All posts by Dr. Boyce Watkins

What’s wrong with Whoopi Goldberg?

The annoyingly amoral Whoopi Goldberg is at it again, with what seems to be her mantra: “You can do whatever offensive thing you like, as long as you’re famous.”

First, there was the defense of a “comedy performance” (reportedly conceived by her) featuring her then-boyfriend Ted Danson wearing blackface in 1993. Then in 2009, she stood up for Hollywood director Roman Polanski, who’d been convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. In that case, Whoopi seemed to make a distinction between “rape” and “rape-rape”, as if there is a difference. The latest beneficiary of Whoopi’s unbelievably apologist streak is Mel Gibson, the actor who seems to dislike every ethnic group other than his own.

By now, most of us know about “Mel Gibson telling his child’s mother that she deserves to be raped by a “pack of ni**ers” for being dressed too scantily clad. That story is old news by now. The new development is that Goldberg has chosen to be the only prominent Hollywood figure to publicly come to Mel Gibson’s defense to date by stating that she “knows” that Gibson is not a racist.

Goldberg mentioned that Gibson has come to her house and played with her kids, and that they’d had a long friendship. Whoopi seems to enjoy bragging about how many famous friends she has, and appears to argue that their fame automatically makes them into good people, no matter what ridiculous thing they’ve done. Goldberg seems to want to assume a role for herself as ambassador for black America and the one-woman confessional booth for any bigot or child molester hoping to seek forgiveness.

One of the things that Goldberg doesn’t understand about racism is that Gibson having played with Whoopi’s kids doesn’t mean that he can’t have a serious issue with black men. His comments about “being raped by a pack of ni**ers” seems to imply that being raped is not enough. His comment also suggests that a pack of black men would be more likely to want to assault a woman and that the assault would be more brutal than one committed by a group of white males. Therefore, without any reasonable doubt, Gibson perceives black men to be more violent, savage and criminal than white males. So Whoopi Goldberg must understand that Mel Gibson playing with her kids means almost nothing.

What exactly would Gibson have needed to say or do to his girlfriend in order for Goldberg to have a problem with it? Not only is Whoopi’s quick road to redemption offensive to people of color, it is also offensive to women across America who’ve known the atrocities of rape and domestic abuse up close. Anyone listening to that audio recording could hear the abuse in Gibson’s voice, and a show that appeals to so many women should be more conscientious about how its hosts respond to this kind of behavior.

Goldberg apparently isn’t the only host of The View to say things that are borderline disgraceful for the network. “Ad hoc CDC scientist” Sherri Shepherd recently stated that HIV is being spread mainly because black men are sleeping with other men in private. I have a suggestion: Perhaps The View can find another black host or hostess (not another comedian) who can provide balance and responsibility in their comments, especially on issues of critical importance to our country. The fact that four modestly-educated people get together at a table and impact our nation’s perspectives on very serious issues without consequence is just downright scary.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the initiator of the National Conversation on Race. For more information, please visit BoyceWatkins.com.


Professor Shoots Two Black Scholars at U. Alabama-Huntsville

Professor Amy Bishop, 42, recently shot and killed three of her colleagues in the Biology Department at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. The professor is charged with capital murder and more charges are likely. She could face the death penalty if convicted.

“She began to talk about her problems getting tenure in a very forceful and animated way, saying it was unfair,” an anonymous source said.

As Bishop was led away, she was asked by a reporter what happened. “It didn’t happen. … They are still alive,” she said in a low voice, shaking her head.

This is a terrible tragedy, but perhaps there is something we can learn from this. There are three thoughts I have as we analyze the shooting at the University of Alabama-Huntsville and Amy Bishop’s alleged behavior:

1) According to reports I’ve received, two of the professors Bishop killed were black: This is not to say that the individuals were targeted for being black, but it certainly makes one wonder if race was a factor in this shooting. Again, there is not enough evidence to say that this is the case.

2) Amy Bishop shot her brother in 1986: Although the original shooting was an accident, the case has been recommended for additional investigation. If it is indeed the case that she shot her brother deliberately, this might argue that Bishop had a propensity toward violence already. Her erratic behavior may have been a warning sign to other faculty that she needed to be removed from the department.

3) Amy Bishop’s issues with tenure are not uncommon: There have been scores of cases in the past of graduate students or faculty engaging in violent acts as a result of the stresses of academia. The tenure process is incredibly ambiguous and politicized, leading to some faculty even losing their sanity. Black scholars are exposed to the challenges of tenure more than anyone, since we are different, and being different is not rewarded in academia. While I am not one to say that Amy Bishop did or did not deserve tenure, it is easy to wonder if this Harvard-educated scholar was good enough to meet the standards of University of Alabama-Huntsville. The tenure process is often a non-transparent affair in which dirty tricks are played behind closed doors (I’ve seen some doozies, I assure you). People take care of their friends and use tenure as a way to get rid of their enemies, thus escalating the amount of hostility in many academic departments across America.

