Cliff Notes To Please Stop Helping Us By Jason Riley

After writing the post about the backlash over Virginia Tech’s disinvitation of Jason Riley, I thought I should probably read the book and see what the fuss was about. I found it at the public library. It was an easy read with lots of footnotes. Much of what he wrote confirms the impressions I have from interacting with black people while volunteering at Habitat for Humanity. I thought that what Mr. Riley had to say was important enough that I should write some cliff notes of the book for my personal reference. Here are the parts of the book that I found most significant.


  1. What if there are limits to what government can do beyond removing barriers to freedom? What if the best that we can hope for from our elected officials are policies that promote equal opportunity? What if public-policy makers risk creating more barriers to progress when the goal is the ever-elusive “equality as a result”? At what point does helping start hurting?
  2. Black social and economic problems are less about politics than they are are about culture.
  3. Upward mobility depends on work ethic and family.
  4. Frederick Douglass: “And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs!”

Chapter 1 – Black Man In The White House

  1. The data is going to indicate, sadly, that when the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic category. — Tavis Smiley
  2. The political left, which has long embraced identity politics, encourages racial and ethnic loyalty.
  3. The black left continues to view Booker T. Washington not as a pragmatist, but as someone who naively accommodated white racism.
  4. The 1965 Voter Rights Act morphs into quota system.
  5. The black underclass continues to face many challenges, but they have to do with values and habits.

Chapter 2 – Culture Matters

  1. Though income is the primary indicator, the lack of live-in fathers also is overwhelming a black problem. — Washington Time 2012
  2. The reality was that if you were a bookish black kid who placed shared sensibilities above share skin color, you probably had a lot of white friends.
  3. The achievement gap begins in elementary school and widens in higher grades. By the end of high school the typical black student is several years behind his white peers in reading and math.
  4. Ogbu and his team of researchers concluded that black culture, more than anything else, explained the academic achievement gap. Black kids readily admitted that they did not work as hard as white students.
  5. Another nonwhite group that has thrived academically despite supposedly biased teaching methods is Asians.

Chapter 3 –  The Enemy Within

  1. The New Jim Crow thesis, the drug war was created with the express purpose of re-segregating society.
  2. In 1980 blacks comprised about one-eighth of the population but were half of all those arrested for murder, rape, and robbery, according to FBI data. It has not changed much since then.
  3. “High rates of black violence in the late twentieth century are a matter of historical fact, not bigoted imagination”, wrote William Stuntz. “The trends reached their peak not in the land of Jim Crow but in the more civilized North, and not in the age of segregation but in the decades that saw the rise of civil rights for African Americans — and of African American control of city governments.

Chapter 4 –  Mandating Unemployment

  1. “There is no evil that has inflicted more pain and more suffering than racism”, continues Trumka. “And it’s something that we in the labor movement have a very, very special responsibility to challenge.”
  2. In 2008 economists David Neumark and William Wascher published a book that said, “Our overall sense of the literature is that the preponderance of evidence supports the view that minimum wages reduce the employment of low-wage workers… Moreover, when researchers focus on the least-skilled groups that are most likely to be directly affected by minimum wage increases, the evidence of dis-employment effects seems especially strong.”

Chapter 5 –  Educational Freedom

  1. On average, black fourth and eighth graders perform two full grade levels behind of their white peers.
  2. Since 1970 the public school workforce has roughly doubled and has far outpaced student enrollment.
  3. Charter Schools — Geoffrey Canada — Within a few years the students— almost all black and Hispanic kids from low-income families—were outperforming not only their peers in traditional schools but also white students in posh suburbs.
  4. Of these, 11 find that choice improves student outcomes—six that all students benefit and five that some benefit and some are not affected(1). No empirical study found a negative impact.

Chapter 6 –  Affirmative Discrimination

  1. “The net affect of the preferential treatment, which is preferential in intention more so than in results, is that those blacks who are disadvantaged have fallen further behind under these policies,” Sowell declared. “Affirmative action has typically benefited people who were already well off and made them better off.”
  2. SOWELL: It’s fascinating… I see this happening on all sorts of issues, from Federal Reserve policies on across the board. You’ll say, “Here’s this wonderful program and it will do wonderful things, and the burden of proof is on others to show that it will not do those things.” And no matter how long it’s been going on,it’s never been long enough. It if failed, there just wasn’t enough commitment, the budget wasn’t big enough. It should have a larger staff, wider powers. But there is never any sense of a burden of proof on you to say—when you’ve made this change that has caused such furor in this country, and has gotten people at each other’s throats, including people who have been allies in the past, such as blacks and Jews—there is never any sense of a need for you to advance the empirical evidence to support what you’ve been doing.
  3. Blacks as a group, and poor blacks in particular, have performed better in the absence of government schemes like affirmative action.

