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Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End…
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Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That… (edition 2006)

by Juan Williams

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1425145,914 (3.81)1
Half a century after brave Americans took to the streets to raise the bar of opportunity for all races, Juan Williams writes that too many black Americans are in crisis--caught in a twisted hip-hop culture, dropping out of school, ending up in jail, having babies when they are not ready to be parents, and falling to the bottom in twenty-first-century global economic competition. In Enough, Juan Williams issues a lucid, impassioned clarion call to do the right thing now, before we travel so far off the glorious path set by generations of civil rights heroes that there can be no more reaching back to offer a hand and rescue those being left behind. Inspired by Bill Cosby's now famous speech at the NAACP gala celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Brown decision integrating schools, Williams makes the case that while there is still racism, it is way past time for black Americans to open their eyes to the "culture of failure" that exists within their community. He raises the banner of proud black traditional values--self-help, strong families, and belief in God--that sustained black people through generations of oppression and flowered in the exhilarating promise of the modern civil rights movement. Williams asks what happened to keeping our eyes on the prize by proving the case for equality with black excellence and achievement. He takes particular aim at prominent black leaders--from Al Sharpton to Jesse Jackson to Marion Barry. Williams exposes the call for reparations as an act of futility, a detour into self-pity; he condemns the "Stop Snitching" campaign as nothing more than a surrender to criminals; and he decries the glorification of materialism, misogyny, and murder as a corruption of a rich black culture, a tragic turn into pornographic excess that is hurting young black minds, especially among the poor. Reinforcing his incisive observations with solid research and alarming statistical data, Williams offers a concrete plan for overcoming the obstacles that now stand in the way of African Americans' full participation in the nation's freedom and prosperity. Certain to be widely discussed and vehemently debated, Enough is a bold, perceptive, solution-based look at African American life, culture, and politics today.… (more)
Member:trav
Title:Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What
Authors:Juan Williams
Info:Crown (2006), Hardcover
Collections:Read but unowned, Read - total
Rating:****
Tags:current affairs, jclc, social science

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Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It by Juan Williams

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Important diatribe from a respected black news personality. Quotes extensively from Bill Cosby's counsel to black people (which counsel is probably the reason the Left was doing so much to damage his reputation even before the sex scandals revealed in 2015, which are apparently mostly true). ( )
  librisissimo | Apr 24, 2016 |
My husband and I read Enough together. We are great fans of the affable Mr. Juan Williams, a Fox News Contributor.

We wanted to rate this book higher than we did. The subject is an important one. While we found it interesting, the writing is very dense and the main reason for our lower rating was that it was extremely repetitive. Too much so, in our opinion. Eventually, we just skimmed paragraphs which contained information already shared in previous chapters.

This book uses Bill Cosby's 2004 address at Constitutional Hall as a jumping off place to explore the wasted opportunities in today's poor black society. It makes for intriguing sociological commentary and shared the author's conviction that a lack of education and a lack of black leadership has derailed the progress of African-Americans.

Enough could use an update to make it relevant to the disastrous economic situation facing America in 2011. It could also use an editor to pare down the repetitive portions and render the book more readable.

Enough is a good book that needs some tweaking. ( )
  Zumbanista | Nov 14, 2011 |
Juan Williams, Enough. MCRI
September 15th, 2006

Juan Williams, Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure that are Undermining Black America–and What We Can Do About It. Crown, New York. 2006.

The major shortcoming of Juan Williams book is that he doesn’t go far enough. But more of that later. It should first be said that he goes very far indeed, saying much that has needed to be said for years, if not decades. No mean achievement. The subtitle itself sets out much of the structure of the book: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure that are Undermining Black America–and What We Can Do About It. Williams’ discussion is built around Bill Cosby’s speech in 2004 on the fiftieth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, as well as Cosby’s numerous other talks throughout the country since then, including Detroit.

Williams laments the lack of any real leaders in the black community in the tradition of Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Dubois, and Martin Luther King, Jr., all of whom in Williams’ view shared a commitment to black self-reliance and self-determination:

“In its place is a tired rant by civil rights leaders about the power of white people–what white people have done wrong, what white people didn’t do, and what white people should do. This rant puts black people in the role of hapless victims waiting for only one thing–white guilt to bail them out” (32).