Of course, Amy Bishop’s challenges with tenure do not justify her alleged behavior. At the same time, the severe mental anguish caused by an ultimately unfair set of policies and practices should be reviewed and reconsidered by us all. I was personally denied tenure for what many felt to be unjust political reasons (no black man has ever been recommended for tenure by my business school – Syracuse University – in more than 100 years of operating history), so I know the stress of the process firsthand. Personally, I was lucky to have obtained the kind of support which allowed me to detach from the petty politics of those around me (Rev. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Michael Eric Dyson and Dr. Julianne Malveaux came to support me), but there are many other scholars who invest their lives in to this process and don’t have the support they need to ensure a level playing field. The lifelong investment in the tenure process can often lead to unhealthy reactions to cheap political tricks that keep qualified scholars from getting the rewards they deserve. Excluding the shooting by Professor Amy Bishop (which none of us can condone), I can also point to other cases of campus violence that resulted directly from either tenure denials, unapproved dissertations, etc. While we have the right to decide who gets hired and fired, “business as usual” in academia often puts scholars in the uncomfortable position of either having their lives inexplicably altered or being forced to destroy the life of someone who has dedicated their life to academic success. The potential for volatile behavior becomes quite high under these circumstances.

In order to deal with the threat of workplace violence, academia needs additional oversight. We need independent, outside entities to review every inch of the tenure and hiring process to ensure that the rules are being applied fairly. Black scholars should be especially diligent in pushing for such advocacy, in large part because we are the ones who are most victimized by unjust tenure denials every year. Additionally, it is the absolute fear of this academic terrorism (where people destroy your career and give you no recourse to respond) which causes us to lose our academic souls. Instead of doing good scholarly work to help our communities, we spend years hiding quietly and humbly in the intellectual shadows (biding our time) in hopes that our lifelong quest for tenure is not disrupted by a racist holding a grudge.

Obviously, Amy Bishop has some psychological issues, so her response to the academic environment was ultimately an unhealthy one. At the same time, a part of me wonders if this incident would have occurred had Dr. Bishop felt that she had some kind of recourse to air her grievances. Perhaps if she’d felt that she were getting a truly unbiased appeal, she would not have believed her back to be against the wall. Given that her husband, also a highly trained scholar, is considered a “person of interest,” we can see just how deep the resentment went within her family.

“Universities tend to string it out without resolution, tolerate too much and to have a cumbersome decision process that endangers the comfort of many and the safety of some,” said Dr. Park Dietz, who is president of Threat Assessment Group Inc., a Newport Beach, Calif.-based violence prevention firm.

It is possible that if Dr. Amy Bishop felt that she had access to unbiased options, I would argue that she may not have chosen to possibly spend the rest of her life in prison. I assume that resorting to violence was the last option for this hard-working, Harvard-educated scholar, since she’d rationally chosen to appeal her original tenure decision. As universities reconsider their responses to workplace violence, we must remind ourselves that we cannot toy with the livelihoods of employees without running the risk of people getting hurt. The University of Alabama Huntsville shooting was not, to be honest, as isolated of an instance as we might think. While actual violence may be rare, the potential for violence is always around us. The focus should not only be our collective outrage at Amy Bishop’s highly inappropriate behavior, we’ve also got to be smart and courageous enough to challenge the tenure process itself.


Taking on CNN and DL Hughley

The response I received from you guys on the new CNN show, “DL Hughley Breaks the News” was overwhelming. Within 20 minutes of sending out the email statement, we had an entire inbox full of messages expressing extreme disappointment in CNN and this offensive new show. This helped me realize that we need to do something about it.

Our goal is to present an intelligent, dignified and firm response to CNN, letting them know that programming based on racial stereotypes is not acceptable. Political satire can be quite funny, but it must be intelligent, balanced and conscientious. This is not the brand of humor presented in “DL Hughley Breaks the News”, which went back to the same degrading media stereotypes and disturbing images that scholars and consumers have been upset about for decades. Senator Obama opened the door for us to see ourselves as educated, enlightened and empowered, so the last thing we need is to be readmitted to the asylum of pimps, thugs, criminals and buffoons.

A sample letter you can use to contact CNN is presented below. You can get the contact information at this link. You can also forward this link and email to anyone you believe to share your sentiments regarding how our community should respond to this painful and disappointing new show. If you wish to hear my personal comments on the topic, please click here.

Finally, don’t forget that we are going to “Get our paper straight in 2008”, so if you wish to join our group for Dr. Boyce Financial Advice, please click here.

The sample letter is below. You can get contact information for key decision-makers at CNN by clicking here. Remember: Change won’t start with Obama or McCain. Meaningful change is going to start with US.

To CNN and its key decision-makers,

As a member of the Your Black World coalition, I am writing to inform you that I found your recently released show, “DL Hughley Breaks the News” to be a tremendous disappointment. While I certainly respect CNN’s effort to develop itself as “The most trusted name in news”, I did not find the new DL Hughley show to be consistent with the degree of trust that CNN has worked to obtain with the American public.

The 2008 Presidential campaign represents an amazing landmark for change within our country by allowing an African American male to present himself to the world as a dignified and educated member of our society, an image which lies in stark contrast to media representations of Black men as criminals, rappers, athletes and entertainers. I found it disheartening that this progress was reversed by CNN’s decision to create a show which relied on the very same stereotypes to build a consistent stream of laughs at the expense of African Americans everywhere. The show was also degrading to those in the broader community who support the candidacy of Senator Barack Obama, and who wish to see our great country move past the deep and painful wounds created by our nation’s legacy of racial inequality.

