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Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed
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Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,360 ratings  ·  211 reviews
Why is it that so many efforts by liberals to lift the black underclass not only fail, but often harm the intended beneficiaries?

In Please Stop Helping Us, Jason L. Riley examines how well-intentioned welfare programs are in fact holding black Americans back. Minimum-wage laws may lift earnings for people who are already employed, but they price a disproportionate number o
Hardcover, 174 pages
Published June 17th 2014 by Encounter Books
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Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
Jason Riley is such an underrated pundit in the political universe. In this provocative book, Riley makes the case that well-intentioned policies designed to lift up the black community are actually undermining them. Using concrete data and studies, Riley shows the reader how minimum wage increases, reduced policing, affirmative action, and welfare programs actually hurt vulnerable communities (such as the black community) more than they help. This book absolutely deserves it’s endorsement from ...more
Jonathan Blanks
Oct 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
Cross-posted from my blog, The Blanks Slate

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 con
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: current-events
I was asked to read this, so I did. It was actually better than I expected. Well written and interesting. Three thing make me give this rating I did. First, and probably most important, he spends much of the books telling us liberals what we believe, what we do, and what we say. In many cases I believe he is wrong. Second of all, he seems to confuse causation and correlation on a number of occasions. Finally, I was disturbed that most of the references he cited were to books or magazine articles ...more
Jan 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
205 pages of right wing propaganda that bottom lines blacks just need to behave.
Joya Cousin
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, diaspora
Excellent work - a must read for every African American! This book follows in the tradition of historical black scholars such as Frederick Douglas and Booker T. Washington, and celebrates the work of Thomas Sewell. The descendants of African slaves need to wake up to the reality of the damage done by the cultural norms we have allowed to proliferate and the politics we have emotionally aligned ourselves with. We need to start accepting responsibility for our own destiny. An African American bill ...more
David Kinchen
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
BOOK REVIEW: 'Please Stop Helping Us': Black Conservative Deconstructs Unintended Consequences of Affirmative Action, Minimum Wage Laws, Public Schools


Ever since it was published in June, Jason L. Riley's "Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed" (Encounter Books, 184 pages, index, $23.99) has been attacked by the liberal establishment and black talking heads who continue to deliver the "It's not our fault, it's white racism" argume
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. More people need to read this book. We need a rise in personal responsibility to learn, achieve, produce, and give back in this country.
Omari Souza
Mar 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
While I happen to be a firm believer that all opinions happen to have value, I find the majority of the authors view points to be inaccurate and far reaching. As liberal male of color, I am the first to acknowledge that liberals have had their failings in regards to assisting the Black community. I will also be the first to acknowledge that blacks have much improvement they need to make internally, but again feel the author continuously confuses correlation with causation in his writing.

A clear
Bill Powers
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Riley has done a very good job making his argument backed up with data. For many older people who have lived through 50 plus years of liberal brainwashing, it may be too late. But this book should be required reading for young blacks, who can then make up their own minds on what is in their best interest.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well researched, there are pages plus sources for every chapter, but it's one of those reality stats books which will only be relevant to logic, thinking factors of outcomes. The reality of the political parties actual policies in 2014 USA does not want to be read for outcomes by liberals. And as such will be rejected by Dems. It will be read by the "choir" who see this result and those whose tax structures have been decimated at the same time the longer it has increased. And especially within l ...more
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow — 4.5+ stars easily

Riley’s book takes a hard look at the causes of black underachievement. He looks at political, educational, economical, historical, and cultural factors and pulls no punches in calling out those who are part of the problem more than the solution. The writing is engrossing and conversational, flowing easily despite being full of citations. Recommended for anyone interested in anthropology, history, and public policy.

