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The book “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed” discusses the negative influence of social policies and legislation on the socio-economic development of African Americans. The author links his arguments to the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act that was enacted in1964 to promote equality by illegalizing discrimination based on factors such as race, religion, and sex. Throughout the book, the author argues that the liberal initiatives that were aimed at promoting equality and economic development have had the opposite effect. The policies have suppressed all efforts for development and growth.
The book covers several topics such as minimum-wage laws, affirmative action, crime laws, occupational licensing requirements, the social-welfare program, and their effects on the wellbeing of African Americans. The author cites the social-welfare program as an example of an initiative that has destroyed the nuclear family and discouraged African Americans from pursuing socio-economic independence because of government’s support that has stifled their desire for progress. Minimum-wage laws have pushed many people out of jobs while poor law enforcement has increased the risk of incarceration for those living in poor and crime-prone neighborhoods.
The author argues that liberal policies are ineffective and have not yet attained their desired objectives. For instance, affirmative action either propels African Americas to academic environments that stifle their desire for learning or help those who are already educated. Affirmative action was enacted to address discrimination that had been affecting minority groups in the United States for a long time.
However, the small number of African American college graduates is a proof of the policy’s failure to address the problem. Majority of the group’s members have not benefited in any way. The author presents evidence to expel the notion that his arguments are based on hypothetical assumptions that are baseless. The book contains several examples that explain why efforts to help African Americans fail and cause more harm than good. The book discuses the counterproductive outcomes of policies aimed at helping African Americans and other minority groups attain socio-economic development and prosperity. The book links the effects of the aforementioned policies to problems such as rampant unemployment, violence, high rates of incarceration, family disorganization, and educational deficiencies.
The author discusses various social policies in a way that is easy to understand and that expels all confusions and controversies that exist regarding their significance and effect. For instance, the minimum-wage law is a highly controversial legislation that is prone to misinterpretation especially by politicians. However, the author handles the topic in a convincing and clear manner that compels the reader to agree with his argument. In order to support his arguments, the author discusses various polices from different perspectives. In addition, the presentation and depth of arguments give the issues great urgency and importance.
The book deals with tough political and social challenges in an open and creative manner that initiates social discourse regarding the way forward. The writing style is straightforward and makes use of anecdotes to support arguments thus enhancing its authenticity and accuracy. Discussion of issues adopts a chronological style as the author compares the state of affairs before the policies were implemented and the current situation in contemporary society.
An important strength of the book is the author’s courage and audacity. He does not shy away from the truth and speaks his mind without fear of criticism or rebuke. For instance, he starts the book by exploring a conservative theme regarding the importance of political power in the advancement of African Americans. He criticizes President Obama and argues that his presence in the White House has done little to help African Americans advance and gain economic prosperity (Riley 6).
The author speaks his mind on all issues covered in the book. He criticizes Obama’s policies and declares his presidency a failure. The author notes that advancement is more about culture than political supremacy. He openly admits that Obama’s presidency reveals that African Americans have advanced politically. However, they are still backward because politics is not an important component in the advancement of African Americans (Riley 8).
The book contains many personal opinions of the author that are subjective and seemingly biased. However, they stimulate the thinking of the reader and present different perspectives that challenge their beliefs and convictions. In the first chapter, he is very blunt and critical of Obama. For instance, he criticizes African Americans for being very loyal to President Obama despite his poor economic record (Riley 14). The author is courageous and does not hesitate to say what he thinks about certain matters.
The book is very informative and exhaustive in its discussion of specific issues. For example, he discusses how minimum wage has affected African Americans and its role in increasing unemployment (Riley 101). The author stretches and deepens the understanding of the reader’s perception regarding the progress attained by African Americans over the years under different political regimes. For instance, he discusses the state of affairs during the 19th and 20th centuries and compares them to current times (Riley 22-28).
This extensive discussion of issues gives the reader great insights, widens and deepens their understanding, and challenges their thinking. The author provides statistical data sparingly. He only uses statistics to provide evidence and support his arguments. This increases the authenticity and accuracy of his arguments. Historical anecdotes are also included in the book and help the reader to connect the past with the present. This approach makes reading the book engaging because the reader is compelled to make connections and evaluate issues from different perspectives.
