Thursday, August 24, 2006

More praise for Juan Williams new book

Culture: Via Clarence Page in the Detroit Free Press.

"....And the failure was not limited to government, as my friend and colleague Juan Williams argues in his new book, "Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movement, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America -- and What We Can Do About It." As you might guess from its mouthful of a title, Williams, author of "Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965," targets a failure of black leadership, too. "We are facing a series of crises in the black community today," writes Williams, a senior correspondent for National Public Radio and political analyst for Fox News Network. "A century's worth of progress seems suddenly in peril. The lessons and values that carried an oppressed people from slavery to freedom seem in danger of being forgotten. Hard-won victories seem in danger of being squandered." As Pogo, the cartoon star of our youths, once said, Juan has "seen the enemy and he is us." He takes on the superstar black leaders like the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton -- unfairly, both say -- and major civil rights groups like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for letting our people down. The problems he spotlights are real, regardless of your political pedigree. Whether you think of today's civil rights leaders as genuinely motivated by conscience or feathering their own nests, today's problems of black poverty and opportunity call for a broader array of remedies than those offered by the civil rights medicine cabinet. Williams calls on black parents at all income levels to begin the next revolution with their own children. Few would argue that, as black out-of-wedlock birth rates soar to nearly 70 percent, we need to restore the black family as a bedrock institution of black progress. Williams, like Bill Cosby, also calls on the black middle class, burdened as we may be by our struggles for upward mobility against institutional racism, real or perceived, to reach back through mentoring and other support to help break the culture of poverty. An anti-poverty political agenda also is needed, but with a realization that government can't solve all of our problems. All of this has the makings of a new national consensus on which most Americans can agree across racial lines, as most of us did in the glory days of the civil rights movement."

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