We ask that you discontinue the show, “DL Hughley Breaks the News”, and consider a brand of political humor that is respectful to all ethnicities and shows greater appreciation for the tremendous gains made in the 2008 Presidential election. Perhaps then, CNN can regain its status as “The most trusted name in news”.
Sincerely,

The Your Black World Coalition


Why I am proud of President Obama

I recall endorsing Barack Obama back when it was simply wishful thinking to hope for a Black President. During a CNN appearance over a year ago, I mentioned that his backing by Oprah Winfrey would change Obama from being “Hillary Clinton’s black baby brother” into a man who could run one of the most significant presidential campaigns in American history. This is one of the few times when I enjoy being able to say, “I told you so.”
President Obama is, quite simply, the Tiger Woods of American politics: another Black man of mixed heritage, who used the power of tremendous focus, creativity, intelligence and preparation to do the impossible. Like his counterpart Tiger Woods (who happens to be a Republican), Obama went into the domain of White males and dominated in ways that simply transcended his chosen field. Similar to the way that Tiger’s greatness attracted droves of fans who’d never cared much about golf, Obama brought in legions of voters who would never have cared much about a presidential election.

I am proud of Barack Obama for his campaign. His choice of advisors and campaign strategy has changed the face of American politics for the next 100 years. He dismantled the “Death Star Clinton Regime” through the use of innovative, daring and powerful tactics, a sound choice of advisors and lots of good old fashioned intelligence.

I am proud of Barack Obama for liberating our minds. For the first time in quite a while, Black boys had a chance to see an intelligent Black man consistently profiled in “mainstream” media. This man showed our kids that you can be a “balla” without dribbling a basketball and a major “playa” without being played. Greatness is not achieved with a football or a microphone, it is achieved with a textbook, a college diploma and a sound economic plan.

I was proud of Barack Obama long before he became our president. I don’t need validation from the rest of America to feel good about who we are as a people. We were just as great, just as strong, just as accomplished and just as meaningful on November 3 as we are right now. The presidential election is essentially a popularity contest which leads to uncomfortable tradeoffs and “deals with the devil” that reduce the glitter of addictive political gold. The respect I give Barack Obama for raising hundreds of millions of dollars to get access to the Whitehouse is matched by the respect I give Dr. Julianne Malveaux for raising tens of millions of dollars to educate young Black women at Bennett College. Being President of the United States is not what makes Barack Obama a great man: He is a great man because he is a great man.

I am proud of Barack Obama for marrying Michelle, who served as one of my primary reasons for trusting him. I have a hard time imagining a man who can sleep with Michelle Obama every night and not be influenced by her beautiful mind. Michelle Obama is not a “buppy” soccer mom, Stepford Wife, or wannabe Barbara Bush. Michelle is a super sharp and relentless “sistuh girl”, who demands the most of her African American husband. She makes the first family as beautiful as Barack Obama makes it strong.

I am proud of Barack Obama for his willingness to take his life and career into the lion’s den. He inherits a terrible economy, an unjust war, a sickening healthcare system and an educational system which cripples our children for life. Like the first Black football coaches in the NCAA, Obama has been granted the reigns of a team with a serious losing record. Furthermore, he must bend and twist to satisfy citizens of the same country that was naïve enough to consider mediocre characters like George Bush and Sarah Palin to possibly run our great nation. I sincerely wish Obama the best as he attacks these problems, and I hope that this brilliant Black man with the middle name “Hussein” can negotiate the balance between our quest for a better world and America’s consistent commitment to anti-intellectualism.

As proud as I am of President Obama, I am also proud of America for showing that it has the ability to choose the right person for the job, instead of the right WHITE person for the job. By choosing Obama, we have shown our capacity for fairness, and how much progress we’ve made to overcome some of our racial demons of the past. The easiest thing to do, however, is to think that having a Black president is going to change the lives of most Black people. The reality is that BLACK PEOPLE THEMSELVES are going to change the lives of Black people and if we do not embrace the power of financial independence and unity, we will simply remain perpetual socio-economic slaves in the domain of a new overseer. The same way America rolled back the political gains of the 1960s, the Washington-based rewards of the new millennium could be just as fleeting.

President Obama did his job, now it’s time for us to do ours. Good luck over the next 4 years.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about College”. He does regular commentary in national media, including CNN, BET, ESPN and CBS. For more information, please visit http://www.BoyceWatkins.com.


Dr. Boyce Watkins responds to Bill O’Reilly

Greetings to the YourBlackWorld family,

I felt the need to give you the latest on Bill O’Reilly’s outrage over our protest and Keith Olbermann’s (MSNBC) reaction. I will also give you the inside scoop on the rather interesting week I’ve had.

[http://www.youtube.com] As I mentioned in the video response to all of this, I consider the peculiar events of this week to be a direct product of our working together to hold the corporate sponsors of Fox
News accountable for the behavior on that network.

Bottom line: IT IS WORKING.

First, Bill O’Reilly has worked tirelessly all week long, to defame what we are trying to do. If you watch The O’Reilly Factor (which I hope you do not), you will notice that he has been in a consistent, angry campaign to come after me for our challenge to him. He did the same thing last fall to myself and last month to Dr. Jeremiah Wright. I do not consider myself to be the most critical piece of this movement, for we can only be strong when we stick together. But since my name is the one he knows, he somehow feels that by undermining me in public, he can squash our movement.