The writing style adopted by the author is simple and appealing because it uses plain language, which makes it easy to understand. He avoids complex vocabulary and hard-to-understand statistical data. Instead, he uses personal stories of his experiences as an African American struggling to thrive in a society that looks down on minority groups. The genuineness and integrity of the author is evident because he does not hide his opinions regarding thorny issues such as race and unemployment. This is largely due to the experience attained from his career as a journalist. He knows how to attract the attention and sympathy of the reader.
For example, his personal stories make the reader sympathize with him and reconsider their opinions regarding certain politically-distorted issues such as race, unemployment, and crime among African Americans. The book is a great read because it blends personal and empirical information to offer great knowledge and insights into some of the most controversial issues in contemporary American society. He discusses the afflictions that African Americans have suffered with regard to access to quality education and how they have affected their development (Riley 128).
There are several inconsistencies in the book that reveal the author’s hypocrisy and bias. For instance, he narrates a story about how his parents relocated from a predominantly black neighborhood due to high crime rates. He applauds the decision to move to a neighborhood that was predominantly populated by whites. This pattern of thinking is compromised when he criticizes government policies that aim to relocate poor African Americans to neighborhoods that are predominantly white.
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This contradiction leaves the reader questioning the author’s integrity and authenticity. It is important for an author to give his opinions, hold on to them, and defend them at all costs. The author’s contradictory perspectives on a single issue reveal that he is undecided on the matter. If he applauds his parents’ decision to move to a white-dominated neighborhood then he should also applaud government policies that seek to do the same.
Certain points of view in the book are misguided and in need of clarification because the author gives information that does not reflect reality. He cites American liberalism as the main factor that led to implementation of policies that barred the development of African Americans. However, the first documented affirmative-action initiative was initiated by Richard Nixon. Philadelphia Plan was a policy that aimed to help African Americans secure jobs in an industry that was dominated by whites.
The author cites the plan through a secondary source and as a result obscures the real role played by conservatism. Proper citation and reference would have rightly justified the role played by conservatism in defending black liberty and emancipation from economic and social discrimination. It is also important to note that the Republican Party played a role in the creation and implementation of policies that stifled the development of African Americans.
The book is awash with anecdotes from the author’s personal life. The stories play an important role in augmenting the empirical evidence presented in the book. However, they make the book appear more of an autobiographical piece of literature than an academic book aimed at increasing the knowledge and understanding of the reader. Some of the chapters focus too much on personal life of the author making the book appear like his life story.
The anecdotes make the book an interesting and insightful read. However, the approach does not fit the expository nature of the book because it makes a large portion of the information personal. Personal stories are usually subjective and the author could have twisted the anecdotes to fit his objective while writing the book. On the other hand, the book focuses solely on the weaknesses of certain policies that failed to achieve certain objectives for which they were created and implemented. The author could have included sections of positive aspects of the policies because even though they have failed, they have had benefits too.
What I learnt
After reading the book, I learnt a lot and increased my knowledge regarding the challenges that African Americans and other minority groups face. The book is very insightful and informative because the author discusses issues that have dominated religious, political, social, and academic discourses for many decades. The book presents the issues in a stimulating way that helps the reader to fully comprehend their adverse effects on African Americans. The book’s discussion of historical facts, deep exploration of black issues, and application of logic makes the book excellent literature that I would recommend to others.
The author’s discussion of various issues is well documented, honest, and rejects political rhetoric that has been applied for many years in efforts to solve issues that afflict minority groups in America. The book contains information that can be used to influence and shape American thinking and policies in the present and future as the country seeks solutions to these difficult issues. I would recommended this book to anyone interested in exploring the development of African Americans over time and the challenges they face today in a society that is required to offer liberty and justice for all. The book reveals the extent to which inequality and discrimination still exist in contemporary society despite efforts to eradicate them.
The book explores some of the most important issues that afflict African Americans in contemporary society. The creation and implementation of social polices was aimed at eradicating inequality and helping minority groups attain socio-economic development. However, the policies failed in attaining that goal and instead stifled their growth and development. The author discusses important topics such as minimum-wage laws, soft-on-crime laws, affirmative action, and social welfare in an open and stimulating manner.
His courageous and blunt approach is commendable because it reveals his authenticity and readiness to confront matters that have been a reserve of political, academic, and social discourses. The book is informative, thorough, and insightful. The reader gets an opportunity to walk in the shoes of African Americans and experience the daily struggle that minority groups go through in their efforts to live the American dream. The book sets the stage for discourses to find a way forward because it is evident from the empirical evidence presented in the book that many policies are not working in favor of African Americans.
Riley, Jason. Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed. New York: Encounter Books, 2014. Print.