Jason Riley’s False Black Power published today
Jason Riley of the Manhattan Institute, whom you may recognize as a frequent panelist on Fox News's Special Report, has written an elegant short book that makes a powerful case on the solution to race relations in the United States. As the title indicates, Riley believes that America's African-American community has been badly served by the emphasis on achieving political power as a means to advance. Much more important, in his view, are the "skills, habits, and values" (p.43) necessary for personal ambition and achievement.
It is not a message that will be received eagerly by nearly all of the political class, which believes itself to represent black political interests. The people therein are invested deeply in the victimology narrative, in which all the troubles of blacks are attributable to white racism.
What makes this book shine is the clarity of its logic and accessibility of its writing style. In a short book, Riley makes his case powerfully. Riley is one of those writers who makes it look easy to write, because his prose is so clear and straightforward that it seems like the natural, inevitable way one would choose to express an idea.
He also had the guts to include critiques from two leading black intellectuals, John McWhorter and Glenn Loury, and his response. This is a man to respect because he is after the truth and results, not cheap points.
Take it from an editor: this is the hardest kind of writing to do, and Riley is a master. Just as Fred Astaire made it look easy to dance, so does Riley express his mastery through elegance so natural that it seems effortless.
This is a dangerous book for Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Keith Ellison. I have a genuine question over how many blacks will be among its readership. It is deeply subversive, so it ought to have considerable appeal. The fact that it is available for six bucks on Kindle ought to encourage them to give it a try. All that is necessary is for Jesse J. to denounce it in the harshest terms.