He lambasts both Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton as never having really accomplished much, in a way similar to John McWhorter’s scathing reference to “black theatrics.” Returning often to Bill Cosby’s speeches, concurring with Cosby, Williams states, “At some point, people have to take a personal accounting, turn away from any self-defeating behavior, and be sure they are doing everything in their power to put their families and their communities in a position to prosper and advance” (43). Jackson and Sharpton have “slowed the emergence of any new model of national black political leadership” (47). Juan Williams never suggests that Bill Cosby is in a sense the model–Cosby himself has repeatedly stated he’s an entertainer, not a leader, but merely someone sick and tired of it all and speaking out to wake people up to how bad things really are. Williams’ book goes a long way towards helping people do just that by facing the unpleasant facts.

Some of those facts include the diversion of attention and resources from the truly pressing needs of the black community to a futile fight for reparations for slavery. The chapter title says it all: “The Reparations Mirage.”

In a chapter on education, Juan Williams frames his discussion with Cosby’s provocative challenge, “What the hell good is Brown v. Board of Education if nobody wants it?” The dismal statistic of a 50 percent black drop out rate from high school, the best students pilloried as “acting white,” behavior way out of control, and so on, all adds up to deep and endemic crisis for young black people and the community. Cosby, Williams, and others are to be applauded for caring enough about the students themselves that they have publicly confronted and discussed what the issues really are, unlike those who, as Cosby cuts to the quick, are worried “they would lose their gig.” Indeed, there are black leaders and school officials who deserve to, and should, lose their “gig,” for the sake of the children and the future good of the black community.

On the national level in regard to black crime, Juan Williams similarly asserts there has been a failure of leadership:

“Never a word was spoken about the need for black Americans to take up their own war on drugs and on crime as a matter of personal responsibility…. All the silence could not blind anyone to the neon lights flashing sad facts about the severity of black crime. By 2004 federal data showed that black Americans–13 percent of the population–accounted for 37 percent of the violent crimes, 54 percent of arrests for robbery, and 51 percent of murders. Most of the victims of these violent criminals were their fellow black people. This legitimate fear of violent crime by black people spread into every corner of the nation” (116).

To these sad facts, Cosby and Williams rightly emphasize the utter crisis that confronts black America, all of America, and the need to wake up, take personal responsibility, and begin at the most basic level of society, with rebuilding the black family and community, citing the past in about 1950 when 78% of black children were raised in two-parent homes, compared to today with approximately only 34%. Williams also repeatedly emphasizes Cosby’s other major points, education and hard work, giving many inspiring examples.

Part of that rebuilding involves confronting the glorification of violence and sex in hip-hop and rap music and videos. Increasingly widely criticized, and justly, by many people, black and otherwise, for the misogyny and demeaning portrayals and exploitation of women, Williams discusses a number of disturbing and shocking incidents and rappers, highlighting that again black leaders, by failing to speak out and condemn “the corruption of rap for all these years” has “resulted in real damage to the most vulnerable of black America–poor children, boys and girls, often from broken homes” (133).

Throughout his book, Juan Williams demonstrates a firm command of the history of black people in America, the heroic struggle for freedom and dignity. Bringing it alive for black people today, he shows how black history is indeed relevant to the current problems of phoney leadership and community crisis. He seems to be saying the resources are there in the past and in the people; we need to do a better job of drawing on the best and striving to live up to it; we need leaders who can set the right standards, point us in the right direction, and demand we struggle for the mountain top.

My only misgiving with his book is that he seems studiously to avoid the subject of affirmative action, which I believe is a significant part of the problem, undermining self-determination and providing false excuses for failure or the lack of personal development. Unlike John McWhorter who directly takes on affirmative action, Williams may feel it’s best just to discuss the need for personal and community responsibility, cultural improvement.

I would argue the psychological chains binding the wrists of the black community must be cut, if any true progress is to be made. After all, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI), up for a vote in the very same year Williams publishes his book, will almost certainly pass and quite probably help further lead to a nationwide end of racial preference. Williams ignores the entire issue. It seems to me that Ward Connerly, Shelby Steele, Thomas Sowell, and others are more perceptive in this regard, kicking the destructive, misbegotten crutch away. But for anyone interested in an insightful survey and analysis of the issues that will remain and must be confronted on November 8th, Juan Williams’ Enough may be one of the best place to begin.

Frederick Glaysher
http://www.fglaysher.com
  fglaysher | Apr 2, 2008 |
NPR correspondent Juan Williams builds upon Bill Cosby's controversial 2004 speech to address problems within the African American community. He blames pervasive economic, education, and crime woes on negative role models and self-defeating behavior. The author also criticizes as misguided the efforts of black leaders, and urges a return to traditional values.

