Monday, December 21, 2009

NCAA is the Great Scam of the 21st Century

Read More: Education, Florida State University, Football, NCAA, Seminoles, Sports, Student, University

Educational mission of NCAA is great scam of 21st century

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

4 ► Retweet



According to the ESPN Show "Outside the Lines," the Florida State Seminoles appear to be about everything except education.

In order to win games and make millions, football players are having their majors chosen for them, and many athletes are being conveniently misdiagnosed as learning disabled. One recent episode stated that one-half of all Florida State University football players and three-fourths of their African-American athletes are Social Science majors (indicative of major clustering). One of the academic counselors said that when she started her tenure, there were 15 football players tagged as learning disabled. That number has since spiked to 65.

When the allegations were released, Florida State University started backpedaling faster than an NFL defensive back. The NCAA has done its usual grandstanding, detaching itself from the Seminoles, as if this doesn't also happen at nearly every other campus under its domain.

But the truth is that this behavior is not uncommon. If you think that Florida State University is the only NCAAschool to engage in such destructive and irresponsible behavior, then you need to be educated on how many campuses now do business. College athletes, many of them African-American, are brought to college as hired guns, under the guise of getting an education. The entire charade is sustained for the sake of helping the NCAAmaintain its multi-billion dollar professional sports league.

Yes, I said professional, not amateur. Any league that earns money on par with the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB is a professional sports league. NCAA coaches, commentators and administrators - mostly white - earn six and seven figure salaries while simultaneously robbing athletes of their educations, their futures, and the money that they and their families have earned. In order to avoid paying taxes on their revenue, the NCAA spends millions on marketing to convince us that their multi-million dollar corporate extravaganzas are polite little weekend activities that students barely remember to keep on their schedules. All the while, Tyrone Smith attends four years of college and doesn't even learn how to read.

For the NCAA, the educational mission of their professional sports league is one of the great scams of the 20th and 21st centuries, no different from the Ponzi schemes of Bernie Madoff. It is a convenient illusion, like Tiger's wife using the golf club to "save him from a car accident."


Click to read.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cynthia McKinney’s Open Letter to Syracuse University about Dr. Boyce Watkins


Chancellor Cantor:

I write this letter with fond memories of interactions with the wonderful students at Syracuse University.  While on your campus, I found the students to be both thoughtful and welcoming:  perfect for a university campus.

I write to lend my full support for Dr. Boyce Watkins and his tenure application at Syracuse University.  Dr. Watkins has raised the profile of Syracuse University as he informs our national community on money matters as well as matters of the conscience.  And at this particular time in our country's history, financial literacy must be viewed as an important life skill.  Dr. Boyce is doing for America what he does in Syracuse University classrooms every class meeting period.  So why would Syracuse University not want such a prolific and publicly appealing face as its representative?

Ultimately, Dr. Boyce must be judged by what he does in the classroom and in publications.  Does Dr. Boyce elevate Syracuse University and does he elevate his field?  Dr. Boyce demonstrates "academics in action" and makes scholarship relevant.  Why should Dr. Boyce's scholarship and activism (which elevates Syracuse University) not be rewarded by a grant of tenure from Syracuse University?

As a former Member of Congress and Green Party candidate for President of the United States, I realize that political complexities can play a role in the decision to grant tenure to faculty on most American campuses. As I have just concluded successful organizing against war that brought together four 2008 Presidential candidates, I am reminded of the clean break that Dr. King had to make with his friends of the civil rights movement when he decided to speak out against the Vietnam War.  But Dr. King intoned that he had been fighting segregation too long to segregate his moral concerns.  Your decision with respect to Dr. Boyce is both political and moral.  And so, I will end with one very famous Dr. King quote and hope that the leadership of Syracuse University will do in this decision what is right:

"Cowardice asks the question - is it safe?
Expediency asks the question - is it politic?
Vanity asks the question - is it popular?
But conscience asks the question - is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right."

