Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Dr Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University spoke with TV and radio show host Montel Williams on Monday. The conversation focused on race and racial profiling. They are going to also speak on financial advice in the future.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
COOPER: Professor Watkins, do you believe this is an issue about race, or do you think this is an issue of two people with -- with big egos or clashing egos?
WATKINS: I think that the answer is that we don't know.
And that is the problem, that we were making bandwagon assumptions based on things we didn't know. Look, either Sergeant Crowley violated procedure or he didn't. If he did violate procedure, he either violated it because Skip Gates was black or for some other reason.
But the truth is that we can't read this man's mind. And, so, the truth -- the reality is that this could have happened to someone of another ethnicity, potentially, particularly when you look throughout Sergeant Crowley's record.
And I assume that he wouldn't be teaching classes on racial sensitivity if he had a record of arresting black men for no reason. Now, I'm not trying to say that this did not happen in this case. I'm not anybody is a liar.
But what I'm saying is that we can't use this case as a -- some sort of poster child for racial-profiling issues across America, because there is real racial profiling that goes on, on places other than Harvard University, because I guarantee you this much.
WATKINS: Skip Gates is a guy who knows he is Skip Gates.
And being a black professor at Harvard, with all the money that Skip has, I guarantee you he has probably got more privilege than most white Americans have anyway.
MARTIN: Anderson, race -- race is involved, because you all -- look, when you step back and say, here, you have an African-American professor in his home. The cop comes there.
The black officer said, I think it may have been -- differently if it was an African-American cop with this actual black male here. What we have to learn here is, what is going through a black man's mind when this kind of thing is happening?
Again, people say, well, it needs to be overt. Well, people all self-perceive things differently. What is implied? What is inferred? And, so, here, he is standing here saying, this is how I am interpreting this.
We cannot dismiss that and say, well, that is not relevant. It is relevant, because it happens every day. People make assumptions. Women make assumptions based upon, well, is this happening to me because I am a woman? Is this happening to me because I am Hispanic? COOPER: But some assumptions are correct and some assumptions are not.
MARTIN: Absolutely. But that's why we can't...
WATKINS: Right. Absolutely.
MARTIN: That's why there is no hard-and-fast rule to say, well, was race a role?
It could have been a role. And, so, we have to examine that. That is why the conversation is so important, so we can understand the give-and-take and what people feel and what they experience and what perception is.
WATKINS: And -- and we -- and we have to understand that -- that racial healing is something that is going to require patience.
I think that Dr. Gates and all of us...
MARTIN: And work.
WATKINS: Let's assume Dr. Gates is right about this. He needs to ask himself a question: What would Martin Luther King do? How would he handle this?
Would he say, I demand that he -- he should beg me for my forgiveness, and I might give it to him?
WATKINS: Or would he say, look, I forgive you?
Because, remember, the disease of racism, Roland, it affects all of us. All of us are victims of this.
MARTIN: Oh, I agree, Boyce. I...
WATKINS: And, so, you know, when you're...
WATKINS: ... who may or may not do something wrong, you have got to at least approach that situation with strength and understanding at the same time.
COOPER: We have got to...
COOPER: A final thought, Roland.
MARTIN: Well, you know, he's also an African scholar. He also may say -- for a look at how Malcolm X looks at it. Look, we can all try to hold Dr. King up, but the bottom line is, Skip Gates is not Dr. King. He is Skip Gates. He has to look at it from his perspective, and no one else's.
COOPER: Well, we're going to leave it there.
Roland Martin and Boyce Watkins, good discussion, as always. Thank you, gentlemen.
As always, a lot more to see online at AC360.com, including a new blog posting from Professor Watkins. It's a good read, and a complete copy of the arrest report, which is also fascinating to read.
I've written extensively about the NCAA and what I perceive to be their consistent efforts to exploit the black community. They spend millions on public service announcements to protect their deception, but eventually the athletes and the public are going to wise up to what they are doing. The truth is that college athletes should be paid for the same reasons that any actor in a Hollywood blockbuster film would expect to receive compensation. The problem is that the families of athletes don't quite know how to organize and fight for their power. So, when I read about the recentlawsuit against the NCAA for allegedly misusing the images of athletes for videogames, I was a very happy man.