Apparently, he doesn’t know shit about black people. We made it through the Middle Passage, so Bill O’Reilly is a piece of cake. I could care less what he does to my “academic reputation”, for I do not hang my self-esteem on what he or his disciples think about me.

Secondly, Keith Olbermann, host of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”on MSNBC,://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/24633980] apparently took notice of what we are doing. He also took notice of O’Reilly’s reaction to our challenge to him.

He thus named BillO’Reilly “The Worst Person in the world” for his attempts to come to Syracuse University and attack my chancellor, using typical O’Reilly lies and ignorance to discredit our protest.

He stated the following:

1) O’Reilly’s flunky claimed that I lied by stating that Bill wants to lynch Michelle Obama. Olbermann came back with a quote from O’Reilly’s radio show, when he made reference to having a “lynching party” on Michelle Obama for controversial comments. So yes, O’Reilly did say that he was considering having a “lynching party” on the woman who might be the First Lady of The United States. How patriotic.

2) Olbermann mentioned our protest as the cause of O’Reilly’s frustrations and speculates that this is the reason he has attempted to defame me. I appreciate Keith’s support, but honestly, I wasn’t worried about what anyone thought of me or our actions. We must validate our own
commitment to truth without worrying about what anyone else has to say. But thanks to Keith all the same, it makes things easier.

Other FYIs:

1) The police chief on my campus called to offer police protection because of the number of death threats coming into the chancellor’s office. This says something about the type of viewers Bill O’Reilly has on his show. Death threats don’t scare me, I’ve been a black man for quite a while now.

2) My email box has been full of nasty messages, probably over 1,000 per day. No worries though, I know where the “delete” button is on my computer. Simultaneously, your emails of love and support from the Your Black World family have been wonderful. Thank you so much.

Even someone named “Hillary” at the HillaryClinton.com website is on our list. This reminds us that this movement is not about picking Obama, Clinton or McCain, it’s about doing whats right and recognizing our power in the process. I welcome anyone who stands for truth and fairness.

As Bill O’Reilly himself said “This thing is all over the internet”, so he is clearly intimidated by the fact that thousands of you are forwarding these messages to others who are concerned about Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and
Rush Limbaugh. O’Reilly chickens are apparently coming home to roost.

3) My university was forced to issue a statement to the media in response to Bill O’Reilly’s attacks. I give Chancellor Nancy Cantor tremendous credit for standing up for my academic freedoms in spite of the pressure she is getting from some Syracuse Alumni. Many wealthy alumni have threatened to take away their donations to the campus because some feel the school is harboring a “racist”

(translation: any black person who stands up for black people). Unfortunately, many universities don’t recognize racial contributions until 30 years after they are made. I understand that. I don’t get into campus politics, but
I’m sure there are some stressed out administrators out there. I wish there were an easier way to do this, but my role model Muhammad Ali showed me that standing up for racial equality in America is not a comfortable task.

One of the more interesting emails I received was from a woman in New Zealand. She told me that it is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL that we continue our work because she said that O’Reilly is impacting the election of the United States President, and that, in turn, impacts the world.

This underscores the significance of the contribution we can make to our country and to the globe. Therefore, our work is fundamentally patriotic and necessary to the advancement of our great nation. Social terrorists like
Bill O’Reilly will not be tolerated.

WE CANNOT STOP. When we work together, we are as powerful as we choose to be. The world is depending on us, so I pray that we find the courage to remain committed.

O’Reilly has hurt us for far too long, and we can’t
take this anymore. In case you’re not up to speed on everything, the fundamentals of the protest are at YourBlackWorld.com.

Keep hope alive and kicking,

Sincerely,

Boyce Watkins

[http://www.boycewatkins.com/] http://www.BoyceWatkins.com

[http://www.yourblackworld.com/] http://www.YourBlackWorld.com


Bill O’Reilly Pay’s A Visit To Syracuse to “Take me out”

Last week, some of you may be aware of the initiative we put in place at YourBlackWorld to confront Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and the rest of the Axis of Ignorance about the way they have misrepresented the news and damaged the reputation of one black leader after another.

Well, I guess my own chickens have come home to roost.

One of the readers on Your Black World sent me an email stating that Bill O’Reilly mentioned today that he “took a trip to Syracuse to deal with some concerns he has about a professor up there.”

I guess that professor might be me.

They have a saying in China that “the fattest pig always gets slaughtered”, and I accept the fact that my university is not going to be happy with my confrontation of Bill O’Reilly. Many of their wealthy alums who give money to the university are part of the Bill O’Reilly Zombie Fest, and support this man as he perpetuates the ugliest aspects of our country’s history.

But the truth is the truth. I WILL NOT and CANNOT allow him, nor anyone else, to continue telling lies that distort reality and hurt our country. They are incredibly unpatriotic, and their continued dirty tactics and tricky smears on Senator Obama, Pastor Jeremiah Wright and others will not be tolerated.

Fortunately, the black community is behind me on this one. When I sent a call out to our readers on YourBlackWorld, I received hundreds of emails within one day. Additionally, our readers have sent hundreds of letters to the FCC, and we are also in position to hold two of Fox’s top corporate sponsors accountable for their behavior.

The fact is that Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Fox News do not represent American values. Also, most of the major networks will allow this racist hate to hit the airwaves, yet they do not have a single host of color representing viewpoints of the silent majority.

