell you that you don't know anything. You do, and it's worked for you so far,you are achieving things in your life and making her proud, so you keep doing what you are doing. There are always kids in the school that keep the smart ones down for "acting white" or whatever bullying techniques they use. That is the saddest thing amongst blacks, to find the scythes out there to cut you down are held by black hands. And if we get called oreos for wanting something different than the status quo, well, f*ck that, oreos are delicious.

Jun. 25 2014 02:24 PM
Anna from Brooklyn


With respect, please don't dictate to me what I understand and what I don't about being black. I've this skin color and all that comes with it too, and where you are proud to have come from the ghetto, I come from a different background of being raised out West, amongst tumbleweeds and I did well. So allow me the opportunity to speak MY truth bc my life experience is just as valid as yours. The one thing I had instilled in me by family, community and culture out West: you make your own luck, you make your own opportunity. I am not in need, nor I am less than, but I have been here 17 yrs in NYC and there is a philosophy here telling blacks that you are owed and you are a victim.

I agree again w/ commenters - there is not just one black voice out there, and someone like Mike Dyson or Al Sharpton does not speak for me. Reparations IMHO are the worst idea because it won't solve anything for any group - if anything, it extenuates an idea that you owed something, when in truth, your life is ALWAYS what you make of what this world gives you. I am no victim, my skin color is not a disability. Have you ever heard the line "but I don't think of you as black"? WTF, right? Now guess who says that patronizing stuff: liberals. It only makes me wonder what sort of person were they expecting me to be considered "black". Maybe a victim? If a person, at core, has not learned to provide for him or herself, then it's a problem, and a problem behavior that goes beyond skin color.

I will be damned before I let someone undercut me the credit for the work and efforts I have exerted to get where I am and say that I am on the affirmative action teat. When I do something in my field it is on par or beyond what the most privileged of our society can do or the most assisted and enabled.

Why do you condemn and insult me that I don't know anything about being black? Are you in my shoes? Have you lived my life? Have you left the ghetto to live anywhere else to form an opinion of how other blacks live elsewhere? Do you know my life enough to tell me what I do and don't know?

You - as a black person, and the black community in general, whatever that is defining itself as these days - would think would be supportive of self constructed achievement, instead of extending the attitude that the hand must always be out, victimlike, and that we are owed something. It's tired-sounding to me, I'm afraid. At the end of the day, between your God and you, you are not a victim unless you choose to be, and it is ALWAYS up to you where you go. That is truly empowering.

Jun. 25 2014 02:21 PM

I love ya, Brian, but sometimes your liberal bias shines a little to bright in this segment. It was very clear you disagreed with the guest and I've never heard you challenge a liberal this much on their argument. That being said, it made for good radio - very interesting discussion.

Jun. 25 2014 02:15 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Kadija, who said i grew up not knowing the world was "so completely stacked against me"? Please, tell me where in my response you got that from...On the contrary, in addition to being able to provide a modicum of stability, I was fortunate enough to have a mother and grandfather who ABSOLUTELY schooled me on what the deal was and affirmed my ability to transcend it. Again, it's why I'm here today. My point is that whites and others have it easier and it's not right.
Your problem is that you confuse blacks' limited sense of the possibilities FOR THEM, with dependency, and you treat it as a cause instead of an effect. Yes, it is absolutely a problem. But your approach is demoralizingly black inferiorist, and maybe you don't understand that.
Wish you luck in finding clarity (though it shouldn't depend on luck; there should be black institutions that foster informed analysis of the black experience), and continued success.

Jun. 25 2014 02:09 PM

Well then i suppose it's a good thing I was so "uninformed". I might have given up early on knowing the world was so completely stacked against me. Might have ended up in a "nice" housing project and get bussed to the voting centers like many of the folk went on to do I grew up with.
I just wonder how so many among us have gone on to become huge successes, businessmen, entertainers, leaders, even the President with so much stacked against us. Anyway, we seem to have the same goal, just entirely opposite ways of getting there. I think that the dependency we've grown up with just isn't working for most, so it's time to leave it behind. You feel otherwise. That said, I wish you luck.