Rather than summarizing or quoting the entire book, here a
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Jason Riley, a member of the editorial board of the WSJ, does an excellent job of arguing his position that many of the well-intended policies that are meant to help African Americans actually help to hold them back and that part of the responsibility for black achievement (or lack of it) lies with their own behavior. He quotes Martin Luther King who once said, “We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world too. We can’t keep on b ...more
Brice Karickhoff
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
I think this was an über important read, if nothing else, to hear a diversity of opinions! It was a little technical, but well written, so it was easy to read through. Honestly it compares quite well to “When Helping Hurts”, except instead of the global poor, it’s black America, and instead of the church, it’s the DNC. Challenging but important content.

The best thing about this book was that it was factual and straightforward. It had an obvious political leaning (more to follow), but the writin
Thomas Achord
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, culture
One of the most important books I've read. Two quotes summarize the book's thoroughly researched and argued message:

“There is a much stronger case to be made that efforts to help blacks have had more pernicious and lasting effects on black attitudes and habits than either slavery or segregation...”

“Any candid debate on race and criminality in the United States must begin with the fact that blacks are responsible for an astoundingly disproportionate number of crimes, which has been the case for a
Michael Stumborg
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When I wrote Hillary Clinton's Village , my original outline included a chapter on how Big Government was destroying the American family. My research lead me to this book, and to the conclusion that I could add nothing more, nor say it better, so I nixed that chapter and included Riley’s best selling book as a reference. This book is destined to become the classic treatment of the demise of the black family, just as Bowling Alone has become the classic treatment of the demise of A ...more
Luisa Geisler
Feb 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
The only reason why I finished this book was so I could say I hated it from beginning to end. Shallow, unscientific (and plain stupid) propaganda.
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was really impressed with this book. The empirical data that the author presents at the very least questions, and most likely, out and out refutes the policies enacted in the last 50 years meant to help blacks, but which, in reality, have hurt blacks in America.

I will give the liberals the benefit of the doubt and say that they probably were genuinely trying to help black people with programs like welfare, affirmative action, minimum wage requirements, educational quotas and the like.

But what
Michael Canoeist
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A short book but a thorough case against 50 years of dubious policies toward African-Americans by our paternalistic government. Riley mixes stories from his own life with logical analysis and the results of a lot of studies. This is critical thinking, and each of those words counts double the way he writes. The book makes a devastating case against that paternalism and the effects it has helped to produce. American "liberals" will get a concise accounting of what their sympathies often support, ...more
Jim Dowdell
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Joe Biden; you do not own the black vote.
Please Stop Helping Us, published in 2014, is a must read for voters who want to vote intelligently. The DNC and mainstream media so perverted reality that a reassessment of where we were in the Obama era is needed. This book is a ticket to the truth train for anyone who still has the capacity for reason rather than hype.
The rich white kids burning and looting poor neighborhoods in the name of “black justice” are only interested in burning our society dow
Mark Lickliter
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was excellent. Riley examines the political left's serial altruism over the past half century and finds it wanting. He asks the probing question: "Have popular government policies and programs that are aimed at helping blacks worked as intended?" and answers compellingly throughout the rest of the book that the facts demonstrate that they have not (p. 3). I can't say any of it better than Riley does (he has caused me to want to explore this issue more fully) so I'll just offer a few hi ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Once upon a time, the NYT released a list of Anti-Racist books to read. Like a good bibliophile and researcher, I wrote them down and added them to my Goodreads list. At some point during the process, this book came up on the "people who have read this also read this" suggestion box. Being a firm believer in reading both sides of the story (the truth usually, for me, seems somewhere in the middle) I added it and toddled off to the library, enormous To-Read list of call #s in tow.

All of the book
Eric Wright
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jason L. Riley lays down the fact-hammer hard on social policy's which have for long been hailed as the cure-all for any problem haunting the black american. He meticulously picks apart several preconceived notions of liberal victories won in the struggle to aid the black American, and the reader gets a different point of view about everything from Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on poverty", the affect it had on the black family, to how affirmative action in fact helps all the wrong people. Riley is f ...more
John Devlin
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Short but well researched. Riley lays a seemingly irrefutable empirical basis for the notion that the underperformance of blacks in the last 50 years is not in the institutions but in themselves. He fires an arsenal of objectivity at the Left who proposes to help black through affirmative action, expansion of Civil Rights legislation but ironically has the opposite effect.