This is wrong, it’s unAmerican and it must stop TODAY.

Bill O’Reilly, do what you must. Deep down, you know you are wrong.


Rules of the Game

For those who are graduating from high school (or have relatives graduating next may), here is a quick rhyme I wrote about kicking butt in college. It is my firm belief that EVERY CHILD IS COLLEGE MATERIAL IF THEY WANT TO BE…..so, whatever your guidance counselor told you about your child not being equipped for the next level, tell them that Dr. Boyce said THEY ARE WRONG.

Education is your vehicle, it’s kinda like your first car
Here are tips from the top on how to live like a star

You think school’s not important and you let your grades slide?

Well, buckle up my negro, cause I’m pimpin your ride

Some think school is important, some think that it’s not
But it’s Ludicrous to think you’ll get that number one spot

Without that paper in your pocket, you’re getting no love That top position that your fishin….it ain’t hiring scrubs

Do you want to fly like an eagle or live your life with a limp?

Pimpin ain’t too easy, but it sucks getting pimped

Some people think good grades come to those who are smart

But you can’t be a great heart surgeon if you ain’t go no heart

If you got good grades already, then the burden’s no lighter

Your GPA is slammin, but it can always be tighter

And when you hit that first obstacle and you’ve just been beat down

Are you gonna get up like a fighter or lie down like a clown?

College is the place to make your dreams come true

But making silly choices can create nightmares for you

So, let me pimp your ride and I’m a start with the rims

24 inch spinners, the paint job matching your tims

Number 1: study for 6 hours a day If you are consistent and persistent then your hard work will pay Pulling all nighters might make sense when your doing it see But that F on your exam is what you’re getting from me

Number 2: don’t allow yourself to skip any class Days off never pay off when you’re trying to pass But passing all your classes is not your first role Be a baller and a scholar, straight As are your goal

Number 3: Don’t feel you have to drink till your drunk
Cause cupid makes you stupid when the party’s too crunk
We have rapists and drunk drivers when the liquor gets full And lifetime alcoholics when they get out of school

Number 4: don’t forget this part of the rhyme NEVER drop out of college for any reason, any time! People leave school for a second, to get out of that cage
Then they’re 35 with 3 kids making minimum wage

Number 5: make sure you learn to manage your time Your time is like your money, you should count every dime Procrastination is a gamble, don’t rely on your luck
Or you’ll crap out and be busted, with a report card that sucks

Number 6: Getting a college degree is real cool But to make the monster money, go to graduate school I promise that if you’re willing to go that last mile The bling on your check will match the bling in your smile

Number 7: make sure you know your major by heart Know every class you’re taking from the end to the start Know all the classes that you need to get the degree in your hand Don’t be sitting at the end, saying “I didn’t know man!”

Number 8: baby mamas are created by sex And child support’s like pacman when it eats up your check If you call yourself a player and eager to please The campus is a GREAT place to catch a nasty disease!

Life is kinda serious, and it ain’t playin no games
You have to come out dunkin like your names Lebron James
Cause if you don’t hustle like hustler to get that last inch You’ll find yourself defeated at the end of the bench

Yes this ride is costly, cause pimpin ain’t free But your whip will be the tightest if you listen to me Whether you want a life of freedom or just want some cash Or if you want a chromed out Bentley with DVDs in the dash

Education lets you travel down the highway of life It creates freedom for your kids or your husband or wife
You’ll drive this ride forever, until you are dead So get on it if you want, cause its built in your head

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about College”. He makes regular appearances in national media, including CNN, FOX, ESPN, and Essence Magazine. For more information, please visit http://www.BoyceWatkins.com.

http://www.YourBlackWorld.com

Hello my friends,

some people have been interested in my thoughts about Pastor Jeremiah Wright and the situation with Sean Bell, the young man who was shot in New York.

I have an interesting perspective on Sean Bell because my father has been in law enforcement for the past 25 years. I truly believe that most cops are good people who want to do the right thing.

However, as a black man, I’ve felt that people of color have little reason to trust the criminal justice system, which has been used as a tool of oppression for hundreds of years. Personally, I think that the issue of police misconduct is much bigger than Sean Bell. Our justice system is certainly sick, and not fixing it will cause long-term damage to our nation.

[http://www.yourblackworld.com/short_pieces/sean_bell.htm] Here is an article I recently wrote on the topic if you want to see it:

I spoke recently at The National Black Law Student Association Conference in support of Pastor Jeremiah Wright. I feel that he is a true man of God serving a power higher than that of the White House or even Barack Obama.

Dr. King received the same degree of hatred when he spoke on racial injustice, and 40 years later, we still haven’t learned to see the bigger picture.

The idea that Obama is being consistently attacked for his affiliations with strong and respected black men (while truly questionable associations of other candidates are being ignored) is symptomatic of the race-baiting being revealed in this election. The very idea that Obama’s camp had to feel that attending the 40th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination was “too black” for America is quite problematic.

I hate to say this, but I honestly don’t feel that Obama is going to be President in 2008. However, this is not the fault of Jeremiah Wright. Rather, it is the fault of those who attack Obama for being affiliated with Jeremiah Wright.

Here is a [http://www.youtube.com/blueboymedia] video on the topic we did in case you want to see it.


