tv False Black Power CSPAN August 26, 2017 6:02pm-6:40pm EDT
of the manhattan institute. and it's, thank you. [applause] it's a -- it's a pleasure for me to introduce jason riley today as motion most of you jason is senior peel low a regular columnist for "the wall street journal." and a commentator for fox news in his new book, false black power jason offers a critique of civil right leaders an their prior decision power of african-americans the book also could manies responses to aye on's sergeants from two and glenn lowery. it's a slengder book, but it packs a powerful punch as one blogger noted what make had this is book shine is clarity of logic and accessibility of its writing style as fred made it look easy to dance so does riley
express mastery elegance so masm is seems effortless. how did you get to write this? [applause] all right there you go. and it's available for just $10. $6 on kindle and now jason may not get rich with this book but hopefully he'll open a few minds. please join me in welcoming fearless and peerless jason riley. [applause] thank you for that very kind introduction. larry i'm glad you it would a few jokes. i was going to start with the joke. about c-span where i appeared recently that i found out they were covering had this event and wife advised me to back off. so this will be a joke free presentation because that's really all i had. so thank you. thank you larry.
false black power what had am i talking about? in a nutshell, what i'm saying is that -- barack obama needed black voters far more than black voters needed barack obama. and that's not personal attack on the former president. you could substitute in the name of any black politician. and the statement would still hold true. that's what i'm trying to get at in this book. it started out as a column, that grew into a longer essay and then eventually the short book that was recently published. but my intention was to make a fairly simple point. which is what, political activity is not the most effective way of advancing a group economically.
a racial ethnic groups lil success is not automatically lead to economic success. one does not the flow naturally from the other. it is hardly an original observation but an important one that is regularly ignored by civil rights leaders and black political leaders who practice identity licks urnght vote as a block. favoring candidates of their own racial or ethnic background and so forth and i thought the end of the president presidency wase to limit the strategy which has been in place more than 50 years now. since the 1960s, black leaders really prioritized the integration of political institution. and they've had a great deal of success in doing this. on their own terms -- by the early 1980s major u.s.
cities was large black populations cleveland, with detroit, chicago, washington, philadelphia had lengted black mayors. between 1970 and 2010 number of black elected officials grew from fewer than 1500 to more than 10,000. in this country -- including, of course, a black president. in addition we saw proliferation of black police chief and school superintendents and counsel members and state legislatures. racially jerry voting district were created to ensure the election of blacks to congress. and so forth -- the problem was that all of this this political clout is never really paid off economically. for the black poor, which is what we were told would happen. you look at how black underclass faired in detroit from marion
d.c. and sharpe's newark as my manhattan institute colleague fred siegel has noted these black mayors created these unbeatable political machines. in the name of helping the poor. yet the poor became even more on their watch. mississippi is longs bobbied more black elected officials than any other state in the country yet it continues to have one of the highest black poverty rates in the country. there have been case studies of places like atlanta from the 1970s and 80s for example where under black mayors implemented racial and hiring black city works and black contractors. what happenedsome well, well off blacks in those places became better off. but average income black were left behind and the black poor actually lost ground. and that's been the story nation wide in a black political clout not to mention affirmative action and racial set aside
black underclass has lost ground both in absolute terms and relative to the white underclass. in the 1970s and 80s and even into the 90s, the poorest 20% of blacks saw their income hads decline at more than double the rate of comparable whites. this history, i think, should have served to temper expectations for the first black president. without taking away anything from barack obama's historic accomplishment or the country's widespread sense of pride many in the racial progress that his election symbolized, the reality is that there was little reason to believe that a black president was the answer to racial inequalities or the problems of the black poor. i think the expectations are set way too high on the racial front and other fronts at retta article of the weekend in the
new york times which counted as a failure. the obama administration's inability to end -- to end income inequality and i said wow. he was supposed to do that? the expectations i just think were off the charts on many fronts. but particularly on the racial front and what his presidency would be able to do. and sure, black white gaps and household incomes, poverty, home ownership and other measures all widened during obama's term in office. the job situation for blacks did improve towards the end of his second term. but blacks did not see their average unemployment rate fall below double dints until the third month of bum's sefnght year this office.
