Monday, May 31, 2010

Group of Black Scholars Responds to Henry Louis Gates' Flawed Column in the NY Times

Statement by the Committee to Advance the Movement for Reparations

We, the undersigned, take strong exception to the Op-Ed, “Ending the Slavery Blame-Game,” published in the New York Times, April 23, 2010 by Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. There are gross errors, inaccuracies and misrepresentations in Gates’ presentation of the transatlantic European enslavement system. Moreover, we are duly concerned about his political motivations and find offensive his use of the term “blame game.” It trivializes one of the most heinous crimes against humanity—the European enslavement of African people. Gates contradicts his stated purpose of “ending” what he refers to as a “blame-game,” by erroneously making African rulers and elites equally responsible with European and American enslavers. He shifts the “blame” in a clear attempt to undermine the demand for reparations.

The African Holocaust or Maafa, as it is referred to by many, is a crime against humanity and is recognized as such by the United Nations, scholars, and historians who have documented the primary and overwhelming culpability of European nations for enslavement in Europe, in the Americas and elsewhere. In spite of this overwhelming documentation, Gates inexplicably shifts the burden of culpability to Africans who were and are its victims. The abundance of scholarly work also affirms that Europeans initiated the process, established the global infrastructure for enslavement, and imposed, financed and defended it, and were the primary beneficiaries of it in various ways through human trafficking itself, banking, insurance, manufacturing, farming, shipping and allied enterprises.


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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dr. Boyce Watkins and Rev. Al Sharpton on Aiyana Jones and Other Current Issues

Dr. Boyce Watkins and Rev. Al Sharpton on Aiyana Jones and Other Current Issues

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Teacher Makes Students Dress up as KKK Members

Why would a teacher tell her students to dress as Klansmen?

Oil Spills Might be Obama's Hurricane Katrina

Could the massive oil spills in the gulf of Mexico threaten to undermine Barack Obama's entire presidency?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Black News: Killer of Three Black College Students Gets 30-years to Life

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, The Institute for Black Public Policy

Nearly three years ago, two black college students and a friend were murdered in a schoolyard in Newark, NJ. Monday, a jury returned guilty verdicts for three of the murders and one attempted murder after deliberating for less than a day.
Rodolfo Godinez, a 26-year old gang member and native of Nicaragua, was convicted of all charges against him, including multiple counts of robbery, weapons possession and conspiracy. He can get up to 30 years to life for each murder count, and the sentences can be given out consecutively.
"This man will never see the light of day," said Robert D. Laurino, the acting Essex County prosecutor.
Sentencing for Godinez is set for July 8. His lawyer, Roy Greenman, said,"Obviously, there will be an appeal on a number of grounds," but he declined to state the grounds on which he'd be filing.
The prosecution did not assert that Godinez was the one who hacked at the victims with a machete or shot each of them execution-style, in the back of the head. He was argued, however, to be the one who summoned the other gang members to the schoolyard on the night when the murders took place. The murders were particularly chilling because all four of the victims were "good kids" with no criminal history and educational plans for the future.

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Dr. Julianne Malveaux on Financial Reform

Financial Reform-The Devil's In The Details

By Julianne Malveaux

Late last week, the United States Senate passed a financial reform bill by a vote of 59-39. Two Democrats crossed party lines, as did four Republicans to come up with the result. Now, the House, which has already passed financial reform legislation, and the Senate, will have to reconcile their versions of the bill. Now is the time for consumer advocates and others to counter the aggressive lobbying that will be done by banks and the auto industry to minimize the effects of legislation. This may also be an opportunity for the Congressional Black Caucus to raise its voice on the side of the many consumers who have been damaged by this financial crisis. While legislation is not meant to look backwards, but instead forward to prevent future crises, the CBC are among those who advocate for the least and the left out. Their perspective on financial regulation is badly needed.