Jun. 25 2014 01:38 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Rick Evans from 10473:
You're pointing out institutional race terror, which is one of the ongoing effects of 350 years, that changes in laws do not address.
Again, because there has been no process of truth/understanding/repudiation/restitution, the economic, social, psychological, etc. trauma prevails, hindering the realization of the "dream" we were fed. Into such a void, all manner of atrophy naturally flows.
This would have happened with any group in the same shituation. But implicit in theses like the ignant guest's is the suggestion that this is somehow particular to black folk. Because he and his cohorts likely don't know and definitely don't understand the history.

Jun. 25 2014 01:30 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Kadija, I responded to your words and the dearth of analysis they seem to reflect. Be clear: Because you experience something does not mean you adequately understand it.
I'm born and raised in the hood too (and hope to never leave). I have a higher income than my forebears, value information, try to lead a progressive life, etc. I have ALWAYS worked hard. I take some credit for this. But I also know that I was fortunate to have the mother/grandfather I had and a somewhat confident, rather pugnacious personality. These undoubtedly have had the greater influence on my relative "success", given my demographics, which are challenging on many, many levels.
Because EVERYDAY I encounter white folks who are smart and hardworking, but not inherently more so than most blacks I know, but who are nevertheless highly paid and professionally satisfied because they were socioeconomically tracked from a very early age...
See, like most people, you seem to not understand the ingredients of professional "success", and you don't know how race affects these. Do you even know that 66% of black kids are born in impoverished neighborhoods, while only 2% of white kids are? You (1) think that black folks are handling an uneven playing field worse than others would, because you don't know how distinct our experience has been, and (2) you are more critical of black folk than the unlevel playing field and those who unfairly benefit from and perpetuate it...
What we all require is a better understanding of American history and socioeconomics and "success" -- the ingredients and how they work. Black folk need it to survive. All people in America need it to move this country forward.

Jun. 25 2014 01:08 PM
Rick Evans from 10473

It's hard to know where to start when a race hustler like Jason Riley gets hold of a big microphone. Yes I said race hustler as he profits by pandering to angry white folks playing an anti-Sharpton.

That said here goes:

1. Black folks fared better in the 50s and 60s because of a fast growing
in the post WW-II economy that needed labor.

2. The guest ignored Ta-Nehisi Coate's point about how blacks paid taxes
for inferior school resources and other public facilities.

3. Riley ignores disproportionate suspensions and punishments of black
children for the same misbehavior as white children. However his
cultural commentary might feed into the racially bias perceptions of

4. Riley conveniently ignores the wrist-slap justice afforded middle class
white kids caught with drugs compared with the Rockefeller law justice
imposed on young blacks.

5. Riley ignores 1950s housing discrimination practices and more recent
sub-prime loan discrimination negative effects on black wealth
accumulation. Even the Federal Research has acknowledged the latter in
published studies.

Jun. 25 2014 12:50 PM
fuva from harlemworld

(Please excuse the many typos in my posts. It's just that -- like most informed black people -- when such nonsensical black inferioritism is treated as credible, it has the effect of a brick on the brain. You see red. The blood pressure rises...In this way, being a free-minded, informed black person is a health hazard too. Dayum; it's like we can't win either way.)

Jun. 25 2014 12:32 PM

fuva, I'm glad you think you can psychoanalyze me over the internet. I don't look at this problem from some ivory tower, I have lived it. I have seen how some of these programs effected those within my family and friends, many of whom are still living the same lives they had 30 years ago. This alone makes me sad.
Opportunities are everywhere if one takes advantage of them and shows they are capable. Not many could have started in a more difficult situation than my own and I made it as did countless others. I had an alcoholic father who was killed participating in a robbery, a mother who died young and grew up quite literally with barely enough money to survive. When you hear about people putting cardboard in their shoes because of the holes in them, it is not a fairytale. I credit my Grandmother, god rest her soul, with helping to make me what I am. She was too proud to take what she didn't work for and I think that is where I got some of my independent streak from. Unfortunately, I didn't fully understand it at the time and regret not being able to talk about our time together as an adult.
We do not need some politician giving us handouts to make it, quite the opposite, thank you. If you feel otherwise than you give yourself too little credit.

