Blacks in Power Don't Empower Blacks

March 26, 2018

**FOR IMMEDIATE  RELEASE**  March 26, 2018
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“Traditional values such as marriage, stable families, education and hard work are immeasurably more important than the color of your congressman – or senator, or police chief or president.” - Jason Riley

LOS ANGELES — In the latest video from PragerU, Jason Riley of the Manhattan Institute points out the startling disconnect between the success of black elected officials and the black constituents they represent.

The senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute begins by noting, “Since 1965, the number of black elected officials has exploded. Between 1970 and 2012, it grew from fewer than 1,500 to more than 10,000.”

One would expect that such political gains would lead to economic prosperity for African Americans, but not so says Riley. Actually, as black political influence has grown, African Americans have actually lost ground economically.

This is what happens when our leaders assume identity politics provides the pathway to progress.

Shockingly, when blacks had little political power, they actually made significant economic progress. “In the 1940s and ’50s,” Riley goes on to demonstrate, “black labor-participation rates exceeded those of whites; black incomes grew much faster than white incomes; and the black poverty rate fell by 40 percentage points.”

What’s more, between 1940 and 1970, during the Jim Crow era and its racially oppressive laws, the number of blacks in middle-class professions actually quadrupled. Racial gaps were steadily narrowing without any affirmative action for blacks.

Then along came the War on Poverty, which was supposed to close the gap once and for all. Sady, Riley argues, “Despite billions of dollars of government assistance in the form of welfare payments, housing projects and enforced hiring programs like affirmative action, black poverty rates remained unchanged relative to white poverty rates.”

Thus Riley concludes, “A strong case can be made that to the extent that a social program, however well-meaning, interferes with a group’s self-development, it does more harm than good. Government policies that discourage marriage and undermine the work ethic—open-ended welfare benefits, for example—help keep poor people poor.”

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