The House would create a consumer protection agency that is freestanding; the Senate would house the agency inside the Federal Reserve Bank. In some ways having the Fed run consumer protection is like having the fox patrol the chicken coop. Isn't this the same Fed that was part and parcel of the 2008 financial meltdown, the same Fed (then led by Alan Greenspan) that turned a blind eye to predatory and sub-prime lending and the market distortions that emerged from the packaging of substandard loan paper? The Federal Reserve theoretically already deals with regulation around credit cards and mortgages and to date they've not done a good job. What will change when they now have a consumer protection agency? Hearings, anyone?

The House would exempt auto dealers from regulation, but the Senate would not. Why should auto dealers get a special break? Some say that we need people to buy autos to stimulate economic recovery. Shouldn't they buy autos on fair terms? The lobbyists are lining up to make the case for auto dealers, but who is lining up for consumers? This financial regulation reform makes it clear that the people have little power to affect legislation when lobbyists are involved. Too many are so happy that this financial reform legislation has been passed in both houses that they won't look closely at the details or at reconciliation.

If we looked closely enough we might find that payday lenders, you know those folks who charge interest rates that veer into the triple digits, were able to stop a proposed provision of financial reform that would limit the number of payday loans (so called because you are borrowing against your paycheck) one individual could get. The payday loan industry ran an astroturf campaign to stop a provision North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan introduced to limit payday loans to six (!) at a time. Consumers are worse off because the Hagan provisions were not included in the legislation.

Indeed, the final version of this legislation may be ready by the end of June. The House and the Senate aren't too far apart on their provisions, which makes reconciliation easy. But neither the House nor the Senate has gone far enough in regulating derivatives, though both require derivatives to be traded publicly, and to be collateralized. This will stop the speculative nature of derivates, except for the fact that the House provides lots of exemptions to derivative clearinghouse rules. Washington Senator Maria Cantwell (D) opposed Senate legislation because she said it had too many loopholes for derivative trading.

Banks got off easy in this legislation. They are still allowed to do proprietary trading, or to speculate with their own money. But their money is really shareholder money, so who protects the shareholder? Indeed, banking lobbies are likely to tweak the compromise legislation so that financial reform regulations are less onerous to banks. Yet less onerous regulation is what caused the financial services industry to seek a $700 billion bailout from the federal government.

Congress will be rushing to get back to their districts this summer, what with contentious mid-term elections to deal with in November. We can't let their haste weaken legislation that is already far from ideal. Most Republicans have opposed financial reform regulations on the grounds that this legislation simply expands the role of government and increases the size of the bureaucracy. The Obama Administration will have to take a forceful role in ensuring that the haste to pass financial reform regulations does not gloss over important details. And, most importantly, consumer protection must be a cornerstone of this legislation. Both the House and Senate bills are a step in the right direction. Still, the devil is really in the details on financial reform legislation, and negotiations that take place in this next month will be critical to the success of meaningful financial reform.


Dr. Julianne Malveaux is an economist, author and commentator, and the Founder & Thought Leader of Last Word Productions, Inc., a multimedia production company.

Last Word Productions, Inc. is a multimedia production company that serves as a vehicle for the work and products of Dr. Julianne Malveaux. For the last 10 years the company has centered its efforts on Dr. Malveaux's public speaking appearances, her work as a broadcast and print journalist, and also as an author. Currently, Julianne Malveaux is President of Bennett College For Women in Greensboro, North Carolina.

To find more of Dr. Julianne Malveaux's columns, work and appearances please visit:

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dr. Boyce on Aiyana Jones, Lawrence Taylor, Tiger Woods Wife

Listen to Dr. Boyce chat about the lastest in black social commentary.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Latest from Dr. Boyce, AOL and MSNBC - 5/21/10

Brought to you by The Great Black Speakers Bureau, the #1 Black Speakers Bureau in the world.  To join the Your Black World Coalition, please visit

Dr. Boyce on MSNBC: Good ol fashioned Kentucky Racism of Rand Paul and the Tea Partiers - Click to watch

From the Kirwan Institute for the study of race and ethnicity - The Ohio State University

Before you convict Lawrence Taylor for rape, consider this

Before you convict Lawrence Taylor for rape, consider this

As the father of three girls, I am not interested in defending a standard racist, statutory rapist, child molester or sexual predator.  I don’t even like fellow college professors who think it’s O.K. to sleep with their students (I lost respect for a colleague over a case like this a few...