WHY I AM BOYCOTTING THE NCAA

A Note to my Friends – WHY I AM BOYCOTTING THE NCAA

http://www.BoyceWatkins.com

Last year, I engaged in a short campaign on CNN, CBS Sports, ESPN and the LA Times to highlight major problems with “big time” college athletics. It is not my goal to anger anyone, but rather, to share what I have seen in my 15 years teaching at universities with major athletics programs. As a finance professor, I find the financial problems of the NCAA to be borderline criminal. As an educator, I find the educational mission of the NCAA to be fraudulent. As a black man who has seen what the NCAA does to the black community, I find myself simply offended.

The NCAA is in possession of an 11-year, $6 Billion Dollar
contract for the rights to air March Madness. This does not include hundreds of millions of dollars earned each year from bowl games, regular season games, merchandizing agreements and concessions. Coaches earn as much as $4 Million dollars per year, while the players and their families, many of whom come from poverty, earn almost nothing. Coaches are allowed to jump from job to job, going to the highest bidder, while players who transfer lose a year of eligibility. Coaches and administrators
earn millions from excessive commercialization of player images, while a player is not allowed to earn a penny from his/her own image. This does not include the fact that many institutions will praise and promote a winning coach with low graduation rates and quickly fire coaches with low winning percentages and high graduation rates.

I have witnessed students being taken out of class for an
entire week to play in a nationally-televised football or
basketball game, with academics (and the fact that the student’s grade has been jeopardized) becoming an afterthought.

Players are treated like professional athletes, not students, and a weak performance on the field will cause them to lose their scholarship. Any institution operating as a government-sanctioned cartel, riddled with hypocrisy,
disproportionate and exploitative compensation schemes, and glaring disregard for educational values should be scrutinized more carefully. Earning money is a wonderful thing, but I am not sure why coaches and administrators are allowed to earn billions each year from the labor of players with mothers who can’t pay the rent. I know how much tuition costs, and it is miniscule compared to the amount of money players generate for their coaches and universities. I say pay the players a fair salary, let them negotiate their own contracts and shoe deals, and then allow them to pay their own tuition.

If you believe in fairness for these young men and women, I hope you will consider joining our coalition to boycott the NCAA and March Madness. If you love sports like me, then feel free to watch a game or two. Just keep your views to a minimum and avoid watching the commercials. This sounds silly, but it is my small effort to help us understand this complicated problem and to hopefully have some impact on the bottom-line of the NCAA.

I am not trying to cause trouble with these statements. I am simply asking for fairness. One star player (whose coach received millions in bonuses) saw his brother shot and killed in a housing project because his mother was too poor to move to a better neighborhood. Another player took money from a booster to help his family pay the rent, and then saw his scholarship taken away. I saw a player’s mother forced to beg her church to help her get to the Final Four to see her son play, while the coach’s family received first class accommodations. What is ironic is that even raising money from the church would have been an NCAA violation, causing her son to lose his scholarship.

If you don’t agree with me, I understand. But as a professor, financial expert and a human being, I cannot remain silent on such an injustice. Some don’t feel the athletes deserve anything better than what they already get. We all must agree that basketball games don’t happen without basketball players, so if a game earns millions in revenue, then the basketball player is more deserving of this revenue than the coach. If that doesn’t make sense, then I’m sorry.

I hope you’ll join me in this effort by visiting BoyceWatkins.com and signing up for our coalition.

With complete respect and sincerity,

Dr. Boyce Watkins
Syracuse University
http://www.BoyceWatkins.com
ps.
Q&A On the NCAA:

1) If the athletes don’t like the system, then why don’t
they just do something else?

The problem is that the NCAA is allowed to operate as a Cartel. Effectively, this implies that all of the schools exist under the same umbrella and make price-fixing agreements that keep players from having any other options. North Carolina, Duke, The University of Kentucky and other NCAA schools all agree that none of them are allowed to pay the players for their services (other than the scholarship). This sort of operating behavior is illegal in nearly every other industry, because the source of labor then has no bargaining power. Going to the NBA is not an option for most of the players, so there isn’t much else they can do.

2) What are you asking for in all this? Some sort of
special treatment for athletes?

No. I am simply asking that they have a free market. Many rules are put in place alleging to “protect” the athletes. The problem is that many exploitative regimes throughout history have used protection as a cover for self-interest (i.e. The War on Terror and the Patriot Act). The truth is that many restrictions placed on players exist to simply control the athlete and to ensure that the administrators don’t have to share the revenue. Schools should never be “forced” to pay the players. I am saying that we should not force schools to allow multi-million dollar players’ families to remain in poverty.

Just let the market work, the same way it does in the rest of America. If a player has no value, then he/she will not be paid. But if the school can earn $15 million dollars from a player’s ability, then his family should get some of that money, not just the coach and the administrators.

Remember: When money comes in the door…..SOMEONE IS ALWAYS GETTING PAID. I believe that the person doing the work should get a substantial percentage of the revenue generated from that work. It’s really that simple.

3) Are you against the NCAA making money?

Absolutely not! I am a Finance Professor and a Capitalist. I appreciate good business when I see it. I think that the NCAA should simply make a choice: either go completely professional or completely amateur. You can’t operate as a professional organization while signing billion dollar TV deals and then become a non-profit amateur organization when it comes time to reward the players who are actually doing the work. I am in favor of the NCAA either paying everyone according to the fair market value they can negotiate, or NOT PAYING ANYONE.