I was aware of most of these issues as it relates to fatherhood, poverty, violence and education but Riley does a top-notch j
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Written by a black, conservative Wall St editor on how the liberals in our society are actually hindering progress in black America. It made a great deal of sense to me. However, I need to read the other side to perhaps get a bigger picture. And even then, I may never understand.
Jennifer Haug
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the second book I read on this topic of how policies meant to help Black people are actually hurting them. Like Affirmative Action, lack of access to vouchers for school choice, etc. This book primarily focuses on the education side. As a white person, books like this lead me to more questions:
- How can society help Black people effectively? Where I do believe personal responsibility is vital to a strong society; society as a whole needs to change who we "look up to". As role models for
Victoria Kieser
May 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
I got so much more out of this book reading it alongside Elizabeth Hinton's From The War on Poverty to the War on Crime. I would highly recommend reading the two together, where they agree and disagree is really insightful. ...more
John Mcjohnnyman
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
On the surface, the arguments in this book completely destroy policies favoring multiculturalism, and gives good examples of how unintended consequences of liberal policies from the last 5o years actually undermined the stated objectives. Riley also demonstrates that equality of opportunity and self-reliance is the only appropriate method of social engineering that has the potential to permanently lift people up, regardless of their circumstances.

Where the book fell out of favor for me was its
Jeff Koloze
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jason Riley challenges the political correctivity of a stifling Democratic and liberal control over African Americans in his new book, Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed (New York: Encounter Books, 2014). Joining the ranks of the esteemed Bill Cosby and other like-minded African Americans, Riley will be attacked for printing what every reasonable person has known for years but has been too afraid to confirm for fear of being labeled racist by the powers tha ...more
Sherry Martin-Shores
I won Jason L. Riley's book, Please Stop Helping Us, through a Goodreads giveaway. As a born again Conservative, I thought I knew almost everything about the Conservative/Liberal movement. I was wrong. Mr. Riley's book was an eye opener for me. It was easy to read and easy to understand. He backed his statements up with data and statistics. Why are blacks not moving ahead in today's society? Many blacks blame the white man, poor schools, lack of money, and the list goes on. It's not just one fac ...more
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sociology
The book is a compilation of how government interference in the lives of black Americans trying to uplift their status resulted in holding them back. Covers economics, education and employment. Most of the social engineered programs helped those who didn't need the help and did very little to uplift blacks. An example would be that the minimum wage did little for blacks as it caused them to lose jobs, but did more for whites who already lived in households making more than $50,000.00 in income. ...more
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"Please Stop Helping Us" 2 12 Mar 08, 2019 09:51AM  
OK, Let's read the book and all sit at the kitchen table and talk about it. 1 18 Aug 04, 2014 05:17PM  

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Jason L. Riley (born July 8, 1971) is an American journalist, a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board. He is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and frequently appears at the Journal Editorial Report, other Fox News programs and occasionally on C-SPAN.

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Oh hey, we're nearly halfway through 2021! We can't really believe it either... Traditionally, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial...
71 likes · 11 comments
“The sober truth is that the most important civil rights battles were fought and won four decades before the Obama presidency. The black underclass continues to face many challenges, but they have to do with values and habits, not oppression from a manifestly unjust society. Blacks have become their own worst enemy, and liberal leaders do not help matters by blaming self-inflicted wounds on whites or “society.” The notion that racism is holding back blacks as a group, or that better black outcomes cannot be expected until racism has been vanquished, is a dodge. And encouraging blacks to look to politicians to solve their problems does them a disservice. As the next chapter explains, one lesson of the Obama presidency—maybe the most important one for blacks—is that having a black man in the Oval Office is less important than having one in the home.” 13 likes
“Education is not the only area where an oppositional black mindset has been detrimental to social and economic progress. Black cultural attitudes toward work, authority, dress, sex, and violence have also proven counterproductive, inhibiting the development of the kind of human capital that has lead to socioeconomic advancement for other groups.” 4 likes
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