Let me break it down for you:
Based on my 16-years of experience as a college professor (I currently teach atSyracuse University, a school that earns millions off black families every year), collegiate athletics is not, in my opinion, about amateurism and it's not about education. It's about making money. Period. Many athletes are admitted to college every year and they would not be granted admission were it not for their ability to play sports and make money for the campus. Making money is not a problem, but the problem comes with the fact that universities do not share this revenue with the families of the players.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Tomorrow morning, July 26, 2009 at 8:30 am EST, Dr Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University will appear on the Jesse Jackson Show with Rev. Al Sharpton and Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree. The conversation will center around the recent arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates.
by Dr. Boyce Watkins
I am a curious professor, a compassionate capitalist and the owner of a small business. All of these hats create a complex perspective on whether or not it is a good idea to increase the minimum wage. After all, we are in a recession, and one might be tempted to argue that any sort of pay increase would slow down our nation's economic recovery, eliminate jobs, and significantly reduce corporate profitability.
Sorry to burst those bubbles, but the data don't validate most of the above concerns.
First of all, the minimum wage was introduced during the Great Depression, the mother of all economic downturns. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was designed to ensure that the most vulnerable Americans were no longer going to be exploited by the power of big business. The Great Depression came to an end shortly thereafter, and there is no evidence that it slowed down the economic recovery in any significant way.
Secondly, the budgetary implications of minimum wage increases are not very large. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 2 percent of all men and 3.6 percent of all women currently earn the minimum wage. But while the impact on our national budget is small, the gains for those affected are tremendous: there are nearly 5 million children in families who earn the minimum wage, and nearly all of these children are going to have better lives in the advent of an increase.
I’d hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are infected with a disease. The disease that has infected you is called racism. The disease is a silent killer, not of our bodies, but of our society. It also deteriorates the brain and makes us delusional, as we sometimes see things that are not really there or refuse to see things that are actually right in front of us. What’s worse is that we know the disease is in the fabric of our institutions, but it is difficult to pinpoint the exact location. This leads to sloppy missteps, embarrassments and damaging accusations.
Henry Louis Gates, the Prominent Harvard University Professor who was arrested this week at his home by Cambridge Police Officer James Crawley, may have been a victim of the disease of racism. Even he has gotten to the point of stating that this story is no longer about race and his buddy, President Obama, has been back-peddling faster than a free safety in the NFL. In the midst of letting go of his allegations of racism against Sgt. Crawley (which I thought was a very good idea) Professor Gates has stated that we should use this situation as a “teaching moment.” It is also my hope that Dr. Gates understands that the first step toward being a good professor is to learn how to be a good student. As a professor myself, I am hopeful that he will allow me to teach the first class.
Friday, July 24, 2009
I hope you don't mind, but I enjoy keeping my YBW family included in the updates to what is going on behind the scenes in this situation with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates. I felt the need to comment on this not because I do not believe Professor Gates, but because I feel that we need to learn all the facts before rushing to judgement. You guys know me, and know that I don't hesitate to put the "smack down" on issues that are clearly problematic. But I am not, for one second, interested in destroying a good cop's career based on mere speculation. I am not sure if the officer is a good cop or not, but I have not yet seen evidence that he has a history of racially profiling anyone and I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to ride any kind of bandwagon on this issue or any other. As I always say, you should not let anyone think for you, you should think critically for yourself - do your homework, get the facts and then come to a judgement.& nbsp;
Scheduled media appearances are below if you'd like to follow along. Also, I am going to continue to write on these issues candidly on my blog, my website and with AOL and NBC. Remember - my goal is not to win friends in this game, it is to search for truth. I hope that perspective makes sense.