Cynthia McKinney


The President’s Grade for 2009

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

The other night on the Oprah Winfrey Christmas special, President Barack Obama made an unwise move. When asked what grade he deserves as president, Obama gave himself a B+. Giving himself a grade was not necessarily the best decision, since there are over 300 million Americans who then realized that they should be giving him grades as well.
So, allow me to be the first to provide our president with a grade for his performance. I've been giving grades to college students for the last 16 years, and one thing my students will tell you is that I am fair. My other argument is that I never actually GIVE you a grade; I simply report the grade that you've earned.
1) Handling of the Economy (B-): President Obama is better than John McCain ever could have been when it comes to managing our economic downturn. The problem is that while the president has spiraled our deficit out of control, our nation has yet to see any concrete evidence that the economy's fundamental strength has returned. He has made an enemy out of Wall Street by grandstanding around executive pay issues, but he has lost the backing of Main Street because job losses continue to mount. That's the problem with always reaching across the isle: Sometimes, you don't have firm support on either side of it. The president's inability to translate massive spending into real jobs is going to cost him big time.
2) Management of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (B): On one hand, the president must face the stern reality that you can't just walk out of a war in the middle of it. We all know that Bush got us into these messes, and Obama must get us out. At the same time, Obama pledged to get us out of the wars faster than he is actually doing it, and it is incredibly awkward for a man to accept a Nobel Peace Prize while simultaneously escalating the troop presence in an occupied country. Sure Obama didn't give himself the Nobel Prize, but he still must be held accountable.


Click to read.

Students Voice Their Thoughts on Dr. Boyce’s Tenure Battle

Reported in the SU Student Voice.

The Rev. Al Sharpton has written the chancellor in support of Watkins, right

The Rev. Jesse Jackson and former Rep. Cynthia McKinney have now thrust themselves into the debate over Boyce Watkins’ tenure appeal, The Student Voice has learned.

Three days after the Rev. Al Sharpton sent Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor a letter in support of Whitman professor Boyce Watkins’ pending tenure appeal case, Jackson told Watkins that he wanted to get involved. Watkins sent SV writer Naresh Vissa a text message early this morning saying Jackson wants to speak with Cantor as soon as possible.

Watkins and Cantor are scheduled to meet today to discuss Watkins’ future at the university after he was denied tenure, first reported in The Student Voice.

And McKinney, the Green Party presidential candidate in 2008, wrote what Watkins called “the most astonishing letter in support of my tenure case” to SU administration yesterday. Prominent African-American syndicated columnist Julianne Malveaux has also voiced her support for Watkins.


Click to read.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Where Eric Holder Got it Wrong

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Elliot Millner brought it to my attention that Attorney General Eric Holder has been apparently spending a lot of time with Bill Cosby these days. In a recent speech at a black church in Queens, NY, Holder took a page out of the Barack Obama Campaign Catalog and chose to win favors with the black middle class by recklessly bashing away at absentee fathers and returning to the whole "ya'll just need to grow up and be more responsible" argument that allows any politician to explain away a blatant disregard for meaningful public policy. Rather than talking about things that we can do as a society to take our collective foot off the necks of black men, he chose to say that black men are choosing to put the foot on their own necks.
Elliot Millner, who is also in the legal profession, intelligently said the things that I am sure Eric Holder wanted to say. But unlike Holder, Millner is not constrained by the political shackles that come with being an appointed leader in a society that makes a habit of oppressing, destroying and marginalizing black men.
In his speech, Holder said that, "It should simply be unacceptable for a man to have a child and then not play an integral part in the raising and nurturing of the child."
That quote is a nice way of reflecting on the obvious. It's sort of like saying, "It should be unacceptable for a black man to become the Attorney General of the United States and not play an integral part in helping other black men overcome the blatantly racist and destructive justice system over which you preside."

Click to read.

