Book Review: Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America—and What We Can Do About It
Publication Date: Aug 01, 2006
List Price: $25.00 (store prices may vary)
Page Count: 256
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann and Pearson PLC
Book Reviewed by Kam Williams
"Reparations sends a message to Americans of every other race that blacks are wards of the state because they are a broken people. Social ills in the black community would be exaggerated as black people, flush with one big check, decide they don't need school, don't need a job, and remove themselves from the vitality of mainstream American life.
The suffering of ancestors is not a claim ticket for a bag full of cash. Who wants money in their pocket that is stained with the blood of slaves? That is obscene. The great civil rights struggle has always been for the right to an equal opportunity to compete. Why start begging?"
’ Excerpted from Chapter 3, The Reparations Mirage
Bill Cosby ignited a firestorm of controversy a couple of years ago when he delivered a speech to the NAACP suggesting that poor black folks must shoulder a share of the responsibility for their ongoing economic, education, housing and social woes. The debate inspired by those caustic remarks continues to rage, the latest being Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America and What We Can Do About It, an eloquent endorsement of Cosby by Juan Williams which unfortunately appears to be a calculated attempt to twist the comedian's message into Republican recruitment propaganda.
Williams, a columnist at the Washington Post for 21 years and a frequent guest on National Public Radio as a senior correspondent, is currently best known for his appearances as a panelist on the Fox News Channel. While he ostensibly serves as a counterbalance to the right-wing network's parade of neo-cons, any casual observer of his deferential demeanor on Fox can easily infer that his true leanings tend to be more middle-of-the-road than liberal. Plus, his son, Antonio, is an up-and-coming Republican in the District of Columbia.
So, it comes as no surprise, that the political pundit would now hijack Cosby's theme to use it as the cornerstone of a diatribe which basically blames African-Americans themselves and their Democratic leaders for the assortment of ills which still beset the community. Williams has rather harsh words for everyone from Reverend Jesse Jackson to Julian Bond to reparations advocate Randall Robinson to former mayors Sharpe James (Newark) and Marion Barry (Washington, DC). But he reserves perhaps his cruelest criticism for Reverend Al Sharpton whom Juan alleges to be an opportunist financed by Republicans, an FBI informant, a con artist with a cocaine problem, a self-serving charlatan, a front man for predatory lenders, and more.
When not indulging in character assassination, the author devotes his attention to topical issues such as the handling of Hurricane to Katrina. Enough's most mind-boggling passages are those covering the tragedy, especially since the book is dedicated to "the people rising above Katrina's storm. "Yet, rather than question how the city, state and federal authorities could have all abandoned thousands upon thousands of poor black folk for days on end, Williams conveniently concludes that, "The government response was the result of ineptitude, not racism." Instead, he has issues with black "paranoia" about New Orleans and sees the black church, strong families, and a tradition of "self-help" as a viable solution to rebuilding the Ninth Ward. I wonder whether Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, who was born and raised in New Orleans, even bothered to read this book before allowing herself to be quoted on the cover praising its often offensive contents.
Her blurb reads, "Enough is a breath of fresh air and a long overdue, critical insight into today's stereotypical nonsense that has unfortunately been passing as the new black culture. "May I humbly suggest that Ms. Brazile, in the future, think twice before placing her stamp of approval on a tome which reads more like a series of Republican talking points than an honest assessment of the state of African-Americana. Enough is enough!
Editor's Note: Ms. Brazile was contacted prior to the publication of this review, on AALBC.com, and was asked if the comments she made about Juan Williams book Enough warranted revision. Ms. Brazile's comments are quoted below:
"I read the book and highly recommend it for the simple reason: we are not all alike and no matter our partisan affiliation, we can and must share our opinions.
While I did not agree with 100% of Juan's conclusions, Juan addressed some of the flawed approaches we have witnessed throughout the post civil rights struggle. The truth is: We need a airing of our differences. Different political, social and cultural remedies to long term problems."
Ms Brazile was asked if her comments may be quoted and she responded:
"Sure. We often act like our community cannot have varied opinions and accuse the white man for taking us for granted when we do it to ourselves.
Go forth and shout!"