Wall Street Journal columnist and Manhattan Institute scholar Jason L. Riley appeared on C-SPAN to discuss his new boo “False Black Power.” In an interview, he explained that political power did not necessarily also bring about an increase in socio-economic status to members of the black American community. Riley cited the example of Asian Americans who, while they have relatively little political power, manage to "knock it out of the park" as to yardsticks such as personal income and educational attainment.
Turning to American history, he recalled that Benjamin Franklin was once concerned that the number of Germans living in America would effectively “Germanify" the country in the 1750s before they could become "Anglified." German Americans, Riley said, did not pursue political power but quickly gained socio-economic status as a group.
Black Americans, Riley said, have great political power. They have pursued the wrong goals ever since the Great Society programs of the Civil Rights era, choosing those instead of improving their socio-economic status. Black Americans, he said, have seen a decline in income and educational attainments.
Voters, including black Americans, who expected that eight years of Barack Obama at the White House would eliminate income equality, had “ridiculous expectations.” Moreover, Riley said, “The strategy of the Civil Rights movement, particularly since the 60s, has been the wrong one at that front, and given what we’ve seen in patterns of other groups, there really should have been no expectation that this would fare any better than it has.”
Earlier this year, Riley spoke at an historically-black college in Pennsylvania. Following a presentation concerning police shootings and crime rates, as well as personal responsibility, Riley was asked a question by a student in the audience: “‘How do I get a job at The Wall Street Journal.’” Regarding personal responsibility, Riley said that his talk to black students, black professors, and black administrators, was not controversial. “Everything I had said was commonsensical to them,” he said. “The only pushback I got was from white faculty members at the reception afterwards.”