Eric Holder Attacks Black Fathers: Was it the Right Thing to Do?

by Elliot Millner, J.D. – Your Black World 

Attorney General Eric Holderrecently spoke at a Black church in Queens, NY, and during his speech he gave Black fathers another talking to, stating that:
"It should simply be unacceptable for a man to have a child and then not play an integral part in the raising and nurturing of the child."
Sounds good on face value. Who doesn't think that any man who has a child should play a vital role in that child's growth and development? A.G. Holder is 100% right on that point, and I have no disagreement with him whatsoever.
However lets look beyond the truthfulness of the words. When communicating, there are many other factors to consider other than what is being said. So, let's consider the question: If a person is truly concerned about promoting the increased participation of Black father's in their children's lives, what would that person do? Seemingly, a person sincere about achieving that goal would go speak to the people most in need of that talk, in this case Black fathers who were not being responsible for the children they had helped bring into the world. Although I'm sure it may have been some people in Memorial Presbyterian Church who were being negligent in their parental duties, I doubt that A.G. Holder's message applied to the majority of them.

Click to read.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dr. Boyce on CNN: Tiger Woods and Race

Dr. Boyce and Don Lemon wonder out loud whether there is a racial dimension to the media slaughter of Tiger Woods.

The “OJ Simpsonization” of Tiger Woods: Could it Possibly Happen?

Tiger Woods has slipped from Obama to OJ

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Tiger Woods is a black athlete. He isn't "Caublinasian," mixed or any other ethnicity. He is, officially, a black man - especially after being reduced to being an adulterer who sleeps with porn stars. At least that's what guests on the Joy Behar Show seem to think.

During a recent episode, a guest on the show, Karith Foster, was asked what she thought about Tiger's recent indiscretions. In response to the question, the comedian said (without cracking a smile) that Tiger is "acting like a black athlete now."

I was shocked to hear these words come out of the mouth of any person, let alone an African-American woman. Dr. Deborah Stroman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first person to bring the comments to my attention. She and I both agreed that the statement was an outrageous, irresponsible choice of words, and the host should have challenged her immediately. But Foster's comments might be telling, given that she once relegated herself to being the token black sidekick of a man (Don Imus) famous for referring to black women as "nappy headed hoes." Foster was fired not too long after being hired, which reminds us of the complications that come from making deals with the devil just to keep a job in media.

Needless to say, I was disappointed with Ms. Foster's remarks. I also found it quite ironic that no one went out of their way to compare Woods with other black men when he was the clean cut soldier boy with the billion dollar smile. At that time, he was considered the exception to the rule, something that all of America could easily embrace. Some have decided to associate the "black male" side of Tiger with the seedy character who has emerged over the past two weeks. Such comparisons are insulting to good black men everywhere. At the same time, it should be acknowledged that not every American shares the opinion of Karith Foster.

Let's be clear, Tiger Woods is not seedy, nor is he perfect. In reality, he is simply human. The problem is that we were all led to believe that he was super human, so the Tiger we are seeing today appears sub-human. Tiger Woods was the original Barack Obama, a man who injected hope into the psyches of sports fans everywhere, as we were all inspired to see a man with a brown face whipping the greatest golfers in history. Even to this day, Tiger is usually the only man of color on the golf course, and he is almost always the most dominant.

It will be interesting to see how the world processes Tiger's recent mistakes. It is not inconceivable that Tiger could be "OJ Simpsonized" by this incident, especially if additional dirt is leaked to the public. If you recall, OJ was also an athlete who'd been given permission to spend a significant amount of time with white women before the murder took place. After his trial, however, he was considered to be the most morally depleted man in America.


Click to read.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tiger Woods Quitting Golf?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

The British Tabloid, the Sun, is now reporting on it's website that Tiger Woods, the #1 player in the world, may be quitting golf in order to save his marriage. According to a source, said to be a friend of Tiger's wife, Elin Nordegren, ""They have agreed to try and rebuild their marriage, but Elin will be the one calling the shots. It will be a long time before he's traveling the globe playing golf unless Elin's by his side. Tiger will have to work long and hard to get her to trust him again. Quitting golf shows he is willing to sacrifice something he loves so much to protect his family....."
If Tiger Woods were to quit the game of golf, a long list of people stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars. Here's the short list:

Click to read.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

OK, Time to Leave Tiger Alone

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Tiger Woods has changed right before our eyes.  He was once an American hero, and has been since reduced (to many) to be a no good, dirty, lying, cheating dog.  Tiger now comes off to some as a typical oversexed athlete who can’t keep his you-know-what in his pants and makes it his job to break women’s hearts.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  If you hate Tiger Woods, then join the club.  I am disappointed in Tiger Woods too.