so now we have more evidence corporation now includes twice elected black president has done little to narrow racial gaps and employment in income and academic achievement and other areas. this is not to say, of course, that blacks should stay out of politics and not run for office. or not engage politically that's not what i'm saying. what i'm questioning is whether gaining political influence should continue to play such a central role in the strategy of black leaders when it comes to advancing blacks economically. or whether their focus should be on other areas. that's because most groups in america and elsewhere is economically have done so with little or no political inthriewns. influence and groups that have enjoyed political success have tended to rise more slowly so
it's not that you can't take the political route. you can. but chances are -- you're going to rise more slowly than other routes, german, jews, italian asian are among those economic gains proceed political gains in america and that's a pattern you see internationally ethnic chinese southeast asia. english and argentina jew and british among other examples all prospered economically while mostly shunning politics. even if a group had the ability to wield political influence they didn't always choose to do so. german grants to the u.s. and colonial times were not lacking in numbers. in fact, there was so many of them that benjamin frank lienal was complaining about how many there were in pennsylvania far become as the 1750s. he said why should pennsylvania
founded by the english become colony of aliens become so numerous to germanize anding ally if iing them. nevertheless germans focused on paying of a the cost of the voyage had other priorities and were well known for avoiding politics. that's a trait they brought with them to the country because we know german immigrants and everywhere are from -- australia to brazil all of the same pattern barvegly shunning politics and establishing themselves economically first. germans began entering politics only after they had risen economically. a counterexample and the example that blacks have followed most closely would be the irish who rose from poverty who rise from poverty with especially flow given that you have these irish
run political organizations. in places like boston, and philadelphia and new york. who are dominating local government. the irish had more political success in the u.s. than any other ethnic group historically after they arrived. yet the irish or the flowest rising group of all european immigrants to america. the political power of a relatively small number of irish are elected officials had had little impact on the economic progress of most irish americans. hft, it wasn't until those political machines started to decline and influence that we saw the swelling of the irish middle class to the point where today average irish incomes and educational payment and so forth exceed the national average. viewed against this history many blacks were expecting obama presidency to have more than
political clout plans to deliver in the u.s. or any other -- the black experience in america i should add is, of course, different from the irish experience in turn different from the chinese or german or jewish -- and indeed we can't really even generalize about the black experience because native blacks have patterns that differ are from black immigrants from the west indies for example or from africa. but that doesn't mean that because we can't make perfect apples to apples comparisons that we have nothing to learn from what other ungrows experience or that no comparisons can be made. many different racial and ethnic minority groups experience various degrees of hardship in the u.s. and other countryings all over world and i think how those groups have dealt with those circumstances is something to study closely and draw
lessons from going forward even if only lesson is to manage expectations. one of the clear lessons from this history is also that human capital, the collective skill and knowledge that create economic value and proven to be far more important than political capital in getting ahead. a racial ethnic group's culture attitude, habits its values, matter more much more than electing people who look like -- and that's reality helps to explain why blacks faired the way they did not only in the obama era but also in theing decades. prior to the 1960s many the first half of the 20th century when blacks were more focused on developing their human capitol, we saw racial gaps narrowing in income. educational aa takenment, representation in the skilled
professions and elsewhere. blacks are not only making gains in absolute materials, they were also gaining on whites. the progress of slow but it was steady. it was happening. yet in the wake of great society welfare state expansions and the black leadership shift to pursuing plel power, more fervently, we saw those previous gains slow. stall in some cases reverse course in other cases. bum's election was the end product of a civil rights strategy that has politicalized false power in my view to advance blacks and eight years later we learned limit of the strategy. i'll stop there and answer any questions you may have. thank you. [applause]
[inaudible conversations] question that's very important to be away from the microphone -- [inaudible conversations] c-span wants to hear your question -- >> would you compare -- 100 years ago washington and the boys about how blacks can rise from poverty. the strategy between the boy in washington have been a little bit exaggerated over the decades. there were more similarities i think than differences.