Tentative media schedule for Friday and Saturday:
CNN - 3:15 pm EST
MSNBC - 4 pm
Headline News (CNN) - 5:30
Lou Dobbs – TBA
Anderson Cooper – 9 pm EST
Thursday, July 23, 2009
10:00 PM on 07/22/2009
Obama responds to questions during a news conference Wednesday, July 22, 2009.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
I found myself enjoying President Obama's Healthcare pitch to the nation on prime time television, as he explained (as most politicians do) why the world will come to an end if we don't adopt his policies. His arguments were strong and valid, and he made it clear that he was out to help the middle class by letting rich folks pay the bill. I'm all for that.
I noticed how the president used the words "middle class" about 20 times through the night, and allowed nine different reporters to ask questions, none of them African American. But then again, it might have been tough for President Obama to find black people in the room, since there sure as heck didn't seem to be very many around.
Less predictable was the racial bombshell that President Obama saved for last on Wednesday night. After being asked about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, a prominent Harvard University professor, Obama spent just a few minutes reminding the world that he was not only a black man, but that that he was also an alumnus of Harvard University.
The man who some feel embodies the essence of a post-racial America was suddenly willing to candidly discuss race on behalf of his wealthy Harvard associate. What is incredibly ironic is that these were probably the most post-racial comments Obama has ever made, since they further opened the door to class warfare in America.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I am not Al Sharpton. In fact, I never could be and I don't want to try. I am also not Henry Louis Gates, a man with an undeniable contribution to the legacy of Black Scholarship in America. I am simply Boyce Watkins, the son of a 17-year-old mother and a father who happened to be a high-ranking police official for the past 28 years. I've argued with my father for decades, as his Bill Cosby-like views of the world have often made my face twist with confusion. But I listen to my father, because there is value in seeing other points of view.
When I hear about a Black man being mistreated by police, I take a moment of pause. I think about the horrific statistics on Black males in the criminal justice system, in which we are more likely to be arrested for the same crimes, more likely to be convicted, more likely to be incarcerated and expected to get more prison time than our White counterparts.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I spoke with another high ranking police official about the Gates case. He is pretty candid with me about most things, so I believe what he had to say. Here were his thoughts:
1) Disorderly conduct is an easy trap to fall into. When dealing with an officer who gets out of line, you should cooperate and then deal with the situation later. If Gates argued with the officer and yelled at him from the porch, that opened the door for him to be arrested.
2) If there were extra officers at the scene, it's likely that they were called when the officer arrived and realized that there were two men in the house (Gates and the driver) and only one of him. It's standard procedure to call for additional backup when you are outnumbered. But then again, I am not sure if the driver had left by then or not.
3) There are usually extraneous variables that have to be checked out in these situations. For example, even though Gates showed that he owned the home, he could have had a restraining order against him filed by his wife in the middle of a nasty divorce. Given that Gates had appeared to be breaking into the house (by pushing the door), the officer would be expected to make sure that Gates was not there to hurt his wife or do something illegal. Of course this sounds absurd in this case, but there are many cases where husbands break into the homes of their estranged wives in order to hurt them.
Just thought I would share these facts. The conversation was very interesting and insightful.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009
7:50 AM on 07/13/2009
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Partisan politics aside, Judge Sonia Sotomayor and President Barack Obama present themselves to the world as middle-aged poster children for everything that can be right in Black and Latino America. I'm not talking about their political achievements...
8:41 AM on 07/09/2009
Obama looks on during the G8 Summit (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari) In a recent interview with AllAfrica.com, President Obama said: "I'd say I'm probably as knowledgeable about African history as anybody who's occupied my office. And I can give you...
8:22 AM on 07/08/2009
One of my favorite magazines is "The Economist." A recent issue of the magazine had an intriguing article about American kids and how we've essentially prepared them to destroy our nation. National productivity is a grave concern for the U.S.,...
9:03 AM on 07/02/2009
I write this article at the risk of offending my daughters, who are all in the "We think Lil Wayne and Chris Brown were sent by God" age group.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
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- Michael Jackson's financial and family situations are getting more complicated by the second. As we ... Read More
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