But it’s time to move on from that.  Tiger is better than this and so are we.  Yes, Tiger Woods appears to be a man with a “complicated” lifestyle, but he is also a man who found a way to achieve things that no human being in the history of the world has ever been able to accomplish.  He has carried the banner for African American golf on his shoulders and single-handedly beat the living crap out of hundreds of other participants in an historically racist sport.  He was Barack Obama before Barack came along.  Tiger filled us with hope and made us believe that black people could do anything.

Click to read.

Dr. Boyce on AOL Black Voices – 12/10/09

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

SU Students Speak Out on Behalf of Dr. Watkins and his Battle with Syracuse University

Watkins, a finance professor at SU, is ignored by the administration.

By Naresh Vissa

In January 2007, college student Heather Ellis and her cousin stood in two lines at Wal-Mart. They agreed that the first to reach a register would combine the items for purchase. When the African-American Ellis gave her cousin the groceries, bystanders behind complained that she had cut. After some verbal exchanges, Ellis walked to her car and found the police waiting to arrest her. She tried her best to resist and suffered numerous cuts and bruises in the process.

Today, Ellis should be in medical school. Instead, she has pled guilty to charges of disturbing the peace and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors.

The case was covered by CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, Good Morning America, The Today Show and every major black media outlet in America. Even more importantly, Syracuse University is connected to it, but hasn’t issued any statements. As a producer of two radio shows, I myself find it embarrassing that I discovered Ellis through a press release pitch e-mail I received.

At the forefront of all the outrage is Whitman School of Management Finance Professor Dr. Boyce Watkins, but it’s not getting any attention from SU administrators.

“I’ve come to accept the fact that the University is not appreciative of my work,” Watkins said. “It’s part of their tradition when it comes to progressive black scholars. If I’d learned to sit down and shut up, I might be treated better. Quiet Negroes do quite well in academia.”

Click to read.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What We Can Learn from Shaq’s Alleged Cheating

by Dr Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 


It seems that NBA star Shaquille O'neal, like many other athletes, has a personal life that no one knows about. The has released exclusive text messages between Shaquille and his mistress, Latosha Lee. I am noticing a trend here: People are starting to find out that athletes are not always one-woman people. But are you actually surprised? In fact, do you ever wonder why anyone would consider marrying an athlete in the first place? But then again, we also know that not every athlete is going to be unfaithful and not every unfaithful man is an athlete. Either way, both Shaquille O'neal and Tiger Woods are in the middle of major marital drama.

In the text messages, Shaq's personal life is put on blast.

The messages are long and drawn out, with an awkward reading from bottom to top. During the conversation, the two lovers describe their travel arrangements and Latosha's relationship with NBA baller
Damien Wilkins (nephew of Dominique Wilkins). They also have an argument about a purse that Latosha wants from Shaq, but that he is not willing to buy her. If you like drama, then you can find it here.

But above and beyond the drama (remember, I analyze and find teachable moments in everything), there are some other thoughts that went through my mind:


click to read.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tiger Woods and His Interracial Marriage: The Writing on the Wall

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Today while hanging out with Rev. Al Sharpton in the studio, I found my mind reflecting deeply on the recent drama between Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin Nordegren. In spite of the fact that I was sitting next to the man who epitomizes race relations in America, no one brought up the fact that Tiger Woods is involved in an inter-racial marriage. It wasn't because we were afraid to go there, it was just that there were more pressing issues to discuss.

In spite of the fact that Rev. Sharpton and I discussed everything except for the fact that Tiger's wife is white, one of the callers slammed the issue on the table like a five pound slab of raw chicken. The caller made the old OJ Simpson argument: "Had he been with a sister, none of this would have happened."

While I don't agree with the caller's assertion (we know that marital drama knows no racial boundaries), I found it interesting that some of the black women in the studio smirked and looked at the floor, as if to say, "I hear ya girl." These smirks were not built on agreeing with what the woman said, but rather, on the disappointment and resentment that many black women have felt about the fact that Tiger Woods almost never seemed to show any interest in African American females. Unlike guys like myself, who admire Tiger for his achievements, I know a long list of black women who could care less if Tiger were to take his golf clubs and jump off the side of a 10-story building.