Jun. 25 2014 12:20 PM
fuva from harlemworld

BRIAN AND PRODUCERS: Having this man as a guest suggests that the light Ta shed on (some of) the unaddressed ongoing ripple effects of 350 years of race terror has been lost on you. But if you're really determined to have him back, then at least bring him on with someone with some semblance of free black progressive thought, and let them debate. Maybe someone like Ta-Nehisi or Mike Eric Dyson...

Jun. 25 2014 12:16 PM

@jgarbuz from Queens

"I might even start pledging if you do."

WHHHAAAAAAAATTTTTT!!!! You are not a member of WNYC!!! Your posts have lost what little relevancy they may have had for me. Please send something if only to defray the server-support costs that your constant posting imposes.

Jun. 25 2014 12:12 PM
peter wolf from Bronx

This segment has me tearing out my remaining hairs. Your guest keeps comparing Black poverty after the War of Poverty had an effect with today. The reality is that Black poverty was reduced, and then crept up since Reagan and the dismantling of programs.

One area where I disagree with my fellow leftists has to do with the cultural issue. I agree with Mr. Riley that cultural issues are important. But the Right looks at culture (really more social-psychological factors) as having nothing to do with economic, political, etc. factors and basically concludes, you people are deficient, have bad sttitudes, pull yourself up by your bootstraps. It is essentially denigration rather than concern. The left denies the reality that the whole legacy of slavery, segregation, current discrimination, White denigration of Blacks has had any effect on the psyche of Blacks- an absurd conclusion, but done with good intention to avoid stigmitization. So both sides deny that oppression has a psychic toll- which it clearly has.

One left critic, Cornell West, cuts through this denial, talking about how psyche and society intertwine, in an article written a while back, called Nihilism in Black America, in his book, Race Matters. I would strongly suggest you get him on to discuss this issue.

Finally, very briefly, if you want to change "Black Culture," reduce despair, change feelings of low self-worth and self-defeating helplessness, give people well paying jobs that afford a sense of dignity and a belief that advancement is possible. For every person who has self-doubts because of affirmative action, there are many more who feel better about themselves, now feel their children can succeed, unconsciously move from projecting their own negative self-image onto their children to more supportive child rearing methods, etc. You don't change people's attitudes by lecturing them; attitudes change when external reality leads to realistic hope.

Jun. 25 2014 12:12 PM
Dave From NorthEast Bronx


Most of those orthodox kids grow up to become the biggest welfare recipients in this state!

Jun. 25 2014 12:11 PM

@john from office

"To those who will argue with him, do you remember how dignified Blacks were before the 70's and how undignified black culture is today??"

Are you serious? You cannot possibly believe that the position of blacks in America was better before the 70's! What did happen was that as the scourge of racism in housing was lifted those blacks who could get out, did so. The 'left behinds' had fewer good examples of what could be achieved through hard work and more examples of illegal exploitation.

Jun. 25 2014 12:03 PM
Jeanine from Park Slope, Brooklyn

So What is Jason Riely's solution?

I also say...what black community?

Everyone talks about this mythical cohesive black community where in reality there are HUGE divisions. African Americans are divided by class, culture, nationalities, self hatred in so many forms (like black people who refuse to date and marry other black people) ... many american black people are so busy focusing on those issues that the major problems are not addressed and just fester.

Many blacks of the upper classes focus on our individual sucuess and support social programs for the lower classes so that we don't have to deal with their problems.

Jun. 25 2014 12:02 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Anna, Khadija -- Like, Clarence Thomas, you worry too much about being validated by people who know nothing about you or what you went through to get to wherever you are. This is because you don't fully understand it yourself. Just like you don't understand the connection between your students' limited sense of the possibilities and the historical imposed limitations on blacks' possibilities. Like most people, you don't understand the historical and ongoing connection between professional success and social access, etc.