Non-payment, a more socialist model that the NCAA claims to promote, would imply that no coach earns more than (say) $70,000 per year. Every coach with low graduation rates would be fired, and players would not be allowed to miss class to play in a game.

In other words, the players would come to college to actually get an education, not to simply play sports.

4) Isn’t a scholarship fair compensation?

Quite simply, the answer is no. I say this as both a financial expert and an educator who places a high value on learning.

Many universities earn more money from one nationally-televised basketball game than it costs to pay tuition for every player on the team for an entire year. I would personally rather see the players allowed to negotiate their own contracts and then pay their tuition afterward. If one were to offer a coach and his family free tuition rather than their seven figure salary, they would be outraged.

5) It’s too complicated to find a way to pay college athletes, it just won’t work.

This argument was put forth by NCAA President Myles Brand, who I was on a CBS sports special with last year (along with”Coach K” from Duke, Billy Packer and others who earn millions of dollars from the labor of college athletes). My problem with this argument is that things work when we want them to work. Schools always find a way around the technicalities when it comes time to pay a coach $4 million dollars per year.

They find ways to make sure that the tournaments occur, that vendors are paid, complicated TV deals are signed and
merchandizing agreements are worked out. If it were a priority, they could surely find a way to be fair to the athletes. If they can’t, then simply drop all the restrictions on compensation and let the market do its work.

Some argue that paying athletes would destroy the purity and integrity of college sports. Actually, it is this glaring hypocrisy that continues to destroy the integrity of collegiate athletics.

Allowing coaches and players to have the same rights to negotiation would allow the system to make more sense.

6) Which athletes should be paid anyway?

Athletes should be paid like the rest of us: If what you do earns money, then you have the right to negotiate (without oppressive restrictions) for your share. When Tom Cruise makes a film, he gets paid quite well. He doesn’t get the money because he’s a nice guy, he gets paid because he is generating revenue for someone else. That’s how capitalism works. So, any athlete in a revenue-generating sport should be allowed to negotiate with his/her school. If the athlete is not worth the money he/she is asking for, then the school won’t pay it.

The same occurs when you try to get a job: if they offer you $45,000 and you are worth $70,000, you negotiate with the company across the street. It would be illegal for all firms in your industry to come together and agree to only pay you $25,000 per year. But that is what happens in the NCAA, where all the schools agree to non-payment of athletes. This should be outlawed.

7) What are the possible solutions to this problem?

This is a big problem and a big system, it’s going to take work. But I have some thoughts on possible solutions to the NCAA puzzle:

– The IRS and Congress must get involved: The Ways
and Means Committee of the House of Representatives began
proceedings last year that questioned the non-profit status of the NCAA and argued that they should not be considered an amateur organization. In their letter, it was stated that “Corporate sponsorships, multimillion dollar television deals, highly paid coaches with no academic duties, and the dedication of inordinate amounts of time by athletes to training lead many to believe that major college football and men’s basketball more closely resemble professional sports than amateur sports.”

I argue that challenging the NCAA’s financial situation might get their attention and inject some fairness into the system.

– Teach athletes and former athletes to work together:
Most of the people exploited by the system don’t realize
they’ve been cheated until after it’s over. I argue that former athletes and others who are aware of how the system works should explain this to young athletes, who are sometimes so blinded by their own “shine” that they can’t see what’s going on. Athletes coming together and considering a boycott of the NCAA tournament would send a strong message to the league.

That is my dream, but the reign of terror the NCAA has over the athletes makes a boycott situation difficult to imagine. Any player thinking of rebelling is likely to be punished quite heavily.

8) There are other problems in the world, why are you
spending your time on this one?

I agree that it’s hard to get someone to feel sorry for a
player on national television. But I’ve witnessed many horror stories about players who are punished for doing the right thing. For example, there have been cases of players not having enough food and losing their scholarship because someone gave them a bag of groceries. If a player takes money from a booster to help a homeless relative, they are then punished. When a player like Reggie Bush used his fame to help his family get a home, he was demonized and penalized.

Simultaneously, his coach and university earned millions from the fact that Reggie was the most highly recognized professional athlete in America.

This doesn’t make much sense, given that coaches can take money from nearly anyone who offers it to them. I fight for many issues of injustice, and this happens to be the one that we are attacking right now. We must fight one battle at a time,and I hope that my passion for this effort is understood.

If you don’t agree with me, I respect that. But if you do,
please join me in this effort by visiting:

http://www.BoyceWatkins.com
and signing up for our coalition.


HOW BILL CLINTON MADE OBAMA INTO A KING

All the polls said that South Carolina was supposed to be close. Televised specials on black female conflict between race and gender were all over the airwaves, and it was concluded that South Carolina would be a battle ground between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

The problem was that the poll in my gut said the race wouldn’t be close at all. Barack Obama was going to win, and he was going to win big.

Don’t get me wrong, Hillary Clinton has her supporters. I also expect that she has a strong chance to win the Democratic nomination. But truth be told, black people have made their decision. Obama is loved by nearly all black folks, rich or poor, educated or not, old and young. As my 18 year old God daughter (who knows far more about BET than the Presidential election) said to me the other day, “Barack Obama is my n*gga.”

I looooove that man!” While I didn’t completely agree with her method of expression, I am a fan of free speech. Sorry if her choice of words offends you.