Click to read.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dr Boyce on MSNBC Discussing Tiger Woods

Dr. Boyce speaks on the Tiger Woods controversy on MSNBC.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Prosperity Gospel: Is it Real or Not?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Nearly every African American knows just how important the black church is to our community. We also know about "prosperity gospel," the act of preaching about God within the context of wealth building. I admit that this form of faith is a bit odd to me. I am a Finance Professor and I become confused when my pastor talks about money more than I do. The saddest truth is that it's hard to tell the difference between a pastor and a pimp: Most pastors aren't pimps, but any pimp could be a pastor. The same skill set is required in both professions.

My father is a preacher, but he almost never preaches about money. I've never heard him asking for money on the pulpit, or mentioning that giving money to him is one of the keys to gaining access to heaven. But I don't presume that my father is right about all things, and given that I write about money on a regular basis, I have gained an appreciation for what financial resources can do to enhance your life. Also, one must be aware of the pragmatic realities of running a church: You have the building fund, bills to pay every month and any community service initiatives that the church chooses to pursue. The proper use of money can certainly enhance your ability to do God's work.


Click to read.

Friday, November 27, 2009

ABC News – Tiger Woods’ Accident Shakes Advertisers

Word that Tiger Woods was involved in an early morning car accident likely rattled not just fans, but also the broad swath of major corporations that rely on Woods' star power to sell everything from sports drinks, T-shirts and razors to golf tournament tickets.

Reports say the golf star hit a fire hydrant and a tree near his home.

"I can imagine that the world stopped for Tiger Woods advertisers when they first heard the news and that, literally, their hearts missed a beat," said ABC News sports consultant and USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan.

Woods has earned more than $100 million annually and, according to Forbes, more than $1 billion during his career thus far, thanks, in part, through endorsement deals with companies such as Nike, Gatorade, Electronic Arts, TAG Heuer and Gillette. The companies declined requests for comment from ABC News.

Nike, in particular, has been especially dependent on Woods, said advertising expert Larry Woodard, an ABC News columnist and the CEO of the advertising agency Vigilante.

"Nike wasn't really into golf before Tiger Woods came," he said. "He helped them take a pre-eminent role in golf."

The PGA Tour also has a lot riding on Woods -- he drives ratings for PGA Tour broadcasts like no one else before him, allowing the tour to rake in greater advertising revenues and higher TV ratings.

"Tiger brought a lot of color to the sport both on his skin and his style of play and that's something that the PGA sorely needs," said Boyce Watkins, a finance professor at Syracuse University.

In the short term, companies tied to Woods likely wouldn't lose too much cash if Woods couldn't fulfill his immediate endorsement obligations; corporations take out insurance policies to cover themselves in case of such events.

"I bet you any intelligent corporation that deals with Tiger Woods has conditions in place to protect them in the event that something like this were to happen," Watkins said. "You have to confront the fact that a human being is perishable commodity. It is a commodity that does not come without risk."


Click to read.

Inner City Schools Should be Appropriately Funded

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

The following is an excerpt from the book, "Black American Money."
I saw some random "expert" on a "60 Minutes" segment discussing the state of the education system. The man was attempting to argue that more resources won't make a difference in the quality of our schools. He went on to argue that many of the pathetic schools in the inner city are run by blacks, implying that not only do African-Americans not care about their own youth, they are shiftless buffoons when it comes to money management. I've heard similar arguments from members of oppressive groups around the world, as oppressor attitudes are shockingly consistent and universal. A friend of mine from India once explained to me that additional government resources being allocated to create opportunities for "the untouchables" were a waste of time, in large part due to the fact that the people were too lazy to efficiently use these opportunities.Stereotypes against historically oppressed groups are quite common, as the world has been trained to believe that when it comes to managing money, white men are gods and black people are idiots. But when it comes to poor money management, few institutions are worse than the Pentagon which has been known to spend $500 for a toilet seat. They also fail to look to the airline and automobile industries, the ultimate welfare queens of American capitalism. These industries consistently seek government bailouts in the form of tariffs and subsidies. I won't begin to discuss the Financial Crisis of 2008 – 2009, as we saw our entire global financial system artificially inflated and subsequently destroyed by individuals who are not black. Rather, people are usually quick to point to black administrators in inner city schools and historically black colleges and universities as the most wasteful individuals in American education and industry.