Dr. Boyce on MSNBC's

Would Rand Paul roll back the Civil Rights Act?

I don't dislike Rand Paul, the Republican candidate for Kentucky's U.S. Senate seat. He claims to believe in freedom, and he's from Kentucky, just like me. But growing up under the fist of Kentucky racism affected me, and Rand Paul reminds me of the men and women who hurt me the most.

Paul is a member of the Tea Party and a political star. He mobilized more Republican voters for his primary than any candidate in the history of Kentucky, and he may even one day challenge Mitch McConnell for the Senate Republican leadership. His views are fresh and new, in a subtly racist sort of way, and he's a perfect fit for the anti-Obama climate that has led to our nation's racial roaches coming out of the closet.

Paul took some heat for comments he made about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is politically sacred ground that even his fellow Republicans won't touch. The firestorm started when Paul said that it should be ok for restaurant owners to discriminate if they choose to do so. In other words, if Woolworth's had not wanted Dr. King at their lunch counter, they should have been allowed to turn him away. But he then went on to say that any business receiving federal funding should not be allowed to engage in discrimination, that Martin Luther King is one of his heroes, and that he understands the fact that racism in America has become systematic.

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Dr. Julianne Malveaux Questions the Elena Kagan Nomination

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Black Women Feel Replaced by Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court

Black Leaders Dance Around Kagan

My Photo

by Faye Anderson

It’s Election Day in Pennsylvania, where voters will decide whether Democrat-turned-Republican-turned Democrat Sen. Arlen Specter stays or, as expected, gets the boot.

Specter’s primary opponent, Rep. Joe Sestak, hammered him for voting against Elena Kagan’s nomination as Solicitor General of the United States.

In a floor speech on March 19, 2009, Specter said:

I have gone to really great lengths to find out about Dean Kagan’s approach to the law and approach to the job of Solicitor General and to get some of her ideas on the law because she’s in a critical public policy making position… We had an extensive hearing where I questioned her at some length. Written questions were submitted and she responded to them. I was not satisfied with the answers which were given and when her name came before the Committee, I passed.

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Dr: Boyce Watkins on MSNBC Discusses: Would Rand Paul roll back the Civil Rights Act?

Dr: Boyce Watkins on MSNBC Discusses: Would Rand Paul roll back the Civil Rights Act?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Teacher Uses Obama Assassination as Geometry Example

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University

A teacher in Alabama apparently takes his geometry lessons a little too seriously. A high school math teacher was teaching his students about angles and used the assassination of President Barack Obama as his teaching example.
The Secret Service was alerted and the teacher was questioned by federal agents. He was not taken in to custody or charged with a crime.
"We did not find a credible threat," said Roy Sex ton, special agent in charge of Birmingham's Secret Service office. As far as the Secret Service is concerned, we looked in to it, we talked to the gentleman and we have closed our investigation."
The teacher was explaining the use of angles by describing where you would stand if you wanted to aim and shoot Obama.


Click to read

Monday, May 17, 2010

Did Police Cover Up in the Shooting Death of this Little Girl?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, AOL Black Voices

The attorney representing the family of Aiyana Jones, a 7-year old who was shot dead during a police raid, says police are trying to cover up the truth about exactly what happened. Geoffrey Fieger, the attorney for Aiyana's family, said he's seen three or four minutes of video footage of the raid and claims that the video evidence contradicts what the officers say happened at the scene.
Police are saying that officers threw a flash grenade through the first-floor window of the two-family home and that the girl was killed when an officer's gun accidentally discharged during a struggle with the girl's grandmother inside the house. Fieger argues, however, that the evidence shows an officer throwing the grenade into the home and then shooting into the house from the front porch.
Prior reports from Detroit Police were claiming that Aiyana was shot by a stray bullet from a firearm that accidentally discharged during a scuffle with the child's grandmother. But Attorney Fieger is saying that this is not the case.