Jun. 25 2014 12:02 PM

>> do you remember how dignified Blacks were before the 70's

Yes, remember how dignified they were picking cotton and tobacco in blistering heat 12 hours a day, just walking to school surrounded by virulent hatred, being turned away from polling booths, facing near-insurmountable institutionalized indentured servitude? Those were the days!

Jun. 25 2014 12:00 PM

@jgarbuz: Apparently you know what orthodox Jewish families are doing on Saturday afternoons (their children {boys?} are not playing sports). Do you claim to know what all black families are doing on weekends or are you making an assumption? And is all this about boys? What are the girls doing?

Jun. 25 2014 11:59 AM
fuva from harlemworld

The MartinChuzzlewits of the world are blind to the entitlement they have enjoyed and leveraged and passed down intergenerationally for 400 years -- the disproportionate economic return and unfair advantage they get from the plunder of black folks -- BECAUSE, LIKE FISH, IT IS THE WATER THEY SWIM IN AND COMPLETELY TAKE FOR GRANTED AND ARE OBLIVIOUS TO. Meanwhile, we're treading water, trying not to drown.

Jun. 25 2014 11:55 AM
anna from Brooklyn

I agree with Khadija above-- bc of entrenched handout and aid programs, as a black woman, people do not think I have earned what I have worked for without some assistance of sorts.

I think Jason Riley brings up a valid point that there is no incentive to improve oneself when you know you will receive assistance regardless. I have many students that I teach from neighborhoods like Brownsville and East New York who count upon federal or state assistance in making their plans for the future such as getting an apartment, and I am always baffled how this is seen as acceptable.

It's not to say that racism has not had its role in casting how racial populations in the US are faring today, but I think Mr. Riley is calling out tot he Afircan American community to take a hard assessment of itself, and what steps it can take to contribute to the ultimate liberation: true independence and a self-sustaining lifestyle.

And I can know that when I of other black people work our tails off for something, no one will look at us twice to think we are subpar or there because we were needed to fill a racial quota of sorts.

Jun. 25 2014 11:54 AM

Jason Riley is a student of rhetoric, where debate (and false equivalency of two competing points of view) are more important than a basis in fact. Indeed, some of his assertions seem to be made up out of thin air.

Then you consider who his corporate sponsor is--the WSJ, the "bible" of this alternate universe. Basing one's values on free markets is as specious as learning the facts of life from the street/gutter--while there may be some truth, it's hardly peer-reviewed scholarship.

Viewed historically, Riley's position reminds me of the post-cards from "resettlement to the east"--totally misleading. The worst comment he made, "Having a black man in the White House is not as good as having a black man at home." My neighbors in Paterson--where I live in a wonderfully integrated neighborhood--wouldn't buy this.

Considering how Mr. Riley uses what talents he has to the detriment of his fellow man, I'd have more respect for him if he worked for the gambling industry (a real danger to family life), or ran a brothel.

Jun. 25 2014 11:53 AM

Welfare doesn't only disincentive blacks. I know whites disabled by accident or disease. Once they have gone through the agonizing process of getting on disability, they fear that any attempt to earn will result in the loss of all the help they need for food, shelter & medicine.
The "safety net" should include some earnings incentives, so people can gradually work their way off.

Jun. 25 2014 11:53 AM

My poor white father's family was on Relief. He had to steal food from dumpsters on occasion. *All* of his siblings ended up doing well, most definitely due to his family being on Relief for many years. Almost all of his parents' grandchildren have done very well - doctors, lawyers, engineers, professors.

Yet my best friend's family refused Welfare. They mocked education whereas my grandparents felt it important. Drugs, crime, poverty, illegitimacy, those are problems that are social not racial. I have cousins on my mother's side who are the same way.

Skin color is not the issue, nor is any culture beyond what poverty gives you. What having to work many hours with little benefits gives you.

Affirmative action based on poverty level and educational opportunities must continue. Folks like Mr. Riley must be convinced to spend their energy on improving AA and Welfare, and making sure it is linked not to your skin color but your socioeconomic level. We need to assess why people succeed on Welfare, and why others fail.