Click to read.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Big Ups to Shaquille O’neal

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

NBA star Shaquille O'neal is planning to cover the cost for the funeral of Shaniya Davis, the five-year old who was recently kidnapped and murdered in a story that rocked the nation. The cost of the funeral is expected to be about $4,500. According to media reports, the child was killed by 29-year old Mario McNeill on the same day that she was found to be missing.

The Shaniya Davis case broke all of our hearts. Shaquille O'neal's intervention was likely welcomed by the family, since funeral costs are usually another problem that families are not prepared to face after the death of a loved one.

Shaniya Davis' mother, 25-year old Antoinette Davis, is charged with human trafficking and child abuse involving prostitution. Her case is a reminder of the dangers of drugs in America and opens a frightening door into the underworld of child prostitution. In spite of the fact that there are ways to save on the cost of a funeral, it is highly unlikely that Shaniya Davis' mother had anything in place to pay the cost of her child's burial. So, I give Shaq major "props" for stepping up to the plate, since we all know that it takes a village to raise and protect a child. It is my hope that the other Shaniya's in the world get the protection they deserve from all of us before it is too late.

Click to read.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Has Obama Helped Black Men?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

I did a recent CNN appearance along with the actor Hill Harper and Dr. Alvin Poussaint at Harvard University. The series was a one-year anniversary segment featuring political issues within the African American community. for the entire week, the primary focus was on the impact that President Barack Obama has had onAfrican American men. Given that I've been a black man for quite a while now, I found this conversation topic particularly interesting, so getting to speak to Richelle Carey again wasn't the only perk of doing the job that day.

It must be made clear that the president should not be expected to save the entire world in one swoop. His job is difficult, and he can't give everyone what they want all the time. But to the extent that President Obama has been positioned to trump pre-existing black leadership (remember that some say we now live in a post-racial America), one can argue that President Obama's rantings in black churches come with some degree of accountability from the Oval Office. Obama has spoken at NAACP meetings, telling black men to take responsibility for our families (as if none of us do) and to engage in more personal responsibility (as if we don't do that already). Such tough talk should be backed by meaningful policy, since structural incentives play a dominant role in the ultimate choice of the individual. For example, when companies get tax incentives to invest in new projects, they almost always do.

Click to read.

Dr Boyce teaches financial liposuction on ABC News

Dr Boyce teaches the art of Financial liposuction on ABC News

Monday, November 23, 2009

Black Kids Told to Pick Cotton in front of white classmates

I received a call the today from CNN for an appearance on Headline News with the amazing Richelle Carey. The story happened a couple of weeks ago, but it took me aback and I thought I would quickly share it with the AOL BV family. During a field trip to a former plantation in Charlotte, NC, the tour guide wanted to show the kids what slavery was like. So, he asked the black children to pick cotton while their white classmates stood around and watched. When the CNN producer (a nice woman named Ebony) told me about the story, I had to do a Gary Coleman imitation: "What choo talking bout Ebony?"
Beyond the obvious, this case is disturbing on a multitude of levels. But CNN has asked me to help make this case into a teachable moment. I love finding life lessons in everything, so here are some quick thoughts:

1) The tour guide who did this clearly wasn't thinking: If you want the children to empathize with slavery, why not have them ALL pretend to be slaves? If you have the black children pretending to be slaves and the white kids pretending to be their masters, you are only teaching the white kids to be slave masters and the black kids to be their property.
2) Look at this through the mind of a child: I remember a child in elementary school saying to me, "I wish slavery was still around, because I could then tell you what to do." Those were the same words that Walter Currie's classmate said to him beforespraying him with gasoline and setting him on fire. Those were also the words that one child said to another on the bus ride home from the plantation that day in North Carolina. Do you see a trend here? While we as adults might see the educational value in our remarks, children might see it in an entirely different way.