It seems that many today have forgotten the sacrifices made by many during the civil rights movements. These brave person even moved forward knowing that they faced the possibility of death itself just so that future generations could have a chance at a better education. Just a note, the book does contain some strong language. ( )
  mramos | Jan 10, 2008 |
Let me start by saying that I am not African-American, so this feels like an "outsider looking in" discussion. I do live in Birmingham, AL though, where talks of race, economics, education and history are brought to the forefront of discussion, news, etc. every day.
With that disclaimer out of the way...

I thought Juan Williams did a fantastic job of shining a light on the social ills of the past 50+ years.
I thought his arguments were well constructed and clear. And I found it very hard to counter his logical approach. His presentation was so logical and "non-involved" that he could have been arguing about anything. But I understand that his "emotional disconnect" is what some people have a problem with.
But an "emotional argument" is one of the things that Williams seems to be writing against. Williams thinks that blacks (as he referred to them in the book) are so angry and tired and historically downtrodden that they can't lift their heads to look at the world pragmatically enough to maneuver upwards. Williams called them "blinded". He never said it was their fault they were initially blinded. But he did say that it's their fault they keep themselves blinded.

Williams wrote this book, on the heels of Bill Cosby's speech given at a benefit dinner in Washington D.C honoring 50 years of Brown v. B.O.E. Needless to say, Williams agreed 100% with The Cos and uses that speech as a rough outline and (often times) the only emotional elements in his arguments.

Williams also went on to talk about contemporary black culture. Primarily concerning himself with rap music for encouraging young folks to persue a life of self-indulgent self-hurting lifestyle.
Williams also took issue with black culture's "leadership". We've all seen them on TV, invoking the names of this slain civil rights leader or that beating victim from 50 years ago, or even Jesus. Williams says that this leadership has gotten so good at emotional connecting and stirring the populace with these tales of victims, that they have ingrained a sense of "we're always gonna be a victim" into the culture.

Williams says this fact holds black people back more than anything.
His points of comparing today's leaders to yesterdays tips when he cites many cases where today's civil rights leaders fight for lesser jail time for crack dealers that are black, solely because they are black. Whereas, yesterday's leaders fought to be treated as equals to everyone else, even in the case of jail terms and sentencing.
Many people have taken exception to Williams arguments and fortunately Williams takes the time to counter some the reports we've read in news accounts and points out errors in their logic and arguments.

If you are looking for a fiery emotional plea for the plight of blacks, this isn't it. This is simply a cold logical look at the status of our world and where do we go from here. Williams is operating under the idea that black people have been kept down for so long and have felt hopeless for so long that their anger and emotional outrage keep them blind to the possibilities of rescuing themselves. It's a bitter pill that may or may not need swallowing, but it's a pill that's well worth reading. I learned a lot about people and places that I had heard of, but never knew about (to my delight, the whole "40 acres and a mule" thing is clearly explained). So it's also a good primer for those of us who aren't true civil-rights academics.

A highly recommended read for anyone interested in the current civil rights movement and the future of our country. ( )
  trav | Sep 29, 2006 |
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Half a century after brave Americans took to the streets to raise the bar of opportunity for all races, Juan Williams writes that too many black Americans are in crisis--caught in a twisted hip-hop culture, dropping out of school, ending up in jail, having babies when they are not ready to be parents, and falling to the bottom in twenty-first-century global economic competition. In Enough, Juan Williams issues a lucid, impassioned clarion call to do the right thing now, before we travel so far off the glorious path set by generations of civil rights heroes that there can be no more reaching back to offer a hand and rescue those being left behind. Inspired by Bill Cosby's now famous speech at the NAACP gala celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Brown decision integrating schools, Williams makes the case that while there is still racism, it is way past time for black Americans to open their eyes to the "culture of failure" that exists within their community. He raises the banner of proud black traditional values--self-help, strong families, and belief in God--that sustained black people through generations of oppression and flowered in the exhilarating promise of the modern civil rights movement. Williams asks what happened to keeping our eyes on the prize by proving the case for equality with black excellence and achievement. He takes particular aim at prominent black leaders--from Al Sharpton to Jesse Jackson to Marion Barry. Williams exposes the call for reparations as an act of futility, a detour into self-pity; he condemns the "Stop Snitching" campaign as nothing more than a surrender to criminals; and he decries the glorification of materialism, misogyny, and murder as a corruption of a rich black culture, a tragic turn into pornographic excess that is hurting young black minds, especially among the poor. Reinforcing his incisive observations with solid research and alarming statistical data, Williams offers a concrete plan for overcoming the obstacles that now stand in the way of African Americans' full participation in the nation's freedom and prosperity. Certain to be widely discussed and vehemently debated, Enough is a bold, perceptive, solution-based look at African American life, culture, and politics today.

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