Click to read

Julianne Malveaux Questions the Kagan Nomination

I was among the many who were disappointed that President Barack Obama did not nominate an African American woman to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. After all, there are six white men, two women, one Latina and one white, and a nominal African American man on the Court.  Why not an African American woman?
The Black Women's Roundtable, led by Melanie Campbell, was so disappointed that they shared their concerns with the President in a letter that spoke both to the contributions African American women have made and the qualifications of a few good women that President Obama should have considered before nominating Ms. Kagan to the nation's highest court.

I won't even speak on what I perceive as some of the shortcomings of the Kagan nomination.  The Solicitor General has earned the support of some colleagues that I fully respect, such as Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree.  At the same time, we have to pause at the fact that her definition of diversity is ideological diversity, not racial and ethnic diversity, and that she seemed to make Harvard a more welcome place for conservatives, if not for African American faculty.

The hue and cry about the absence of an African American woman nominee, however, speaks to a greater issue in the African American community and among African American leadership.  African Americans are too often in the reactive, not the proactive mode.  If we had been thinking long run, we might have projected that there would soon be a Supreme Court opening.  Then, conversations about the possibility of an African American woman nominee might have been happening sooner, not later.   
Hampered by the reality of the 24-hour news cycle and a decades-long failure to discuss and develop some leadership coordination, the African American community appears fractured and disorganized.  Conversations about a black agenda, or lack thereof, that have taken place in the media (and I've been part of at least one of those) reveal good ideas, and little implementation.  Many would say it is enough to put the ideas out there, that pundits and scholars are not the same as leaders.  Then question, though, is where are the leaders?
I'm not trying to do the roll call or to spark debate about which leader is more influential than another.  I am simply asking how the conditions of African American people are to change if the only tools we have in our arsenal are talk and reaction?  My most immediate concerns are education and economics; black people are lagging in both of these areas.  What are we going to do to make it better?

Unfortunately, there is too much "paralysis of analysis" with far too much conversation focused on this nonsense of post racialism in the Obama era.  Too many are tentative in offering feedback to the White House, fearing that they'll be labeled "anti-Obama", or even worse, "race traitors".  Other communities are pushing hard for action from the White House, while many African Americans with credibility are being tentative, conciliatory, or short-run and reactive.

To be sure, I understand the tentatively.  Some see criticizing president Obama as offering aid and comfort to the tea party crowd who are irrationally critical of the President.  That hasn't stopped other perceived Obama Administration allies - gays and lesbians, immigrant Americans, and others from fighting for what they were promised in the 2008 election.    All of the angst around whether African Americans can offer President Obama feedback reflects the warped way African Americans are perceived in our society.  We aren't homogenous, and our views cannot simply be distilled into "liberal" and "conservative".
Which brings me back to the courts.  If we want an African American woman on the Supreme Court, now may be the time to organize around that.  How could it happen?  Short lists might be developed in the African American legal community, biographies developed, names floated, support garnered.  There is likely to be at least one more opening on the court in the next two years, and some advance preparation, planning, and lobbying might well yield the right results.

It is overtime for African American leaders and scholars to take a long view toward black progress.  We should stop squabbling about the leaders of tomorrow and start preparing the leaders of two decades from now.  And we must learn to be more proactive than reactive.  Otherwise, this same debate will recur when next there is a Supreme Court opening, when next there is a reason to react.


Dr. Julianne Malveaux is an economist, author and commentator, and the Founder & Thought Leader of Last Word Productions, Inc., a multimedia production company.