to civil rights or the importance of -- of advancing using the political system here to advance. and they didn't reject the type of industrial learning that they wanted to focus on. but you see the feeds there of something that blossomed in the post civil rights period when it came to the choices that like martin luther king, jr. wanted to make and choices that more militant blacks wanted to go in with the black parliament had in particular. but the real difference, i think, between these -- old school leadership and today's leadership is also a mindset that is brought to the task. i think everyone from cain to boys to washington and -- and
naacp in early year were focused you know their idea are was that racism was the constant here. we're going to have to succeed notwithstanding. the shift in attitude came in the second half i think, of the 20th century. where attitude became we must see racism vanquished from america for blacks to be held responsible for their own destiny. and that mindset is what is won over won the day, i think, that is mission to this book is on political power. it's also that victim mindset that blacks do encourage to adopt that -- political leaders play off of endlessly. i think that is also hampered progress. >> okay. frank you're in. >> make another strategy two questions -- you send ruben and criticism of
a political clout, to what extent first question any specifically state that creator political clout is counterproductive to advance on a black. second, i was intrigued to learn that john among others is a critic is has a critical essay accompanying in your book to what extent is -- for example, different from your view and how much respond to what you might differ. >> well, on the first question, i think what tends to happen when you get -- when you get a black leaders who wants to play in politics is they become a politician and they had can take presence. so you can take education for example, school choice is hugely popular in the black community. particularly among the black poor. polls off the charts has for decades. barack obama gets in office and
tries to shutdown school program in d.c.. tries to shut down a school program in louisiana. why? not because these programs aren't popular. not in demand -- the charter school weight is hundreds of thousands lost, many of them are minorities on that list. he tries to shut it down because has a political need to satisfy some people that helped hill get elected namely the teachers unions who don't like school choice and he decides tods their bid instead of this ethnic voting bloc that played a large role in electing him his priorities shifted by necessity he became a politician. and that concern i think, is how you can get -- political clout can backfire on the group and immediatiest members of the group that sent what person off to represent them politically in turns of john's criticism john's criticism was -- well part of it really
surrounded they he thinks racial debate in this this country has shifted more to -- the deindustrialization of the country. and how he says the last concern and black intellectuals in his to his mind are really focused on -- blaming social pathology in the get toe on absence factory jobs that that's what, what led to the current state of affairs. and that he thought i should have done more to talk about that in the book. and i think it's a fair point, and people like julius wilson has been making this point for decades i don't buy l argument. inthey get the sequence wrong when they say that in other words the -- social breakdown in the 1960s and inner cities --
preside plight of jobs. detroit -- didn't riot after the factory jobs last. the riots came first. and so i think that's my problem with that deindustrialization argument that some have made. but that was -- some of what john was criticizing about the book by an large he liked it. [laughter] >> all right. right here. if you're in the back make sure you raise your hand so i can see you. okay, go ahead. >> thank you for -- for your enlightening comments i enjoy read your on o ed pieces and your book -- my question to you is a more personal one i would be
interested in the reactions that you get -- receive in the black community to your work. >> well, it depends on -- >> realizing that, of course, that's not monolific. ivelg that depends who you're talking to in the black community. if you're talking to -- clergymen or church-goers siting in pughs or talking to members of black student there, you're going to get three very different reactions so really it just does depend on the audience. >> again it depends. if you -- are speaking to people sympathetic to the naacp's point
of view, and their methods of trying to help blacks, then you're going to get a negative response because a lot of what i write about -- makes a lot of what the naacp is talking about perhaps even its intis answer today relevant if the problem facing blacks today are not primarily racial barrier then there's not much use for them like that to continue saying things he want to say, and a to extent they're out there -- advocating against a chart hadder school which they recently did. they're doing more harm than good. they're not just being different. they're actually doing harm. so it is going to vary. it's going to vary. >> okay i just want to make sure michael goodwin. [inaudible conversations] >> thank you.
the question about president obama, your comments about block voting and example with the teach union i think is well said because the feeling i suspect he had in his campaign was where are they going to go? right the black voters who elected me are going to stay with me. teachers union might stray. and in a number of nonwhite people have made the point that after the obama years there will then be this awakening that black power is not cracked up to be that politically there must be other ways. what do you think that the republicans, independents need to do to attract black voters so that they can have integrated parties that the country as a whole can be less divided racially? >> i think they need to show up in these neighborhoods in their districts . they largely just written off this vote for many, many years no you can wabl over why you think that is and racism or some
other factor but it's political expediency they need this vote to win, and some of the party may look at trump's success an go well we still don't need to vote to win. i mean, a lot of people in my camp over the years were you saying diversifying they won't be able to win national elections. trump proved everything wrong in that front and there's an argument that he proved everyone wrong i think i can push back a little bit. but i think if -- if republican candidates want to do better among black voters they need to spend more time in black communities. they need toe go to the barbershop and grocery stores they immediate to run political ads on black radio stations and do show and black people watch their websites as they visit. i haven't seen that kind of concerted effort.
you see it from time to time mog individual candidates chris christie did it in new jersey when he got reelected in 2013 went into camden went into some and did quite well with the black vote in his reelection in the past you've seen -- people out in l.a. do well on that front and goldsmith in indianapolis paul ryan is someone who is traveled the country with people like bob westen, community leader who has been arranged for a long time. these neighborhoods talk to them in a mode -- rand paul has gone to black colleges and a given speeches i think those are good but i think you need a much larger effort on the part and i think the party if you remember that autopsy report after romney lost, the party said you know this is what we need to do going forward. and then you have this -- you know political earthquake with trump come along and all went out o the window.