Click to read.

CNN: Dr Boyce and Richelle Carey Discuss Obama and Black Men

Dr Boyce Watkins and Richelle Carey from CNN discuss Obama's impact on African American men.

Dr. Boyce Watkins on MSNBC - The Heather Ellis case

CNN: Black Kids Told to Act Like Slaves in School

Dr Boyce on CNN to discuss an incident in which black kids were told to behave like slaves in school.

Dr. Boyce: Setting the Record Straight on Heather Ellis

Setting the record straight with Heather Ellis


Jury selection for Heather Ellis continues
Heather Ellis case one in a long line of Missouri's racial injustices

This Nov. 4, 2009 file photo shows Heather Ellis, left, arm-in-arm with her mother, Hester Ellis, exiting the Stoddard County Justice Center in Bloomfield, Mo. (AP Photo/Corey Noles, Dexter Daily Statesman, File)

This week, for the first time, I had the chance to speak with Heather Ellis.

Heather was not previously allowed to speak, since her attorney told her to remain silent. I can tell you that after speaking with Heather for nearly two hours, she is a fine young woman. She is NOT the kind of person who needed to spend any time in prison, and I am glad she took the plea deal from the prosecution. Let me explain a few facts about the case that you may not know:

1) Heather is not admitting guilt: Anyone familiar with the criminal justice system in America should understand that there are times when you have to plead in order to make something go away. There was no smoking gun implicating Heather Ellis; there was only the risk that the jury (which her high powered attorney, Scott Rosenblum, considered to be the worst jury he'd seen in 26 years of practice) was going to send her to prison or jail.

Like most of us, Heather is not a person who wants to go to jail for any significant period of time. I personally worried that she would be abused if left in the presence of the very officers who'd attacked her on the night of her arrest, not to mention the criminals she would be incarcerated with. If she were my daughter, I would have told her to take the plea.

The good thing was that her fight led the entire nation to talk about issues that we would never have discussed otherwise. Anyone who doesn't agree with her decision needs to go put their own child on trial with up to 15 possible years in prison and see how much yapping you do then.
2) There is no evidence of an assault on an officer and she was not convicted of these felonies: According to Heather (whom I believe and I'll tell you why in a second), there was one police officer who was dead set on the idea of pursuing and harassing her. He followed her closely out of the store, referring to her as a b*tch and a ho. He then told her to "go back to the ghetto." That is when Heather turned and asked him why he was harassing her instead of chasing real criminals. That is when he said, "Because I want to harass your stupid a**." That is also the officer who, without warning, tackled Heather and dragged her to the police car.

The reason Heather's story is credible is because this officer had been fired from another job for sexual harassment and had lied on the witness stand in the past. Her attorney's research uncovered the officer's dirty past, and Heather discussed this issue in more detail in our conversation.
3) This was not a jury of her peers: Heather's father, Pastor Nathaniel Ellis, told me that he had wanted to push the trial to the very end. What changed his mind, he said, was seeing his daughter break down in tears over the idea of going to jail or prison.


Click to read.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Klan Holds a Rally at Ole-Miss: Dr Boyce Analyzes

I was intrigued by recent reports that the Ku Klux Klan had a rally on the Ole Miss Campus recently. It might surprise you to know that I am essentially unconcerned by their presence on campus. Don't get me wrong, Klansmen are incredibly ignorant. Also, we cannot deny their historical reign of terror over people of color in America. But I can also give you a list of reasons that we should stop paying attention to the KKK.

1) They thrive off of attention: The KKK has very little power. They don't do very much anymore, and even in this rally, it appears that there were only a few members present. The truth is that the klan only has power because we give it attention. They are like a grease fire: The more water you put on it, the more it grows. But if you starve the fire of oxygen, it eventually dies out. The klan must be starved of attention, and then they will go away. They only remain relevant because we want them to be.


Click to read.

Dr Boyce on MSNBC: The Heather Ellis Case

Dr Boyce Watkins discusses his national rally for Heather Ellis, the woman facing 15-years in prison for cutting line at a Wal-Mart.