Last Word Productions, Inc. is a multimedia production company that serves as a vehicle for the work and products of Dr. Julianne Malveaux. For the last 10 years the company has centered its efforts on Dr. Malveaux's public speaking appearances, her work as a broadcast and print journalist, and also as an author. Currently, Julianne Malveaux is President of Bennett College For Women in Greensboro, North Carolina.

To find more of Dr. Julianne Malveaux's columns, work and appearances please visit:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dr. Boyce on AOL Black Voices - 5/16/10

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Aiyana Jones: 7-Year Old Shot and Killed in Detroit Police Raid

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Don King Wins Court Order to Stop an MMA Fight

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Lakers Being Pushed for Economic Boycott Arizona in Phoenix Series

The Effects of Mass Incarceration on Black People

U.S. incarceration rates by race graph

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Should Black Women Be Offended by Kagan's Nomination?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University

To the disappointment of the Black Women's Roundtable, Elena Kagan was the latest white American to leapfrog in front of black women for a chance to serve on the Supreme Court. The second-class citizenship of African American women has been consistently enforced by our nation, going back 221 years to the date that the Supreme Court was founded. This nomination was especially disheartening for those who felt that the year of Dorothy Height's death would be the perfect time for the nation's first black President to do what should have been done long ago and nominate a black woman for the highest court in the land.

"Needless to say, we are disconcerted by the perceived lack of real consideration of any of the extremely qualified African American women as potential nominees," reads the statement released by the Black Women's Roundtable.
After this is over, President Barack Obama will have serious trouble re-inspiring the millions of African American women who left the Hillary Clinton camp to back his "Hope and change" campaign. There was no logical reason for him to pass over a black woman for consideration for this post, only political reasons. Kagan was the nominee that could shore up the white female vote for mid-term elections and help the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party stop the bleeding set to occur in November. Roland Martin does a wonderful job of breaking down the losses within the black female demographic that are set to occur as a result of the Kagan snub on the Supreme Court.


Click to read

Miriam Harris: Elena Kagan's Weak Cultural Competence

No one is more delighted than I am that esteemed presidential historian, Annette Gordon- Reed will join the faculty at Harvard Law School. Despite the fact that she was recruited by then Dean Elena Kagan, I respectfully disagree with Charles Ogletree that Elena Kagan is a good choice for the Supreme Court.

Ogletree argues that from 2003 until the end of Kagan's deanship in 2009, the number of African American students matriculating rose to an all time high. I am sure this is accurate, but how relevant is it?

Do these numbers speak to the quality and caliber of student life? Are Harvard graduates fully engaged and can they provide an effective and vigorous understanding with matters pertaining to race? Or, are they merely defenders and justifiers of the status quo?

I suggest that Professor Ogletree look at the April 30, 2010 blog post written by Diane Lucas. Ms. Lucas was a guest blogger for FEMINISTE and authored a piece entitled, "The Racist Breeding Grounds of Harvard Law School". Lucas wrote this article to discuss the racist behavior of Stephanie Grace, a graduating student, and to discuss her own experience as a Black student at HLS. Lucas critiqued Kagan's leadership before she knew that Kagan was the U.S. Supreme Court nominee.


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Friday, May 14, 2010

The Latest: Black Scholars vs. Harvard University - Dr. Boyce debates Harvard Professor on Kagan

Dr. Boyce Watkins

Dr. Boyce Watkins

Author and Finance Professor at Syracuse University

Kagan's record on race has White House on edge

4:33 PM on 05/14/2010

OPINION - If Kagan didn't have the courage to stand up against injustice at Harvard Law School, what makes us think she will on the Supreme Court?...