>> okay question back there. >> to what degree do you think there's a role for the black elite in the private sector to try to mobilize the black community to, you know, get a recognition of your view and to, you know, disseminate that message? >> there's a role. i mean, it depends many members of these elite that elite group, i think, have become convinced that it is the government that put them in the position they are in todays. in other words, i've spoken to groups of black professionals black 1 percenters who are convinced that actions but for racial preferences. their class of blacks would not
exist so you're still fighting a mindset there that the democratic party has done a brilliant job of -- of pushing on to black america not just encouraging dependents among low income blacks but even upper middle class blacks have dependent mindset we wouldn't be where we are today but for -- big government and so it is a challenge. >> it is a challenge. >> here -- one question over here, right? okay. [inaudible conversations] charles murray wrote in the 80s about the impact of welfare on the progress of the poor, and then later in the 90sing the impact of family disintegration, you look at the situation as it is right now if
you thought about what we do policy wise so that had black poor at least resumed kind of progress they made in the 50s and 60s. well i think it's from a government policy perpghtive like to see the government stop doing it's not that that's new program that needs to come along -- it's doing things we know don't work so if we have well pair programs or government assistance programs that have used to be safety nets but now this war and traps for blacks who spend generation after generation on government dependency we need to think about the incentives that have been put in place regarding work. if we have kids trapped in failing schools, let the school models that we know work proliferate.
stop capping their growth. if we know that we have a lot offed budding entrepreneurs had in brooklyn on off in harlem who want to start their on service or hair braiding store, cut the red tape. eliminate these occupation licensing requirements that hamper the growth of black businesses so there's things i think, that government can do to play a role mostly involved i think, revisiting some of the programs that are out there some of the policies that have been tried making a more humble approach going forward. >> okay we'll touch on that one more question and then we'll wrap it up. ed -- you may recall that ronald reagan got in trouble for going yongd what you said. he said that -- some of the people who are black readers actually wanted the situation to remain bad or even
get worse because without the anger, and resentment, you know, they're out of a job so -- if reagan go too far in suggesting that any leaders had had a vested interest in keeping the situation as -- it is and secondly set aside programs good or bad? theory behind them is people get minority miss women get their foot in the door for the first time and they can take it from there. so would you keep or do e with a with set aside rams? >> i don't think that's the history of set aside programs. i think that history set aside programs are well off, better off as you look at the case studies in places like atlanta where they put in place -- set aside prals for black business and city contractors and so forth that's what happens. the idea of that, these programs are getting used for the poor is i think a myth we're sold that way that's not how they play out in practice. in terms of --
the incentives of black leaders yes there's some truth to that. that -- that black leaders gain or benefit politically by keeping blacks riled up angry, racially par noised and so forth. i think that's part of the reason why you saw in obama indulge a group like black lives matter. that it was politically useful for him to do that. even if he knows that cops are not driving, you know, police shootings are not driving the black homicide rate. it was politically useful to wink at had this group and say listen, you have some points here. and i think we can that he wasn't going to shut them down. and call the nonsense that it is. there's some truth in that. i wouldn't take argument too
far. i don't think i don't to, you know, psychoanalyze these books and say that -- i think that these -- many of these groups people on black left are trying to help in ways they think were, and i think many them are sincere in thinking that more government will help blacks. and so they push the government policies and they believe that. or they believe until -- racism has been eliminated it can serve as all purpose explanation for all that ails black america. they -- they may believe that. i don't think it's true. but i'm not going to sort of put them on the couch and say they don't really believe this but pushing it for this reason. >> one final note we're doing a conference with jason in the fall which will elaborate on many of the themes that we're discussed today but in the meenl time i wish him very good luck with this book and thank you all for coming. [applause]
>> thank you. here's a look at some awforts recently featured on booktv's afterwards. our weekly author interview program. former or breitbart news editor ryan explored limits on freedom of speech arizona senator jeff is flake called for return to the core principles of conservatism. and a policer prize winning
journalist jesse examined how the justice department handles white collar crimes. in the coming weeks on afterwards, radio host mark warns against federal government expansion. harvard university professor daniel alan will discuss how mass incarceration has impacted her family. and this weekend on afterwards, wall street journal writer and former editorial page editor george malone offers thoughts on his publications influence. >> charles is a very -- very strongly believed in free market and free people that's why he wrote an editorial which i'm sure was very unpopular at the time this were 100,000 coal miners out of the work they were on strike. and he wrote an a editorial defending the coal miners which probably wasn't terribly popular on wall street. [laughter] money on mining stocks all of
that sort of something but defending their rights that workers have just as much right to organize as investors did to organize business corporation. so that was one of the points i make in the book is that's kind of a lost day. just to kind of fundamental fit that's carried on pretty much through the history of the wall street journal that's pretty much where the editors are today defending markets. as the journal today defends the parade, trade agreement. and defending people we've had to do when over many years of defending people against the various attorneys of the world. that's some of whom, still exist like cuba for example and now venezuela. afterwards airs on booktv every saturday at 10 a.m. and sunday p.m. 9 eastern an watch all previous awa