My aunt died as a 1 year old, before Relief started, complicated by malnutrition of her mother who went on to have six other children kept healthy and alive by Relief. Does the gentleman REALLY want people to die in the name of the "honor of working it out ourselves"?

Jun. 25 2014 11:52 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Good guest. Now bring one on supporting Fathers' Rights, and another arguing against a "two state solution" for the Israel-Arab conflict. Let's have some counter-liberal arguments, just to stir things up a bit more. I might even start pledging if you do.

Jun. 25 2014 11:50 AM
Tim from Brewster

Although I am also nothing near the Republican/conservative perspective, I am taken with the question as to why the percentage of single family homes in the black community is so high-67% according to one study (,867,133,38,35/10,168,9,12,1,13,185/432,431)
I agree with Jason Reilly generally on this point. Why is there not a greater emphasis from black leaders?

Jun. 25 2014 11:50 AM
fuva from harlemworld

This idiot's thesis is black inferiorist and absolutely pathologizes black folk: It begins with black culture and not the centuries-lone, unprecedented forces that bear upon it. This is backwards and would not be the approach in just about any other context...

Part of the difference between pre and post Civil Rights difference in stats is the disillusionment with the failure of Martin's "dream"; because we -- white and many blacks -- wanted desperately for changes in laws to be the remedy, so that we would not have to deal with the gory details of what happened and actually go through the process of truth/understanding/RESTITUTION/repudiation that recovery the post traumatic stress requires (for blacks AND whites).

Jun. 25 2014 11:49 AM
Lonnie from Brooklyn!!!

This man is worse than a Tom. He's an Uncle Ruckus. Trucking the Racist's anthem of how Wonderful everything was back when a Black man was with his family...but could be killed at whim, or have anything taken from him at whim by any passing White man who decided he didn't like a Black Man who had More than He did?

Listening to him made me violently ill!!!

Jun. 25 2014 11:48 AM
Dave From NorthEast Bronx

While I'm inclined to agree with his analysis of the state of black America today and what needs to change, he does not present one iota of solid evidence to suggest that this came about as a result of social programs started in the 60s and AA.

He's also disingenuous in his citiation of quotes. For example, he talks about how Booker T Washington and other said that all blacks wanted was to be left alone and given an opportunity to stand up with stating that blacks were never given a fair chance to stand up even a hundred years after slavery.

Jun. 25 2014 11:48 AM

The non-viability of the current average wage is the biggest impact on black Americans lives. (Many other Americans as well) Maybe Mr. Riley and Mr. Coates could write a new book titled "Please Stop Helping Us/Please Stop Robbing Us" that explores patterns of oppression and outlines a rational way out of the poverty quagmire.

Jun. 25 2014 11:48 AM
PJ from Bk

I'm not buying your book Jason. Go sell it in the republican south

Jun. 25 2014 11:46 AM
The Truth from Becky

Hate this guest, get outta here lunatic! You're not helping.

Jun. 25 2014 11:45 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

haha, this clown is literally reading from the white man conservative playbook.... and he has no historical perspective. he thinks the world was birthed 50 years ago.... he's either a complete moron or just playing the game.... methinks he is an idiot.

Jun. 25 2014 11:45 AM

On affirmative action in California universities, the guest stated that black graduation rates have increased since the end of affirmative action.

His version of the event is misleading to the point of deliberate distortion. I would call it lying by exclusion.

The enrollment rate of African-Americans has greatly decreased. Among the thousands of students at UC Berkeley are thousands of students. A few dozen are black.

If less prepared students are denied admission, they miss remediation. They miss the value of a limited attendance in which new knowledge *and* new role possibilities are first witnessed and practiced. If dropping out, they are better prepared to reenter at a State University, to guide their kids, etc. It is also noteworthy that some white students, Asian students, etc. Also drop out.

He cherry picks to satisfy his arguments. His satisfaction of logical guidelines for discussion are substandard. Jason is feathering his own nest, and devil take the hindmost.