Dr. Boyce Watkins Debate President Obama's Choice For Supreme Court Nominee on MSNBC

Dr. Boyce Watkins and Harvard Professor Ron Sullivan Debate President Obama's Choice For Supreme Court Nominee on MSNBC

Thursday, May 13, 2010

News: African American Scholars Speaking Up on Elena Kagan

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

I started the day thinking about Elena Kagan, Barack Obama's most recent nominee to the Supreme Court. I was wondering how in the world the president could appoint someone who has no experience on the bench, given the number of highly qualified judges he had to choose from. Then I was informed that this might be a good thing, since the Republicans don't have a judicial record to scrutinize. No problemo.

I then noticed that Kagan has past affiliations with The University of Chicago, The Harvard Law School and Goldman Sachs, and that she was appointed to her position at Harvard by Lawrence Summers, the head of the President's Council of Economic Advisors. I was starting to get uncomfortable at that point, because Kagan's appointment would mean that the entire Supreme Court would be filled with Harvard and Yale grads, which effectively says that every other law school in the country need not apply (so much for having a meritocracy). I also saw a very disturbing pattern of cronyism, elitism and Wall Street loyalty that lets us know that perhaps the President of Hope and Change is not quite what we ordered, making back room deals with his buddies, all for the sake of keeping American power locked into tiny social circles.

Click to read

Dr. Boyce on MSNBC: Obama's Bad Appointment to Supreme Court

Dr. Boyce on MSNBC: Obama's Bad Appointment to Supreme Court

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dr. Boyce speaks with Jeff Johnson at BET

Jeff Johnson

I've always had a sincere amount of respect for BET's Jeff Johnson. Jeff is usually on the speaking circuit one step ahead of me, and he has a profound message that the country seems to appreciate. I first met Jeff when we were on CNN together. We were debating whether college athletes should be paid. The NCAA exploits the heck out of black America by stripping the labor rights from college athleteswhile signing multibillion dollar deals. The NCAA earns more money duringMarch Madness than the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball earn during their post-season play, mostly on the backs of African American labor. In fact, the NCAA takes hundreds of millions per year out of the black community by not compensating athletes, and many of the athletes are not being properly educated.
I spent time with Jeff's daughter backstage at the CNN show. She is an intelligent young woman who loves to take pictures. We became best friends for our 30 minutes of hanging out, and, as expected, Jeff has raised her to be an outstanding human being. The next time I hung out with Jeff personally was at the "Measuring the Movement" forum, hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton in New York City. Jeff and I were backstage with the other panelists, including NAACP President Ben Jealous, Urban League President Marc Morial, Democratic Whip James Clyburn, Michael Eric Dyson, Charles Ogletree, Roland Martin, Tom Joyner, Judge Greg Mathis and many others. It was a fun ride, and I respect everyone who came out. Jeff's contributions to the panel were outstanding.

Click to read

Dr. Boyce: Elena Kagan's Poor Record with Minorities

by Dr. Boyce Watkins - The Institute for Black Public Policy

I want to cheer for President Barack Obama. I want to believe that his decisions are sound, intelligent and good for our nation. But that trust is undermined at times, and to the ire of some of my friends, I can't help but share what's truly on my mind. My discomfort with Obama's decision-making ability comes to the forefront of my conscience when I evaluate Elena Kagan, Obama's most recent nominee to the Supreme Court.
On the surface, Kagan seems O.K. She presents herself as the standard liberal that we would expect Obama to nominate, someone who might be a small step toward filling the incredibly large shoes of retired Justice John Paul Stevens. As they say in the military, "check." Kagan has also shown the ambition and focus necessary to make herself into a star in the legal profession, opening doors for women everywhere she went. Double-Check. Finally, her experience as Solicitor General means that she has worked closely with the Supreme Court in the past, and that she would also be good at building a consensus among other members of the court. Check, check check.

But there is something disturbing about the resume of Elena Kagan. Something that is almost irritatingly redundant about her path to the top of American politics. The "Obamaesque" nature of her resume, honestly wreaks of the elitist cronyism that most of us have come to expect from President Obama's less than stellar appointments during his presidency. Let's start from the top, shall we?



Click to read