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Commentary By Jason L. Riley

Three New Books Challenge Preconceived Notions of Race

Culture Race

Far-left activists, scholars and journalists dominate the debate with views most black Americans reject.

“The Brother From Another Planet” is a low-budget science-fiction comedy released in 1984. It tells the story of an alien who crash-lands his spaceship on Ellis Island and spends the next few days wandering around Manhattan. He looks like a normal black man and can understand what people are saying, but he can’t speak. This leads everyone he encounters to make assumptions about him—where he lives, why he’s there, what he wants—based on appearances. It’s all speculation premised on preconceived notions.

I do a fair amount of public speaking and am sometimes asked about my personal background. People want to know how I turned out the way I did, but I’m not always certain what they’re getting at. How did I become conservative? Why do I speak standard English? How did I stay out of jail? The inquiry is often made in a tone that suggests I have somehow defied expectations, that I didn’t turn out the way people who look like me normally do. It’s almost as if I’m otherworldly.

Continue reading the entire piece here at The Wall Street Journal (paywall)


Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and a Fox News commentator. He is the author of the recent book “The Black Boom.”

This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal