Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barack Obama: Why I am Proud of Him

Why I am proud of President Obama
by Dr. Boyce Watkins

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 millions of voters who would never have cared much about a presidential election.

I am proud of Barack Obama for the way he ran his campaign. His amazing 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, millions of 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, a hand gun 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 White House 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 na├»ve 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

Monday, October 27, 2008

DL Hughley: Did You Mean That?

This brilliant piece was written by my truly respected colleague, Christopher Metzler at Georgetown University. He expresses my sentiments on DL Hughley exactly. I lost respect for DL Hughley during the Don Imus situation, when he appeared on Jay Leno and stated that the women on the Rutgers University basketball team really were "a pack of nappy headed hoes". Since that time, he has lost my respect. The idea that CNN would co-sign on the horrific stereotypes used by DL during his latest show disappoint me even more. I just don't know what to say, I should probably calm down first.

So, rather than saying something that might get me in trouble, I will think it through and let you hear what my brother Christopher has to say. As I mentioned before, I endorse every word of his commentary.

CNN's new Hughley show reinforces black stereotypes

by Dr. Christopher J. Metzler

In just eight days, America may well elect its first black president. Throughout the long campaign, race has been an omnipresent issue with many asking whether whites and some blacks would reject Senator Obama because of his race.

Most news outlets and commentators have discussed race in a vacuous way for fear of being called racists. In fact, if this election taught us anything about the media and race, it is that most journalists -- including white liberals -- simply lack the vocabulary to discuss and analyze race, choosing instead to engage in a cacophonous politically correct gab fest.

As the election draws to a close, one major cable news network decided to discuss race in a mephitic way, reminiscent of Amos and Andy, a situation comedy based on reinforcing stereotypes about blacks and widely popular in the United States from the 1920s through the 1950s

The show's anchor warned that the election of a President Obama would lead to a health plan with grills for all. Grills are shining metal caps worn on the teeth of blacks while they drink malt liquor from a paper bag. His guest, "Freddie Mack," attired in the traditional pimp attire complete with hat and bling, described Obama's fund raising prowess as "Big pimping." In fact, Freddie Mack went on to say, "Politicians are pimps and the electorate are their hoes." Thus, he reasoned, "bitch better have my money." In a response dripping with racism and misogyny, he reminded Americans that the financial crisis was about his sister Fannie May or Fannie may not again, utilizing the hoe moniker for black women.

The anchor also predicted that the election of a President Obama would result in a meteor striking America. His expert guest assured him of two things. The first is that such would not happen during an Obama administration and that if it did, blacks would be protected because of the complexion of our skin while whites would not. As if this was not enough, the anchor conducted an interview in which a black maid of a Jewish woman decried her years as a maid for that Jewish woman and warned that she would "clean her clock" if the old Jewish woman did not vote for Obama. Of course, besides portraying black women as violent, it also escalated the issue of Jews voting for Obama during this election. The message, it seems, is that blacks cannot convince with the facts but with fists.

The anchor also interviewed former Miss Alaska Maryline Blackburn, who beat vice-presidential candidate Sara Palin for the title. Asked whether Palin needed substance in her debate with Biden, Blackburn replied yes. No, the anchor replied, "All you need is to be in a tong and, I would vote for you."

Throughout this election, I have written prolifically about the role that race is playing. I have also said in several radio, television and print interviews that McCain and Palin created a racially charged atmosphere at some of their rallies which resulted in shouts of "kill him, off with his head, and terrorist" referring to Senator Obama. I have said that such an atmosphere is akin to the lynch mobs rallies which resulted in the gratuitous lynching of black men especially during the Jim Crow era. These rallies and the attendant racially tinged atmosphere were condemned by CNN.

Now, in a shameless show of hypocrisy, CNN -- like the slave masters who profited from racism and slavery -- has decided that there is still money in racism and found just the Negro to help it cash in. At 10 P.M. on Saturday, October, 25, 2008, CNN premiered D.L. Hughley Breaks the News.

By introducing D.L. Hughley Breaks the News, both CNN and Hughley have picked up where McCain and Palin have left off. During the course of this election, CNN has portrayed itself as having "the best political team on television." It can now portray itself has having, "the best racism team on television." This is so for at least three reasons. First, in the course of one hour, Hughley and his CNN producers managed to rearticulate the vilest stereotypes of blacks, especially the notion that at our core, black men are pimps and black women hoes.

Second, as if to give legitimacy to its racists portrayals, CNN had former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan endorse Obama after Hughley skinned, grinned and jived while broadcasting black stereotypes worldwide. The message was this a "real" news show; even the white man came on here to make an endorsement.

Third, Hughley demonstrated that blacks still suffer from internalized racial oppression. That is, too many blacks, including Hughley have internalized the racial stereotypes of us created by whites and remind whites that it is not necessary for them to purvey them through mass media, as we will do it for ourselves.

To be sure, both the white brass at CNN and Hughley bear equal responsibility for trafficking in and profiting from racism. CNN could not have done it without him or him without them. This symbiotic, collusive relationship is responsible for keeping racism alive. The white brass at CNN laughs all the way to the bank as we continue to denigrate ourselves for the entire world to see, racists delight in the voyeuristic enjoyment of racism and America continues to call itself "post-racial."

This election has taught us that outrage over racism is too selective. Ostensibly liberal networks such as CNN get a pass as evidenced by the lack of outrage about this show and ostensibly conservative networks such as Fox get pilloried as evidenced by the fact that Bill O'Reilly was taken to task for his comments about the "normal" atmosphere at Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem. It was not too long ago that Don Imus was banned from the airwaves because of his "nappy headed hos" comment. In fact, advertisers fled in droves. I have yet to hear any advertiser flee from this show.

So America, as Election Day approaches, would the election of a black president mean that we would have addressed race or that we will continue to rearticulate it?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cousin Jeff, Boyce Watkins: College athletes should be paid

Cousin Jeff from Rap City and Hip Hop vs. America appears with Dr. Boyce Watkins on CNN to talk about why college athletes should get paid.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Dr Boyce and NY Times Reporters Get Pictures Altered by Fox News

Fox News was caught changing the photos of its guests to make them look scarier. Dr. Boyce Watkins was one of the guests that had his image changed. The teeth color was changed for some, the forehead lengthened or the ears widened, depending on the picture. This is yet another strike against the journalistic reliability of Fox News.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Black Money Tip: It is not Always Best to own a Home

This is an article explaining some reasons why you might not feel it necessary to purchase a home.  I agree.  What is also true is that there are convenience reasons that an individual may not want to buy: if you are only living in a city for a short period of time, don't want the hastle and expense (not to mention taxes) of home ownership, you have a business that is already giving you a good return or you have a great tax write-off elsewhere.  Owning a home is great, but it is more important to remember the importance of eventually owning SOMETHING.  It doesn't have to be a house. 

Real-estate agents have been pushing the virtues of homeownership since homes were invented. Or since real-estate agents were invented, anyway. Paying a mortgage, they insist, is a can't-miss investment (the tax breaks, the appreciation, the thrill of fixing your own roof!). Renting is for simpletons who don't like keeping their own money.


But does owning a home really trump renting? With the economy stumbling, house prices falling, and credit tightening, many housing experts are questioning the conventional wisdom. "Over the last decade, it may have been true," says W. Van Harlow, an economist at the Fidelity Research Institute. "Clearly, there are periods where [the housing market] will dominate. But give this market correction another 18 months, and it may not be true anymore."

Not so hot. The housing boom produced endless stories of homeowners getting twice what they paid for their homes. But "prices don't always go up," says Jay Butler, director of realty studies at Arizona State University. Even a boomtown like Phoenix has seen median rates of appreciation climb only 4.6 percent a year since 1981. According to a Fidelity study published this year, the return on a dollar invested in real estate in 1963 barely beat that of a low-risk treasury bill.

Click to Read More.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Soulja Boy, Ice T, Kanye West: Hip Hop Beef Gone Bad

Soulja Boy’s music?….not that great to me. But then again, it expresses a type of greatness that I probably can’t comprehend. It’s as if I am an expert in German and Soulja Boy did an Edgar Allen Poe in Chinese. If you go to Youtube and check out the hottest artists in America, you might see that a video has 3 million views, maybe 7 or 8 million if they are really hot. Soulja Boy? Try 30 million.

So Ice-T, you might think Soulja Boy’s music is garbage, but there’s a whole generation of brothers, sisters, white kids, Asians, Africans, Latinos and even Martians who disagree with you.
I respect Ice-T. The man’s game is nuclear war-like and I even looked up to him when his musical career was colder than icecream in an Eskimo’s ass. But never once, even at the peak of his career, has he ever done anything hotter than what Soulja Boy did with his Superman joint. Soulja Boy did more with his “15 minutes” than a lot of artists do with 15 albums.

With that said, Soulja Boy has a lot to prove. First, he has to prove that he can actually write some lyrics that make a lick of damn sense. I don’t exactly sense lyrical brilliance in Soulja Boy’s music. He also has to prove that he has staying power. If I’m still listening to Soulja Boy when he’s a crusty old man dissing some 18 year old artist, then I’ll know he was onto something.
Ice-T, in his “apology” for telling Soulja Boy to “eat a d*ck”, issued the heaviest pimp-timidation I’ve ever seen dropped from one black man to another. Now I know why he was a successful pimp, and I seriously thought he was gonna back hand Soulja Boy through the camera. Ice T (who I actually believe to be a genius) played politics with Soulja Boy, reminding him that by coming at Ice-T, he was also coming at all of hip hop and all of the west coast. I can’t disagree with that, since Ice T’s roots run deep. This brother was dropping records before Soulja Boy was Semen Boy, Embryo Boy or Aluminum lunch box Boy.

But Soulja Boy can come back at Ice T with this: “Grand Daddy OG, you got the whole west coast sewn up, but I got every 18 year old in the world dancing to my song. When you’re rollin on 24s in your wheelchair, they’ll still be reflecting on how they were bumpin to my song on prom night.” Soulja Boy is a lock for the “Greatest Hits of the New Millenium” soundtracks being sold on paid TV programs at 3 o’clock in the morning in the year 2032. My man had a classic with that song, there is no denying that.

It was not my impression that Soulja Boy started the beef, and that is the dividing line. It can be hurtful when you are young in the game, trying to get your respect and an old cat just broadsides you like that. Kobe went through it when he joined the Lakers, which was Shaquille O’neal’s team. Tiger Woods went through it when white men didn’t believe a black man could dominate professional golf. I applaud Kanye West for coming to Soulja Boy’s defense. Kanye made it plain: This is not 1996 anymore. Tupac and Biggie are gone, gangsta rap has turned into something else, and many college sophomores were born during the same year as the tv show, “Yo MTV Raps”. I grew up on Ice T’s music, and I remember 1996. I listened to Tupac every morning before class, and NWA got me through college. So, I respect the west coast, I respect Ice T and I respect hip hop. But there comes a time when the old school has to add another wing of the building and make room for the new school. Soulja Boy is a respected member of the new school, whether we like it or not. Don’t player hate, collaborate and respect this man’s achievements.

Traditions in hip hop are like pillars of a building. On one hand, they give you stability and a strong foundation. On the other hand, they can be rigid constraints that demote progress within the institution. The more I listen to old school rappers complaining about young entrants, I stop hearing rappers, and start hearing “grumpy old mufukaz”. Instead of offering Soulja Boy a meal he would probably refuse (“eat a ….”), maybe Ice T could have invited the man into the studio. Ice T, your game is strong, Soulja Boy can learn from that. He can also learn a lot from the genius that kept you from getting pimped by this rap game, we know how those contracts work. Soulja Boy doesn’t want your game to die, he wants it to multiply. But if you come off as an old hater, your legacy will blow away like dust in the minds of the next generation. In other words, don’t become a lyrical Bill Cosby…..haterology won’t go as far as constructive critiques when you’re dealing with a fellow soldier.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Don Imus, Pacman Jones Situation Insults All Black Men

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

I received a call today from a producer at WVON in Chicago. My good friend Roland Martin (the black dude on CNN) and I are going to discuss Don Imus tomorrow morning at 8 am. I like WVON, it's literally my favorite station in America. There is a great deal of tradition there.

I was involved with the first removal of Don Imus from the air, as I worked with Rev. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton on the phone to talk about ways to challenge him. I mentioned that if African Americans engage in a unified effort to challenge his corporate sponsors, we can bring him down. That is what Jesse and Al did, and it worked. As a Finance Professor, I always look to the money first. That is the most critical element of power in a capitalist democracy.

You can imagine how disappointed I was to see Don Imus back on the air so soon. I admit that when I saw Imus appear on Al Sharpton's show, I really believed he was truly sorry for what he did. For him to repeat his actions is simply baffling, and I wonder out loud Rev. Jackson and Rev Sharpton feel the same way.

I recorded some of my thoughts on Don Imus below. The fact that this man can do what he did the first time, get back on the air and repeat the same stunt one year later is yet another reminder of just how little respect African Americans get in white media. No, it's not mainstream media, because mainstream media should reflect viewpoints from all perspectives. The truth of the matter is that most media is owned by people who are not black, so people like Imus and Bill O'Reilly can get away with this stuff without being forced to engage in any form of respect or responsibility. The ownership structure of American media is an artifact of 400 years of slavery and economic exclusion of African Americans. Our grandparents never had the chance to own CNN, FOX or NBC and they also did not have a chance to own the corporations that financially support these media outlets. African American wealth was stolen from us and now lies, in part, in the hands of companies that support racism on the airwaves.

So, the networks continue to insult black people and there are no consequences. Personally, I am getting tired of this crap. What is most ironic is that no matter what anyone says about black people on the air (lynching Michelle Obama, killing Barack Obama, calling Mrs. Obama a Baby's mama, calling Barack a terrorist, or calling black women Nappy headed hoes), someone is always there from the right wing willing to rationalize this behavior (some are even black). It reminds me of a relative I had with a drinking problem. No matter how much you pointed out his weakness, he always had an explanation. America's addiction to racism is a lot like the addictions of my uncle.

It's actually kind of pathetic.

The video is below:

Friday, June 20, 2008

Black Fathers are Not Collective Deadbeats: Barack Knows That

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

I received a lot of email from both men and women about my comments on Barack Obama's Father's Day speech. I watched the speech, hoping that I could find some way that I was wrong about Barack. Perhaps his speech writers, surely the best in the business, slid in a line or two conditionalizing his statements to remind us that Father's Day is a day to celebrate good fathers, not to spend all our time mulling over the bad ones.

I looked and looked for that one line of salvation and never found it. That makes me sad, since many of the emails I received were from black fathers who came right out of the Bill Cosby book of parenthood (even though Cosby has made some dirty mistakes of his own as a dad). These men, some of whom were conservatives or in the military, did not understand why little time was spent giving them the same respect we give women on Mother's Day. Instead, they were fed the same old stereotypes of black male irresponsibility. These were the same stereotypes that allowed their ex-wives or mothers of their children to feel completely vindicated for any poor treatment bestowed upon them as they worked hard to stay in their childrens' lives. They were the same stereotypes that keep the 50% of divorced white males of America comfortable that their broken homes are not as bad as the broken homes of black men. After all, the presidential candidates conveniently forget to critique White America in the same way they critique the black male. I thought Obama was 50% white? Doesn't that mean that he is as much a part of White America (thus entitled to critique) as he is Black America? Or is he just the Black Candidate?

To spend father's day obsessing over what black fathers are doing wrong is like going to someone's birthday party with a list of all the things you hate about them. Even if I'd been born with a terrible mother, I would not spend Mother's Day saying "Mom, there are far too many days when you are not there for me the way you should be." It would be even worse if I then went on to tell my father that the breakup of our family was all my mother's fault and that he is completely relieved of any guilt whatsoever.

That is what Obama did when he patted black women on the back and essentially said "That's ok. We know how all those black men are treating you. They're just bad and you're good. Let's spend Father's Day talking about you and how disappointed we are in them." He was preaching to the choir, since I am willing to bet that many of the men in that church were loyal and dedicated fathers, either sitting confused that they were being chastised on their special day or nodding their heads in agreement that black men are collectively a pack of screw ups. "Some do the right thing, but doing the wrong thing is the norm". Does anyone wonder how deformed your existence becomes when you consider the most pathetic segment of American society to be people who look like yourself?

This strikes a chord with me because I have seen it up close. I have seen black women who swear up and down that the reason every man they meet doesn't want to be with them implies that there is something wrong with all men. I see black men who refuse to date black women because they feel that black women are all angry, bitter and nasty. In both scenarios, I correct the individual and encourage him/her to look in the mirror. If all of your relationships are falling apart, you are the only variable that is consistently present in every relationship you've ever had. Either you are consistently choosing the wrong person to procreate with, or you are consistently mistreating the right people who come your way. Women who choose good men and treat them well remain happily married. That's just a fundamental fact and I, as a man, know this because I have chosen the wrong woman at times, and there have been times when I've not given a woman the respect she deserved. In either case, I ended up disappointed.

What is true is that both men and women play a role in the survival of our families. When a divorce or breakup occurs, the children are usually given to the woman. Also, most divorces are not always the sole fault of one party or the other. So, if we are going to define the term "deadbeat dads", we cannot generalize that term to include any man who does not live with his kids. Senator Obama DID NOT, to my knowledge, make that distinction.

What is most interesting is Obama's claim that "far too many men are not in the home....they've chosen to be boys instead of men". This implies that if you get a divorce and the kids live with the woman, then you are effectively behaving as a little boy. This further signals that if Michelle Obama were to divorce Barack and keep the kids, he would effectively become a deadbeat. I am sure that Senator Obama, who would likely spend plenty of time with his children and pay plenty of child support, would become agitated to hear someone speaking about him and other black men as a pack of dead beats, especially on Father's Day. Perhaps he could be consoled with the words "No, we weren't talking about you. We just avoided celebrating you on Father's Day because we wanted to place all the blame on the deadbeats, which includes most black men."

That is where black men are coming from. On Mother's Day, I am not going to spend one second talking about how "there are too many bad baby's mamas keep their child's father from seeing his kids", that "angry black women are divorcing their husbands and taking their children and money from them", or that "black women treat men like crap and then get mad when the man leaves the relationship." I would say none of these things, even though I can name several instances in which this has happened. Instead, I am going to spend Mother's Day celebrating the successes of black women and the wonderful impact they've had on me.

As I said before, it takes two to Tango, black men aren't doing the family break up dance by themselves. Also, the dance of child-rearing is not just being done by the black mothers. Black women are certainly the backbone of the community, but black men aren't just freeloading.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Michelle Obama is Now a Baby's Mama? Fox Should Be Ashamed

Dr. Boyce Watkins

I am not sure if I am the only one offended by this, but Michelle Obama was recently referred to as Barack Obama’s “baby mama” on Fox News.

Here are my questions about this:

1) At what point is it clearly concluded that Fox News is a racist network?

2) What does this say about our country that we have many Americans who will continue to support a network that says things like this about black people? Is this to lead us to believe that we have become equal and respected partners in the American family?

3) Would they say the same thing about Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan, Cindy McCain or Hillary Clinton?

Here is a link to the story and video.

If you want to see a great video about Fox News Racism, click here.

I have other thoughts as well:
1) When Martin Luther King had a dream that individuals would be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, did he take into consideration who would be judging the individual’s character? – Jeremiah Wright, in my opinion, has remarkable character, yet his character was considered racist, flawed and unpatriotic by many Americans. I think this implies that even when we get past skin color, we have yet to get to the point that black culture (i.e. the tradition of the black church for example) is respected and accepted by all of America. While many black Americans may not agree with Jeremiah Wright’s position and tactics, many of us have tremendous respect for him and The Trinity United Church of Christ….I am not comfortable with that church being reduced to a “racist cult”, for they were fighting for black people long before it became fashionable to do so.

2) Even when we get past racism, we still have to deal with racial inequality. Racial inequality is what you have in a society after 400 years of social, political and economic exclusion of a group of people. As a result, years later, nearly every major institution: academic, corporate, the media, etc. is controlled by White America. So, this implies that even if we are not disdained for being black, we are still subjected to the cultural domination and harrassment that comes from:

Media that feels comfortable destroying and humiliating Black American heroes and institutions.

Universities that tell you that black scholarly work done in the black community is worthless.

Jails and prisons filled with black men who have inadequate legal counsel and get longer sentences for the same crimes because (as in the case I just reviewed in Alabama) the DA goes to church with the prosecutor and judge.

Corporations that have very few African American middle and upper level managers.

Most of the financial capital in America controlled by people who are not black, with much of that capital inherited and initially stolen from African Americans.

The NCAA, which earns a billion dollars each year from black athletes, but refuses to hire black coaches (and behaves as if it is a crime when the athlete earns extra money from his/her labor).

The list goes on and on. It doesn’t matter if the dominant culture is deliberately racist. All that matters is that the dominant culture is DOMINANT. Racial inequality becomes the weapon of choice, as the perpetuation of institutions and ideals built on an undeniably racist foundation leads to the dominance of one set of cultural norms over another. The question is not whether Barack Obama is "black enough" for the White House. The question now being asked is whether he is "too black" for the White House. Michelle Obama, Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan and others are the scales being used to measure Obama's blackness, and this has little to do with the color of his skin.

Bottom line: if we feel that America as a country can spend 400 years treating black people as the underbelly of our society and then suddenly flip the script in 25 years, we’re out of our minds. Racial inequality is the toxic social mess created by 400 years of blatant racial terrorism and exclusion. It doesn’t go away just because we’ve stopped being racist or stopped noticing skin color. Rather, a proactive, deliberate effort must be made to clean up the mess that has been created. Until we have racial reconciliation and rehabilitation, we will never have racial harmony. We must also make things right. If I apologize to my employee for the fact that my dead father built my company by raping, murdering and robbing his mother, I can’t simply expect that holding hands and singing “We shall overcome” is going to make everything right. That’s just a fundamental fact. It also doesn't help if I call him a "whining hate monger" every time he brings up the conditions necessary for us to rebuild our friendship on a foundation of mutual respect that recognizes his parents' contribution to building the company that fills my bank account.

Bill Cosby (who I respectfully disagree with on some issues – but I don’t consider him to be another Juan Williams) says you are behaving as a victim if you speak out against oppression. I don’t consider Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King to be victims. My assertion is that you become a VICTOR when you progressively challenge our nation to live up to the liberties for which it claims to stand. If a people have become accustomed to getting abused, then sitting there and taking it is not, in my opinion, the way to make things better. You must become educated, inspired and empowered to command your self-respect.

While I encourage Senator Obama to keep running his excellent campaign, I also encourage all of us to be clear about just how much we are willing to denounce or let slide in order to get to the White House. If a woman sleeps with every man she meets because she is desperately seeking love, she may find disrespect waiting for her instead. Rather, I encourage that woman to love herself and draw clear parameters for acceptable behavior, for then any man who enters her life will be forced to love her for who she is. This example is not meant to sound sexist, for men have many issues of their own. It is only to remind Barack Obama that we must be careful about meeting every unreasonable demand of a country that is sick with racism just because we are seeking their love and approval. I will love black people and Barack Obama just as much if we don’t win this election. Giving up too much in exchange for something you feel you really need is what we in economics call “the winner’s curse”. Let’s not curse ourselves by giving up everything we hold sacred just so we can have a black man in the White House. Parameters of self-respect must be drawn, and we must learn to love ourselves. That is when we become respected partners in the American family.

Be educated, be strong, be liberated. Life is too short to be afraid.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, George Bush, Black America

Here is a series of interviews between myself and Hip Hop Star Vigalantee and Delores Jones. In this commentary (3 videos below) the conversation heads to Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Black America, the prison system, black education, and issues affecting us all as African Americans.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Barack Obama/Kunta Kinte - What's the Difference?

I woke up today thinking about the movie “Roots”. The first scene that jumps out at me is the image of Kunta Kinte being beaten because he wants to keep his real name. With each welt of the whip, he got a little weaker, until he finally changed his name to Toby.

Most of us were hit hard by this scene and hurt by it. I am equally hurt when I see Barack Obama, the political Kunta Kenta of 2008.

With each crack of the right wing whip and even some lashes by Hillary Clinton, Obama is being forced to slowly, but surely rip away everything that has helped him identify with being a black man in America. First he has to put a muzzle on his beautiful, intelligent wife, apologizing for the fact that she “misspeaks” in public. Next, he is distancing himself from Louis Farrakhan, a man with whom he had little prior association. Shortly thereafter, he goes into hiding like a broke baby’s daddy on the date of the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s Assassination, all because he didn’t want to appear “too black” for the American public.

Now we have Jeremiah Wright. After 20 years with the same pastor, Kunta Obama suddenly realizes that he made a mistake. It wasn’t sermon number 14, 122 or 1,107 that led him to that conclusion. It was Hillary Clinton and Sean Hannity who helped him see the light. They helped Barack Obama finally realize what should have been obvious from the very beginning: His radical wife needed to be put in her place, Martin Luther King is an embarrassment and his pastor can’t possibly be a true American. Thank God for Sean Hannity.

By the time Obama is done with this election, he will have fully apologized for being a strong black man in America. At that point, the transformation will be complete and Kunta will have no feet. I am only waiting for Hillary Clinton to force him to denounce Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and Harriet Tubman. After all, they were radical too.

This election surely makes Barack wish that all of his friends were white, perhaps even his wife. Those black people are just too much damn trouble. I might start getting rid of my black friends right now. Can I divorce my mama?

As I see the gobs of email coming in from readers at YourBlackWorld, the division within the black community is in full view. Some are angry at Pastor Wright for “messing up the good thing Obama has going”, while others feel that Pastor Wright should “tell it like it is.” The emails remind me of two women fighting hard over the same lying, trifling man who has learned to play them against one another. Rather than focusing on the real target (the man), the women fall right into the man’s trap, as they both so desperately seek his validation.

The truth is that the women in my example are afraid of being alone. They need him to tell them that they are beautiful. They’ve allowed this vulnerability to be exploited by a socially parasitic individual who preys on the insecurities of others. Black people, and Obama, NEED to be validated by White America. We NEED to get into the White House so that we can feel that we have achieved something. It is this need for validation from whites that leads us to sell our souls and do any tap dance necessary to achieve public approval. The loss of integrity, embarrassment, and degradation are all worth it in order to achieve the ultimate goal. I would not compare it to pure prostitution, because even prostitutes have limits.

Call me crazy, but I personally believe in a good old fashioned commodity called “integrity”. Integrity says that you don’t go denouncing your relatives because they say things that are displeasing to your audience. A high school kid doesn’t drop his little brother because the “cool kids” don’t like him. I don’t fault Jeremiah Wright for being the man he has been for the past 40 years. I only question Barack Obama, who is not the same man he was 2 years ago. I question America, a country so drunk with its own arrogance that it cannot tolerate people of color (Michelle Obama, Louis Farrakhan, Martin Luther King and Pastor Wright) who speak their mind about our country’s inequities. Every country in the world sees America’s racism. The United Nations writes reports about America’s racism. But America cannot see its own racism and those who see it are afraid to talk about it. That’s just a damn shame.

Were Obama not running for president, Jeremiah Wright would not be a problem. Barack would be going to church and saying “amen” like the rest of us. But the continuous game of psychological twister being thrust upon him by the right wing has forced him to lie as much as any other politician. Perhaps a young Barack Obama thought, in some idealistic way, that just being a good American could get him elected. Like many black men in America, Obama thought that doing the right thing, working hard and being a good person would be enough. But like the rest of us, he gets slapped with the reality that being a black man in America is one of the most unpopular positions on the social totem pole. Only a complete apology and full extraction from where you came from will do the trick: NBA players go through it, black professors go through it and politicians REALLY go through it.

Barack Obama, in my opinion, is not going to win this election. But no matter the outcome, his soul will be weary, weak and depleted. Kunta Obama will have no feet, and he may not even get to be president.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is an Assistant Professor of Finance at Syracuse University and author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?” For more information, please visit

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Barrack Obama: The man who brings us together may ultimately divide us

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Barack Obama’s emergence as a powerful Presidential candidate is truly worth celebrating. Beginning as a modest participant in the election, his creative political genius gave African-Americans the courage to support a black man. Hillary Clinton’s role as the “political sugar substitute” came to an abrupt end once Obama came with the real cane. Obama created his base of believers by going to the whitest parts of white America and showing that he could build a bridge long enough to gain universal trust and support.

As he gained the backing of white America, his black audience ran up in droves. The words “Did you hear what Obama pulled off?” were echoed across Black America, as silly terms like “hope” and “change” actually started to mean something. Some of us gave up on hope after the last season of the TV show, “Good Times”, since the family never quite seemed to make it out of the projects.

But the latest numbers lead one to wonder if too much black support is causing Obama to lose love among white voters. Last week in Texas and Ohio, Obama saw many white voters head toward Hillary Clinton. Clinton grabbed nearly two-thirds of the white votes in Ohio and over half of the white votes in Texas. This is a sharp reversal from the “political ass-whoopings” Obama has been handing Hillary for the past couple of months.

I’ve always feared the possibility that Barack Obama could end up becoming “the black candidate” in this election. I thought about it during his highly publicized challenge by Tavis Smiley (which I told Tavis that I disagree with) and his battle with Hillary Clinton over Martin Luther King’s legacy. Personally, as a man who speaks about race on a regular basis, I’ve never been rewarded for talking about race in America. Fortunately, I’ve never had to worry about people liking what I have to say. I came into this game well aware that extracting the disease of American racism would surely ignite the spite of a country that has spent 400 years in denial. But Obama, on the other hand, actually NEEDS everyone to like him. In his case, nearly any discussion of race is going to be incredibly counter-productive to his goal of being elected president.

The peculiar issue of political racism hit me first hand while watching my little brother run for student body president during college. My brother, who is going to attend graduate school at either Cornell or Harvard this fall, isn’t a “big mouth black man” like myself. He possesses quiet strength, builds bridges and is liked by nearly everyone he meets. In fact, he even looks like Barack Obama, which is just a little weird.

My brother’s campaign for student body president was a strong one, as he gave one stirring speech after another, met with all sororities and fraternities, produced innovative ideas and inspired tremendous energy from the students. All the while, he spent very little time discussing racial politics and worked deliberately to find common ground with the non-black students on campus. The black students, less than 10% of the student body, knew he was “playing the game”, and felt that he would support them once elected.

My brother found himself going into the election with over 95% of the black student body behind him. He was the Barack Obama of his campus, the hippest thing going that semester. He even substantially increased black voter turnout, which had been historically low. The problem was that his possession of such powerful and vocal black support on such a racially polarized campus transformed him into “the black candidate”, leading the white students to run for the woods. He dominated the African-American vote, but got almost none of the white vote. And he wasn’t even a Dangerous Negro.

I often wonder: if my brother had been a young Bill Clinton, a white male so readily endeared by the black community, would the outcome have been the same? I am not sure, but I sincerely doubt it. Like Vanilla Ice, JFK, Eminem and Elvis Presley, Hillary and Bill Clinton were never served a political liability for having overwhelming black support. Additionally, they were never attacked by individuals like Tavis Smiley for not being truly accountable to the black community, even though their years of leadership have led to highly questionable outcomes.

As a calming voice in the O’Reilly-Hannnity-Post 911 world, Barack Obama’s campaign has revealed the greatness of America. It may also reveal what is still wrong with America. African-Americans have become quite offended with Hillary Clinton, and the indication I’ve received from recent radio interviews is that there may be a movement towards a “Black Out” of Democratic votes if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination. Simultaneously, the election of Obama may lead many older white voters to become resentful that “the black guys are taking over”. The notion that a black man can control the White House and simultaneously promote an agenda that is supportive of African-Americans could very likely lead to a backlash. At least that’s what history tells us, but Obama is rewriting history every day.

I recall my own grandmother telling her children not to visit black doctors, because she didn’t trust them. If some black folks feel this way, I can’t imagine how some whites must feel. I also can’t help but wonder how long America can fully trust a black presidential candidate with the middle name Hussein, who also possesses past ties to the Muslim community. I can only “hope” that Obama’s success can “change” me into an optimist. The last season of “Good Times” is still lingering in my brain.
To our country’s credit, I will say that the overwhelming support of Obama implies that we’ve come a long way. At the same time, we have murdered and tortured some of our greatest heroes when it comes to moving the country forward on issues of race. Advancing racial equality is like being a lineman in a football game: to clear the path, you get bloodied and your face is smashed into the ground. However, the lineman is not the one who dances in the end zone. When one considers our nation’s 400 year addiction to racism, one must ask whether the addict, long in denial, long denying treatment, who continuously kills the messenger, has truly kicked the habit of racial inequality.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Dr. Boyce State of the Black Union Address 2008

Dr. Boyce Watkins Delivers a State of the Black Union Address

My state of The Black Union Address is below. I delivered it to highlight critical issues in the black community that should be addressed during 2008. The State of the Black Union Address being offered here is meant to complement, not to compete, with that of Tavis Smiley and his State of the Black Union Conference.

I humbly submit these ideas to the Your Black World Family in two parts. Part 1 covers The Economy and Education. Part 2 covers Health Care and The Criminal Justice system.

The State of the Black Union is something that evolves through time, and I do not believe in talking about black people from a point of negativity. I am a believer that we have worked hard to overcome a great deal through time and will continue to improve our plight. We are not "headed to hell in a hand basket" and we are not a "troubled people". We are a diverse people, with some of us on top of the world, some of us on the bottom.

My point is this: A State of the Black Union conversation must start from a position of self-love, positivity, productivity and courage. We can't all change THE world, but you can change YOUR world that lies within our reach.

Let's change YOUR BLACK WORLD.

The State of the Black Union Address is below. I hope you enjoy.

With complete sincerity and love,

Dr. Boyce Watkins

Dr. Boyce Watkins State of the Black Union Address - Part 1

Dr. Boyce Watkins State of the Black Union Address Part 2

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tavis Smiley and Barack Obama -My thoughts on the matter

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

I received alot of mainstream media requests about the situation between Senator Barack Obama and Tavis Smiley. Some interpreted my commentary to imply that I somehow wanted to take sides on this issue. I also received calls from some close friends of Tavis Smiley (but nothing personally from Tavis, who may be angry with me right now), who were concerned that I felt that Tavis was wrong for doing what he did.

I will now set the record straight.

I make it my primary objective to speak with complete honesty. I also found the situation between Barack Obama and Tavis Smiley to be disturbing. However, I do not consider either individual to be worthy of any form of persecution from the American public. I refused to do any mainstream media appearances to discuss this issue, because there are some things that black people need to discuss among themselves. I have a good relationship with the people at The Tom Joyner Morning Show and Black America Web, and it is my goal to keep it that way.

Tavis Smiley is a good man and a respectable brother. I want to see Barack Obama win this election, and Mr. Smiley has stated that he too celebrates Obama's success. It would never be in my plans to disrupt Obama's path to the White House, nor is it to add to the stress Tavis Smiley is clearly feeling right now. Did I take Tavis Smiley to task on what he said? A little bit, yes. But I only made my comments because I felt that some things needed to be said.

It is my personal opinion that while Tavis Smiley has no problem seeing Senator Obama jeopardize his race to The White House in order to appear at the State of the Black Union, I wouldn't expect Tavis to be willing to jeopardize one of his many corporate sponsorship deals to appear at someone else's forum. Also, if people were to accuse him of being anti-black for refusing to give up his sponsors, that would be wrong. While Smiley has proclaimed himself to be a tireless freedom fighter for the black community, I have never once seen him take Walmart to task for the way this company has consistently pillaged poor people and those of color. It would not be in Mr. Smiley's interest to do so, but yet the broader community would certainly benefit from such a commentary. Thus, like the rest of us, Tavis does sacrifice a little freedom for a little "me-dom" every now and then.

So, for those who are fans of Tavis Smiley, Tom Joyner or Barack Obama, please understand that my goal is to be fair, not to take sides. Tavis should have invited Barack to his conference, but for him to assume that anyone who is anyone in Black America should be attending the State of the Black Union.....well, that's just wrong. There are many forums in Black America that allow individuals to express their blackness, and his convention is just one of them.

Sorry to be honest brother, but I've got to tell the truth. I've had alot of people compare me to Tavis and we have alot of mutual friends. I will always respect you.

My video statement is below. A special thanks to the production crew for putting it together. For those who don't like the hip hop in the commentary, I'm sorry, but that's just me being Dr. Boyce.

Respect and Love:

Boyce Watkins

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Barack Obama Sends Open Letter to Tavis Smiley

February 13, 2008

Mr. Tavis Smiley
President and CEO
The Smiley Group
3870 Crenshaw Boulevard
Suite 391
Los Angeles, CA 90008

Dear Tavis,

Thank you for the invitation to participate in the 2008 State of the Black Union forum in New Orleans, Louisiana February 21-23. The exchange of ideas raised at this annual symposium are invaluable as our nation strives to address the critical issues facing not just African Americans, but Americans of every race, background and political party.

I especially commend you for hosting this dialogue in New Orleans. On the eve of the Louisiana primary, I visited this great city for the fifth time since declaring my candidacy to share policy proposals for rebuilding the Gulf Coast so that we never experience another Hurricane Katrina. On February 9, I was deeply humbled to win the Louisiana primary with 86 percent of the African American vote and a 14 point lead among all voters who said they were adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Uniting our country and creating a national constituency for fundamental change is why I am running for President of the United States. We have come a long way in this race, but we still have a long road ahead. In the final stretch, I will be on the campaign trail everyday in states like Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin talking directly with voters about the causes that are at the heart of my campaign and the State of the Black Union forum such as affordable healthcare, housing, economic opportunity, civil rights and foreign policy. I am committed to touching every voter, and working to earn their vote.

That is why with regret, I am not able to attend the forum. I understand that you have declined the campaign’s request to have Michelle Obama speak on my behalf. I ask that you reconsider. Michelle is a powerful voice for the type of real change America is hungry for. No one knows my record or my passion for leading America in a new direction more than Michelle Obama.

Tavis, this is our movement and our time. I look forward to working closely with you throughout this election. Thank you for your continued support.


Barack Obama

Monday, February 11, 2008

Getting through this Recession the Right Way

By Dr. Boyce Watkins

You may have heard from the “financial experts” on TV that the recession is coming. For lack of a better phrase, many of us might be tempted to say “no duh”. Hearing a rich person on TV tell you that hard times are on the way is like being knee deep in water and getting a rain alert from the weather man.

Most Americans knew the recession was here when they started losing their homes in the subprime lending crisis. Many others learned about the recession when they could not afford heat for their homes, health care for their families, or college tuition for their children. According to a recent Gallup poll, 50% of all Americans expect their standard of living to decline. We don’t need a Suzie Orman, Larry King or some random journalist to tell us that.

As a financial researcher, I saw the recession coming 2 years ago during my fellowship with the Center for European Economic Research. The data showed, quite clearly, that Americans were managing their money like a pack of drunken sailors. We were over spending, over borrowing, under saving and under investing. That combination is never good in the long-term. Financial chickens always come home to roost.

We weren’t exactly seeing a good example from the Federal government, who has taken the word “conservative” out of the term “Conservative Republican”. Spending on a war that cost entirely too much, we were borrowing in a manner that even scared people who don’t care about politics. If our government were a college student, he would be getting an angry phone call from his mother.

It is not my belief that we should worry about the government when it comes to getting through the recession. The highly publicized “stimulus package” is only designed to stimulate you to do more of what got you in this mess in the first place. Giving Americans money back in hopes that they will spend it is like getting the drug addict high again to avoid the hangover.

“Personally responsibility” is a phrase often used by conservatives toward the poor. But it is also the key phrase here, as many have demanded that the government bail out those of us who bought homes we could not afford, stopped saving for retirement, or took extra hits from the “credit card crack pipe”. All of us make mistakes, but it is important to learn from the mistakes to move forward in prosperity.

Here are some quick lessons we can learn from the current economic downturn. The recession “out there” in the broader economy has little to do what is going on in your own home. In fact, my grandmother used to say that growing up “The Great Depression was business as usual for black folk. We didn’t know there even was a depression in the first place and we never really saw it come to an end.”

1) Budget Budget Budget – Most Americans don’t keep a budget and it leaves us in a financial mess. Spending money without a budget is like driving your car without a map. At the end of the day, you don’t really get anywhere meaningful and just end up running out of gas.

2) Use government help as a stepping stone, never as a crutch – if the government sends you a tax refund, save it. They are also making it easier for those with more expensive homes to get 3% mortgages, subsidized by tax payer money. Subsidized mortgages are a much better use of tax payer resources than blowing it on Iraq. Look into these options and learn what opportunities are available for you.

3) Take stock of your financial life – Calculate your net worth, which is the market value of all your assets, minus the debt you owe. Being in debt is not a terrible thing, but not trying to get out of debt can be a problem. If you are a professional, take account of the amount in your retirement savings and find out if your company has options for retirement investing.

4) Kill a Credit Card Today – Find a credit card and slice that son of a bitch in half. Most of us have 4 or 5 of them, so just pick one and see if you can go on a cash budget. In fact, you may want to give yourself a cash allowance in order to control your frivolous spending. Credit cards really do seem like free money, which impacts the perception of our spending.

5) Declare a One Month Spending Freeze – For four straight weeks, try to only pay necessary bills. Don’t go to the mall, don’t go out to eat, don’t buy any new clothes, shoes, hair, or fur coats for your puppy. Take the extra income you will get from the freeze (calculated in your budget) and put that money into your retirement plan or brokerage account. If you don’t have one, get one right now.
Habits are created by a series of seemingly insignificant actions, all headed in the same direction. The depths of despair serve as incubators for our greatest achievements. Let’s be wealthy and great in 2008.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Michael Vick, Black Men and Prison

Dr. Boyce Watkins -

We shot this episode of Boiling Hot with Boyce Watkins in the middle of the Michael Vick saga. I think that there is good reason to keep this issue in the front of our minds, even if it is not in the media.

Michael Vick was an absolute knucklehead and I make no excuses for his behavior. However, I think that some people underestimate the fact that we put our American liberties in jeopardy when we condone a mob mentality toward someone who has committed a crime. The notion that any crime justfies any punishment is wrong, but that is exactly what happens in our prison system.

We believe that these men should not be allowed to vote for the rest of their lives. We allow them to rape one another and pass horrible diseases. Many people are against the idea of even allowing them to get an education or come back to the communities that need them. We don't allow them to get jobs when they are released and we even allow slavery to occur. All of these atrocities, as fascist as they seem, are justified on the basis that anyone who makes a criminal mistake deserves few rights as an American....ever.

I compared Vick's case to a modern day lynching because when black men were lynched, it was not just because they were black. It was, in many cases, in response to the accusation of criminal activity. Most of us would argue that even in cases where the accusations were truthful, lynching was not the appropriate punishment.

In Vick's case, America felt that because he had done something wrong, he deserved to lose everything: past, present and future. He would be burdened with an endless and unpayable debt to society, never allowed to earn a living as an athlete in the NFL and lose all the years of hard work and asset accumulation he has earned throughout the years.

The Michael Vick situation was similar to a lynching for a couple of reasons: First, Vick's greatest crime was angering white America. Many African-Americans (not all) seemed to feel that while Vick's actions were reprehensible, he deserved the chance to rebuild his young life. During the BET Awards, a Michael Vick jersey was held up and cheered by the fans in the audience. None of this was shown on CNN or other networks. Second, there was a sentiment that seemed to imply that because he was a criminal, he therefore deserved any punishment laid upon him. This throws out the fact that the punishment must fit the crime.

So, the ultimate question is not whether Michael Vick did something wrong. He clearly did. The important question pertains to finding the proper punishment. If a man were to stab his daughter for not doing her homework, most of us would not agree with the punishment, no matter how committed we are to education. The same principle applies in the Michael Vick case.

Michael Vick's situaton gave us a window into the prison system and it's relationship with black men. This national epidemic is one of our great disgraces as a country and one of the destructive legacies of the Reagan Era. Eventually chickens come home to roost, and while you don't think this affects you or your family, you might want to think again.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Rapper Pimp C Killed by Cough Syrup

Pimp C, a high-powered artist that was part of the group UGK, was found to have died from an overdose of over the counter cough medicine, according to the LA County coroner.

Pimp C, whose real name was Chad Butler, was found dead on December 4, but it took two months to determine his cause of death. The coroner's report stated that the death was "due to promethazine/codeine effects and other unestablished factors."

Ed Winter, the Assistant Chief of the Coroner's office, said that the levels of the medication were high, but not high enough for an overdose. However, the high levels of cough medicine, mixed with Butler's sleep apnea, created the deadly combination.

Pimp C was part of the hot hip-hop team UGK, along with rap artist Bun B. The group hit #1 with their last release "Underground Kingz."

Pimp C's cause of death led to some controversy after UGK recorded "Sippin on some Sizzurp", which some connect with cough syrup. The rap lyrics included one controversial line: "I'm choking on that doja sweet and sipping on that sizz-erp."

The medication that led to Pimp C's overdose has been considered popular in the south for young people who want to get high. Rap artist Big Mo even called Houston "City of Syrup", for being known for recreational cough syrup consumption.

Jose Martinez, a DEA special agent, said that the cough syrup is only available by pescription, but that it's recreational use is widespread.

"It is not uncommon to see large quantities of the controlled substance being sold and transported," he said.

The medication found in Pimp C's hotel room carries a warning against use by those with sleep apnea.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Young Money: Getting Financially Fit as a Young Person

by Dr. Boyce Watkins -

There’s nothing wrong with a little shine in your life, especially since you have worked hard to get that degree. But shining too hard can have you rolling on 24s to bankruptcy court. Whether you earn 10 dollars per year or 10 Million, you are a financial slave if you are not saving, investing and letting your money grow. As I like to say, “To ‘floss’ at 23 is human, but to floss till you’re 90 is divine”.

As a Finance Professor and your personal Financial Physician, let me give you a list of rules to live by, so that your grandkids will be riding high on the hog after you have cooked up the pork chops. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and you are wasting your mind if you have not used it to build, invest and teach in your community:

Rule #1: The easiest way to stay poor is to never own anything. Renting an apartment will help your landlord get a house, not you. Buying cars helps the auto dealer get a new limo, not you. The candy apple paint on their new Mercedes is being peeled right off your black butt. Get on the other side of that deal! Buy a house as quick as you can, buy stocks, buy bonds, own ASSETS. Don’t believe the hype about having a high paycheck; It means nothing if you don’t own anything.

Rule #2: The quickest path to getting pimped is to always work for someone else. Don’t just try to find a job, put yourself in position to CREATE a job. Start your own business as soon as you can. Remember: when you are working for someone else, they are usually earning 10 dollars for every dollar they pay you. Now THAT’S pimpin. Get with the GRAND hustle, not the BLAND hustle by using the PLANNED hustle to start your own business.

Rule #3: Save at least 10% of your money every time you get paid, NO EXCUSES. You should pay yourself first by having the money come right out of your check. A person who saves $200 per week starting at the age of 22 and invests that money in the stock market for a 10% return every year will have roughly $43,000 by the time they are 32, $434,000 by the time they are 52, and $1.6 million when they are 65. That’s enough money to help Flava Flav get a new girlfriend.

Rule #4: Create multiple streams of income. Your salary should only be one. I don’t care if you sell comic books, Avon or rotten fish. Remember the words of the rapper TI: “If the grapes don’t sell, I dry em up and sell raisins.” Side hustles provide job security, in case your boss hands you the pink slip. If you are smart, you can hand the pink slip to your boss.

Rule #5: Love is creepy sometimes, so watch who you hook up with. Merging your money with someone is like having sex with them: it can be an amazing experience, or it can leave you burned and bitter. Whether it is marriage or starting a business together, only merge your money with someone who cares about your best interest. In other words, don’t waste your life with losers.

Read my lips and follow these tips, and your future will have so much shine that Stevie Wonder will need to put on his sunglasses. Now that’s pimpin.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

BET 25 Events that misshaped black america

I was on this show with BET called "The 25 Events that Misshaped Black America". It was shortly after I'd done some other relatively controversial stuff with CBS Sports, ESPN, CNN and other places. I've worked with BET on a number of occasions and I usually feel relaxed when I am in their space....sometimes too relaxed.

I have let things loose on their network that might be truthful, but could still get me in trouble. My mother used to say that the truth will set you free, but when you are a black man, the truth can also get you locked up!

They asked me alot of financial questions, which I appreciate. I am not usually asked financial questions when I am in the white media, since they usually just ask me "black people stuff". But what I love most about dealing with BET, Black Enterprise and Essence is that I am a professional first and foremost and I get the respect earned from my doctorate. I haven't felt that way when I've worked with Fox News, which is why I have refused to work with them since last summer. Most of their shows are incredibly racist.....except Family Guy, which is one of my favorites (I had to tell the truth about that one).

At any rate, what I loved about this show was that they went head-on into the issues that really matter most for black people. They talked about Ward Connerly, the man who is single-handedly dismantling affirmative action by allowing himself to be used like a "Mega-hoe" by the racist establishment. Yep, I said it....."Mega-hoe". That's like a prostitute with really large sex organs.

Connerly is one of the most negative and destructive forces in American history and one of the human beings I respect the least on this planet. He makes Clarence Thomas look like Malcolm X. How a black man can go through this much effort to destroy educational opportunities for black youth is beyond me.

BET also confronted the prison system, which is destroying black families, killing black men, getting black women infected with HIV, you name it. No one is doing anything about it, and it sickens me that our society has allowed Jim Crow to creep back into our culture by disguising it as a fair justice system. The justice system is not fair and it never has been. Get that straight right now.

The show was great, and the people behind it were not only of the people, but very intelligent to boot. Much respect to the folks at BET. It was a good experience.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Randy Moss and Terrell Owens - The Best Players in the NFL

I wanted to make this point (in the video) about Terrell Owens and Randy Moss. These guys get alot of heat for their "character", and the consistent pattern is that America feels that it has the paternalistic right and obligation to consistently judge the character of black males. People do not understand how this concept is universal: it happens to black boys in the school system, which is why they are nearly 5 times more likely than other kids to be placed in special ed. It happens to black men in the criminal justice system, which is why black men are tried and convicted at a much higher rate than men and women who commit the same crimes. It happens on the job market, which is why we don't get promotions as regularly even when our qualifications are the same. I go through it at Syracuse University, as I have been labeled a "dangerous black man" for being honest about racial inequality in America. Rather than ask itself why it has dozens of departments that have NEVER in over 100 years, granted tenure to a black male or female, it is easier for the administration to point their hostility toward me for being the one who brought such a startling fact to their attention.

I understand. Racism makes you do this.

Due to the long history of extreme racism that created the roots of nearly every institution in our society, many Americans today are unaware of just how powerful their racist history is in determining their outlook on nearly every aspect of American society. The outrage Americans had toward Michael Vick is very similar to the rage that Americans felt 100 years ago if a black man was accused of hurting a white woman. Americans felt that because Vick had been deemed a "monster", it was within their rights to take everything from him. The same was true of OJ Simpson. Not to say that these men were perfect,they are clearly flawed. But this notion that "a monster has no rights and therefore should be subject to vigilante justice" is nothing new, and has been historically applied to black men.

I am not surprised when I see the backlash that comes when I speak on issues in this way. Racism trains us as Americans to squash the voices of people of color, even when they are telling the truth.