Chapter 7 –  Conclusion

  1. “My sadness is that we are probably today more race- and difference-conscious than I was in the 1960s when I went to school.” — Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Backlash Over Virginia Techs Disinvitation Of Jason Riley

There is a saying that it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. When Virginia Tech’s administration dis-invited Mr. Riley it made them look like fools and set themselves up for alumni backlash. This unforced political correctness error affected me in several ways. The first thing I did was stop wearing clothes with Virginia Tech logos on it. I really did not want to defend Virginia Tech’s actions to strangers. The second thing was I started to worry about what I would say to prospective students. Twice a year I am a Virginia Tech volunteer at the local College Fair. I want to talk to the prospective students about our great engineering programs and possibly the best college food, not political correctness gone wild. If we talk about diversity I want to talk about how Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community applies to all people including a black journalist from the Wall Street Journal who has a different solution to our race problems. If you are a student or professor who has problems with Mr. Riley’s conclusions in his book, Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed, you can either ignore him or you can go to his talk and see if he can persuade you to change your mind. People who are truly open minded view this challenge as an educational opportunity.

Backlash at Virginia Tech


Virginia Tech is the 3rd best college campus in the US

I have to brag a little about one of my alma maters, Virginia Tech. Business Insider says it is the 3rd best college campus in the US. A couple of years ago I took my gave my son a guided tour of Virginia Tech. We were going to my niece’s wedding in Charlottesville so a stop at Virginia Tech was along the way. At this time he was planning on going to West Point but he had been accepted at Virginia Tech, too.  I thought this was just a fun diversion. We arrived on  a Friday so it was a school day. It has been many years since I found myself wandering through campus on a school day. My son got a first hand glimpse at what college students and college life look like. It was fun. I reminisced about classes I took in the various buildings. My son wanted to visit the ROTC office so we wandered in that direction. When I was at Virginia Tech participation in the Corp was at an all time low. The Vietnam war had just ended and not many young people wanted a military life. I did not know a single person in the Corp so I only knew in a general sense where the ROTC buildings were located.  I got us in the vicinity before we finally resorted to looking at a map. Several students noticed our confusion and stopped to offer help. One of them knew where it was located and provided directions to the Military building. Although we had not planned on talking to the Commandant the secretary offered to check and see if he was available. He was available. He was a cheerful, helpful guy who answered my son’s questions. He was an older embodiment of the friendly students who gave us directions to the building. I was impressed with everyone’s friendliness. Evidently my son was impressed, too. The next day he announced that he was going to Virginia Tech.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Blacksburg, Virginia

Virginia Tech’s campus has the exclusive use of Hokie Stone, a combination of different colored limestone, which adorn most of its buildings and other campus features, including a memorial to the 2007 massacre at the school.

Blacksburg, Virginia, where the campus is located, is the largest town in Virginia and boasts close relations with the university. V.T. also took home the top spot in campus food.

Police: Va. Tech officer, suspect shot by same gun (AP)

My sympathies go out to the family and friends of Deriek  Crouse. It appears to be another senseless killing as investigators struggle to identify a motive. However as an alumni and parent of a current student at Virginia Tech I was very concerned how the University handled this emergency. Our son told us that the University locked down the campus shortly after the incident. Although the details on the incident were still sketchy at the time I received several emails that night which appeared to convey as much information as they could publicly disclose about an ongoing investigation. Although parents’ expectations can never be met in incidents like this, the University had kept our kids safe and they were now trying to help everyone deal with the tragic event.

This photo released by Virginia Tech shows police officer Deriek Crouse, who was shot and killed Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, during a routine traffic stop on the school's Blacksburg, Va. campus. Crouse, a 39-year-old Army veteran and married father of five, joined the campus police force about six months after the 2007 massacre, the school said. He previously worked at a jail and a sheriff's department. (AP Photo/Virginia Tech)AP – A gunman killed a Virginia Tech police officer Thursday at a campus parking lot and then apparently shot himself to death nearby in an attack that shook the school nearly five years after it was the scene of the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history.

Police: Va. Tech officer, suspect shot by same gun (AP)
Fri, 09 Dec 2011 07:10:06 GMT