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MikeP

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The Guns of August
Barbara W. Tuchman, Robert K. Massie
Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It - Juan Williams I have to confess, I love Juan Williams. Well, except for the times I can’t stand him. I think the ratio is about 1 to 5. Juan and I do not share the same political frame of mind. But regardless of our political differences, I admire him immensely as an honest and honorable player in the media arena. (If you are a FoxNews hater, you will have little idea about him since that is where you have to go to see him). Juan wrote [b:Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It|6649540|Enough The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It|Juan Williams|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328335869s/6649540.jpg|69852] after an event in 2004, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka, where the educational doctrine of “separate but equal” was declared unconstitutional. The Civil Rights movement took off from there. At the event, the featured speaker, Bill Cosby, basically ripped the elites, politicians, leaders of the major civil rights groups for sitting there all puffed up. His main theme was the appalling state of progress one half century after brave men, women and kids fought to get equal access to education and society. Williams uses Cosby’s themes to chronicle the situation in 2004-2006, looking at the low educational results, the “reparations” debate, the crime statistics, historical background, Hurricane Katrina impacts and other aspects of life for black Americans. Cosby came under immense criticism for daring to raise issues “in public”. The book is a sobering look at the state of affairs. It is a quick read, somewhat due to William’s tendency to repeat.

The Civil Rights struggle is one of the most inspiring stories of American history. Williams, with Cosby’s underlying theme, points out how the moral standing of the early leaders, like Dr King, has been squandered in the scramble for government largesse, pandering to people rather than advancing to stake out equality. The courage of the Little Rock Nine to get an education is now demeaned by a cultural idea that to do well in school is not good. A fascinating book. At the end, Williams provides a way out that all can agree with…a way that is proven to work:

The good news is that there is a formula for getting out of poverty today. The magical steps begin with finishing high school, but finishing college is much better. Step number two is taking a job and holding it. Step number three is marrying after finishing school and while you have a job. And the final step to give yourself the best chance to avoid poverty is to have children only after you are twenty-one and married. This formula applies to black people and white people alike.

The poverty rate for any black man or woman who follows that formula is 6.4 percent. The overall poverty rate for black Americans, based on 2002 census data, the year this analysis was done, was 21.5 percent. In other words, by meeting those basic requirements, black Americans can cut their chances of being poor by two-thirds. This is a consistent pattern. By 2004 the poverty rate for any black man or woman who follows that formula is only 5.8 percent. That compares to an overall poverty rate of 24.7 percent for black people in 2004. Another way to look at it is that a black family that does not meet the requirements will more than triple their chances of being poor. Even white American families have a higher poverty rate (7.8 percent) than black people who finished high school, got married, had children after 21, and worked for at least one week a year.

These magical steps to a middle-class life were first laid out in a study by the American Enterprise Institute. “Among adult males with just a high school education of all races, 91 percent had family incomes greater than twice the poverty level,” wrote Charles Murray in the 1986 study, “According to Age: Longitudinal Profiles of AFDC Recipients and the Poor by Age Group.” Murray concluded that “if you are a male in this country, being poor is not easy.” The formula also works for black women who want to avoid poverty, with special emphasis on one key—not having a baby outside of marriage.


I would really like to see him update this book after we have now elected and reelected our current president. What impact is that having on the community? Would be interesting to hear Juan’s take. Five Stars