Black people are not supporting Barack Obama because he is black. Like everyone else, they support Obama because he is one of their most cherished Americans.

Bill Clinton, the alleged “First Black President” showed the true colors behind the “benevolent overseer” mentality the Clintons have used to control the black vote. Black voters “belonged” to the Clintons, so how dare Senator Obama step in and try to take the driver’s seat? He surely could have,
as many African-American leaders have done, received a top notch seat in Clinton’s cabinet, or been positioned as one of Clinton’s valued channels into the black community. But choosing the high road meant alot more than just being a nice guy. It implies that he believes himself to be destined for the highest office in the land. Unlike many of us, Obama doesn’t quite seem to “know his place”.

Bill Clinton thoroughly embarrassed himself, and his wife, on national TV. Attacking Obama at every turn only showed his true colors as it pertains to people of color. Using the typically negative, nasty political and psychological manipulation we’ve seen in the past, former President Clinton reminded America that he and his wife are simply politicians on a mission, willing to say anything or hurt anyone in order to get a vote.

Obama came out smelling like a rose, and all of America is sniffing.

He is being compared to John F. Kennedy, even by Kennedy’s daughter herself. Barack Obama has been patient, yet firm and has refused to engage in verbal political violence, even after being baited, beaten, bombarded and berated by Bill and Hillary Clinton. Martin Luther King is smiling in his grave, as the Clintons have made Obama into a political Ghandi.

I am not sure who is going to win this race, but Obama’s blowout victory in South Carolina made a clear statement. Black people, as a collective, have abandoned the Clintons. They will support Hillary if she gets the nomination, but will only tolerate her the same way an abused woman would
tolerate her husband after he has murdered her romantic lover.

The relationship has gone flat, the honeymoon is over. Barack Obama has become the First Black President.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?” He is a regular contributor to national media, including CNN, ESPN, CBS, FOX and MSNBC. For more information, please visit http://www.BoyceWatkins.com.


Rapper 50 Cent and Nobel Prize Winner Expect Barack Obama to be Assassinated

When 50 Cent says something, most of us don’t listen. As a hip hop fan, I don’t even listen to his music anymore, since it has gotten extraordinarily whack. But when a Nobel Prize Winner agrees with him, that makes you do a double-take.

When asked why he supports Senator Hillary Clinton, 50 Cent
(I referred to him as “Fiddy” when we discussed him on CNN
and BET) had this to say: “I don’t think America’s ready to
have a black president. I think they might kill him.”

“Fiddy” is no stranger to assassination. He was shot 9 times in one outing, and to his credit, he was able to walk away. As some of my friends in hip hop would say, “That’s gangsta.” But 50 Cent’s presumption that Obama should not be supported because he might get killed came off a little silly. Most of us just laughed, since 50 Cent is not exactly known for political punditry.

But “Fiddy” was not alone. Nobel Prize Winner Doris Lessing, who seems to be pretty hardcore herself, was also rapping about the idea that Barack Obama may not last in the White House.

Lessing felt that Obama “would certainly not last long, a
black man in the position of president. They would murder him,” said the 88 year old British author.

Wow, 50 Cent is now speaking in lip synch with Nobel Prize
Winners. That’s uhhhh…interesting. It also appears, ironically, that 50 Cent was the visionary in all this analysis, since he said it first. That’s as scary as Rush Limbaugh, a high school graduate and recovering drug addict, becoming the intellectual leader of the Conservative Republicans. But given the depth
of conservative Republican arguments, that is hardly surprising.

I have admittedly defended 50 Cent in multiple venues and I
don’t regret one word of it. I consider him to be a different kind of genius, the kind that is able to come out of a house full of drug abusers and addicts and still make a Vitamin Water Deal that netted him half a billion dollars. Most of us would not be able to accomplish that, especially after getting shot 9 times.

But I must take “Fiddy” and Ms. Lessing to task on their joint speculation.

Obama could be shot, I agree. After all, he patterns himself after John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, both of whom are six feet under as we speak. But the notion that this additional risk implies that Mr. Obama should back off the White House excludes one critical fact: This history-making run for the White House is not about Barack Obama.

The Barack Obama movement is not about one man. He is deservedly considered to be the leader who reminded us of a greater purpose. However, a movement of this magnitude is NEVER about one person. It is about the millions here and abroad whose lives will be impacted if Obama gets to the White House and does the right thing.

Notice that I used the word “if”.

I agree with my friends Marc Lamont Hill and Roland Martin,
who seem to feel that none of us knows what Obama is going to do until he has done it. Anyone who follows politics knows that a politician can tell a lie and the truth at the same time, all while eating a slice of pizza. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are master politicians and neither would be successful at their craft if they were not.

But to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, the truth is that he has sparked a political forest fire. The fire is burning with hope, passion, dreams and desires of a country that is ready for something better. One undeniable truth is that the fire is much bigger than the match that started it. King and Kennedy realized this, and so does Barack Obama.

50 Cent, in his blinged out world, may not have thought about these issues and I forgive him for not being hip to what’s going on. But as they say in hip hop, “If you don’t know, then act like you know”. “Fiddy” and Lessing have now been educated.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a finance professor at Syracuse University and author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?” He does regular work in national media, including CNN,FOX, ESPN, CBS and BET. Please visit http://www.BoyceWatkins.comfor more information.