SDH de Lorge

Jun. 25 2014 11:45 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

ON Saturdays I see black families bringing their little kids to play football all afternoon in our recently built park, while the orthodox Jewish families are bringing their kids to study more Jewish law, or Talmud as its called, all afternoon. So which group do you think is going to produce most of the athletes and which group is going to produce most of the lawyers? And since "rights" are gained in the courts, which group is going to be likely to succeed in gaining "rights?"

Jun. 25 2014 11:44 AM
john from office

WOW a Black Guest who has not drank the Koolaid. A refreshing take on the black experience.

To those who will argue with him, do you remember how dignified Blacks were before the 70's and how undignified black culture is today??

Jun. 25 2014 11:42 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Mr. Riley isn't supplying sources for his numbers (although maybe he does in his book). He's also saying "X happened & then Y happened" as though it proved X was the cause of Y. This is called "post hoc ergo propter hoc," & it's a well-know statistical *fallacy*.

And it seems obvious that people who assume that members of racial minorities (on a national level) & women are inferior will also assume that members of those groups who get good jobs must be unqualified & got them only because of affirmative action.

Jun. 25 2014 11:42 AM
Nick from UWS

Please stop helping us? Well don't take or accept the help then. Nobody's forcing anybody to do anything.

Jun. 25 2014 11:42 AM
fuva from harlemworld

I tell ya, here as everywhere, it's two steps forward, one and a half steps backward with race discourse. Guess I was hoping Brian would be ahead of the curve. Too bad...

Ta-Nehisi sheds light, and yet here comes this captured knee-high (kneegrow) rehashing nonsense that works to obscure the fact that blacks are confronted with socioeconomic and other ripple effects of race terror that (1) NO OTHER GROUP HAS EVER FACED, in this country and perhaps beyond, and (2) have not at all been accounted for...

Jason is capped; reduced as a self-determined black man. He is a member of a party that openly race-baited and courted unreconstructed ex-Confederates and have NEVER accounted for it, and that has NO PROGRESSIVE POLICY for black folk because it refuses to acknowledge black reality. He's bombarded and overwhelmed with a black inferiorist worldview. And, because he's indoctrinated, he can't see the political possibilities beyond Dems and Repubs.

Maybe ol' boy is taking us back in the discussion, because he wrote his book before Ta's article and is contracted to promote it? Unfortunately, it's likely that he really believes this ish, and simply has not yet developed the ability to see and think for self.

Jun. 25 2014 11:41 AM

"Democrats are the proponents of bigger government..." There's an unproven assertion if ever I heard one. Clinton/Gore and Obama/Biden SHRANK the number of Federal employees. Bush/Cheney GREW it.

Jason Riley is losing me...Expecting the government to fix or provide everything is wrong. However, there are some problems THAT ONLY good government can fix.

Free Market? How much deflation has Mr. Riley been in favor of?

Jun. 25 2014 11:41 AM
Pablo Alto from Brooklyn

Rubbish. Misdirection on the part of yet another Black "conservative" who wants to be liked and accepted by those who really could care less about him or people of his background. Blame and vilify the victim is at the core of their playbook.

Jun. 25 2014 11:41 AM
ml from manhattan

This is just a ridiculous premise. There is no way to go back and undo what affirmative action did and compare it to today's results. I'm old enough to have grown up in and to have seen a very white landscape in the middle class. It no longer is. I see lots of black professionals and more middle class blacks than when I was growing up. I agree that it would have been better to "let blacks stand on their own," but a hundred years later, they hadn't been allowed to stand on their own, so making an attempt to help out was the right thing to do. Were there some unintended consequences? Probably - there usually are. And by the way, percentage-wise there are more whites on food stamps these days than there are blacks. This dude is the classic "I made it on my own and the heck with everyone else."

Jun. 25 2014 11:41 AM

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Jun. 25 2014 11:40 AM
Joe from nearby

I'm not sure if Jason Riley got the memo, but the liberals of yesteryear fought to free black Americans during the Civil War (or the War of Northern Aggression, as today's conservatives would put it). It was conservatives then as well as conservatives today who are doing their best to keep black Americans from succeeding.

Conservatives are afraid of black Americans because they think that should they get any power, they'll do to the whites what the whites did to the blacks. So if he thinks that liberals aren't helping, just wait and see what would happen if the right-wing conservatives had things their way. E.g. just look at "Moral Mondays" in NC.

Liberals aren't perfect, and liberal programs aren't perfect. But at least liberals aren't evil. Can't say the same for 'cons. Be careful what you wish for, Jason Riley.

Jun. 25 2014 11:40 AM

When asked if there should be a social contract with people who work full time and aren't making a living wage, he immediately shifts to talk about "handouts" to blacks. There are plenty of people who work full time and don't make enough to get by, and they are definitely not all black. He evaded answering the question.

Jun. 25 2014 11:39 AM

Don't you love how Brian questions with glee and provides his own sometimes wrong counteracts to those who have a different philosophy from his own, but lets others who he agrees with politically simply throw out unbacked propaganda almost unscathed. It is kind of funny to listen to segment vs segment.

Jun. 25 2014 11:39 AM

Does the guest think that government handouts to private businesses are also bad?

Jun. 25 2014 11:38 AM
Joe Mirsky from Pompton Lakes NJ

Shaving Shovels

Foreign Laborers at the Hoosier limestone quarry in Bedford, Indiana had their wages cut from 15¢ to 12½¢ an hour in 1907. The men then marched off to the machine shop and had 2½ inches cut from their shovels. “They say short money, short shovels” according to the New York Times November 27, 1907.

The Daily Bulletin of the Manufacturers’ Record, December 14, 1907 titled Shaving Shovels asks “were they actually doing 15-cents-an-hour shoveling before the reduction was made?” In a lengthy commentary the article states that employers have noticed that increased wages have led to decreased efficiency — why work as much if you can get the same money for working less?

And the cause of this decline in the work ethic? “Unfortunate twists that have been given latter-day elementary educational methods have apparently dwarfed, if not destroyed, the sense of responsibility, and consequently, the habit of reliability and dependability.”

The victims of those unfortunate twists “by the hundreds of thousands, cajoled or compelled to remain in school during the years when they should be learning to perfect themselves in productive labor, in the only possible way, working for a wage, and deceived by educational occupations which are essentially play, are turned loose upon the world to make a living with the senses vibrant to the gong for recess or for closing.”

“They naturally come to do as little work as possible without losing their jobs. They are shaving shovels. Presently they will find themselves without shovels to shave.”

So put the kids to work in the schools:
“You say to somebody, you shouldn’t go to work before you’re what, 14, 16 years of age, fine, you’re totally poor. You’re in a school that is failing with a teacher that is failing. I’ve tried for years to have a very simple model. Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”
— Newt Gingrich as quoted in the New York Times, November 19, 2011.

Copyright © 2014 Joseph Mirsky

Jun. 25 2014 11:38 AM
Anonymous from Park Slope

I have witnessed injustice in hiring and compensation in 2014. AA is not enforced and serves no purpose without litigation.

Jun. 25 2014 11:37 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Race based AA, was always going to be drop in the bucket in reversing the legacy of slavery and its legacy of codified, legal discrimination (housing, education) masking as "separate but equal" in the South, or its more insidious silent cousin in the North, with its inertia of "self imposed" segregation and paternal racism.

However, race based affirmative action, whether necessary or justified (at one point), right or wrong - is simply not constitutional - period.

That being said - this country owes ALL its citizens - the dignified right to a quality (especially K-12) education and fair access to housing and capital, especially the descendants of the slaves this country has profited from so handsomely from.

I'm not sure why we need a hack from the News Corp Empire to do the typical pathetic black "conservative" chicken dance to placate his "white establishment" bosses, by not even acknowledging decades of unequal access to quality education.

Jun. 25 2014 11:37 AM

sometimes people are half right. There are plenty of people who do not work because they get benefits. Take a drive through the nj inner cities. plenty of people sitting around on their porches doing nothing. helping those who truly need help is moral and just. those in the system for a decade? decades? generations? um, no. time to send them to work. pride in yourself is something you can't rob ;)

Jun. 25 2014 11:36 AM
The Truth from Becky

Did this numbskull just say "people who make minimum wage are NOT poor" does he even know what minimum wage is in NY???

Jun. 25 2014 11:35 AM
The Truth from Becky

Let's be clear - women of all races and minorities of all races are the focus.

From a woman - Please stop "helping" us because it has worked SO well SO far! NOT.

Jun. 25 2014 11:34 AM
Pablo Alto from Brooklyn

Rubbish. Misdirection on the part of yet another Black "conservative" who wants to be liked and accepted by those who really would prefer that he would be out in the back picking cotton or making dinner.

Jun. 25 2014 11:33 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

"Race," religion, nationality, ethnicity, and any and all physical and cultural differences will remain a barrier for a long time to come, as it has been every since our species differentiated into different "races" maybe 100,000 years ago after leaving Africa and migrating to all parts of the habitable world when there were no countries and borders. WE may reintegrate again in a few thousand years and then all barriers will be virtually unnoticeable. But until then , I suspect nations and borders will be hesitant to allow their ethnic majority to be overwhelmed by immigrants. Especially those who look different and whose cultures and religions are rather different from their own.

Jun. 25 2014 11:32 AM

Cantor got 8,000 fewer votes than in his last primary run - even though 20,000 more votes were cast. Democrats crossing over could have nothing to do with that.

@jgarbuz - "...your womb, or even your butt." So much for secure in their person... You really ought to read the Constitution again.

Jun. 25 2014 11:30 AM

AA aside, raising the minimum wage will be a great help for underpaid females of all races.

Jun. 25 2014 10:24 AM

I don't agree. I was born into a poor southern black family, but was fortunate to be raised by a grandmother who valued education. I have been able to succeed because of it, but I know in many instances I was initially judged not only for being a woman but viewed as an affirmative action case. Not someone who actually posses the skills to compete. I find the fact that because of our skin color some in society feel we are somehow incapable and need some type of handicap to succeed in life quite offensive. Some public programs, while good intentioned have the opposite effect by entrenching stereotypes or keeping people mentally locked out of possibilities of moving ahead for fear of losing some benefit.

Jun. 25 2014 10:22 AM

To my ear, the premise sounds absurd. By lifting the boot of exploitation, we have made it easier for American blacks to subsist and subsist we will. Better for us to learn to deal in America as it is. If we leave well enough alone, American blacks can achieve normalcy on their own. Poppycock. America has repeatedly proven that it will exploit whomever it needs to, whenever it needs to. There are many examples to support and negate the author's premise, however, the fact that at 150 years after emancipation and fifty years after the civil rights movement and voting and housing equality acts of the 60's there exists large gaps between the income, wealth and education levels of the descendants of trans-Atlantic slavery and the rest of the population is its main counter-example. I suggest that without AA and the other 'liberal' programs that the author decries that the gaps would be even larger. Our history is that America prefers to remain bigoted in the employment, housing and education marketplaces until it is forced not to.

Affirmative action is meant to correct the current effects of *prior* discrimination. AA is not the generalized equal employment opportunity initiative that so many white education and jobseekers like to claim. Most of that is just their imagination. It is certainly not 'racial quotas', and it is not 'reverse discrimination'.

One of the other impacts of affirmative action is the slow death of HBCU's - historically black colleges and universities - AA is (slowly) killing their reason for being.

I suppose an argument could be made that '...that was then, this is now...' in which case I would need to see some evidence that America is any where near ready to treat people equally.

Jun. 25 2014 09:22 AM

LOL, I don’t envy Jason Riley.

Watch the leftist vultures addicted to entitlements and protected favorable racial bias dig into him on this one ... including personal vilification and character smears.

The spoils are too big not to bring out the knives.

Jun. 25 2014 09:06 AM
DC from Brooklyn, NY

I assume the status quo of "trickle down" economics works instead?

Jun. 25 2014 08:49 AM

Sneaky. Tie something that should be cancelled (race based AA) to something that is the foundation of developed civilization (minimum wage). Luckily WNYC listeners aren't as stupid as the Foxnews people who eat this stuff up. Glad I'll be at work for this one.

Jun. 25 2014 07:43 AM

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