Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Obama Says that Iraq War is Over

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

He came, he saw, he conquered. Well, sort of. President Obama took the nation's attention for about 20 minutes tonight to deliver a speech about the end of America's military involvement in Iraq. Sitting in the Oval Office with pictures of his family in the background, President Obama effectively told America that the last eight years are over. He thanked the troops, thanked the American people, and reminded the Iraqis that we still support them. He was being presidential, as he normally is.
The president worked to build bridges with Americans who disapprove of his performance. He mentioned how the high cost of the war reduced the nation's ability to sustain its middle class. He talked about how patriotic Americans both approved and disapproved of the war, and even mentioned an earlier conversation he'd recently had with President Bush. He also reminded the American people that by ending military operations in Iraq, he was keeping one of his most significant campaign promises.


Click to read.

Was Eddie Johnson Really Breaking the Law?

Dr. Boyce Watkins

Dr. Boyce Watkins

Author and Finance Professor at Syracuse University

Eddie Johnson's actions are par for course in today's politics

7:58 AM on 08/31/2010

OPINION - But there is a deeper, more relevant question to be asked about the allegations against Eddie Johnson: Even if she broke the rules, is she clearly less ethical than other...


Was Congresswoman Eddie Johnson’s Behavior Out of the Question

Rep. Eddie Johnson's actions are par for course in today's politics

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

Eddie Bernice Johnson, a congresswoman out of Texas, has found her self in hot water after she admitted that she used her CBC scholarship money as a personal family college fund. Between the years 2005 and 2008, Johnson awarded between nine and 11 scholarships each year. On each occasion, three or four of the winners were either related to Johnson or her district director, Rod Givens. Rep. Johnson claims this was all done unintentionally.

This case concerned me, but while thinking it through, I had to go back to the fundamental question of whether or not this type of nepotism (assuming Johnson's actions were deliberate) is detrimental enough to label her a poor politician or a bad human being.

Johnson is not a bad person or a crook, at least not based on this incident. She's also not worthy of the same kind of congressional hoopla received by the Charlie Rangel or Maxine Waters investigations. Don't get me wrong, when you break the rules, you certainly should be held accountable, and it appears that Congresswoman Johnson understands that. The latest reports say that she has begun working out a deal where she will repay the funds that were misallocated. Perhaps that should put the issue to rest.

Click to read.

Jordan Miles: Honor Student Beaten by Police Because They Thought He was a Drug Dealer

by Dr. Boyce WatkinsScholarship in Action 

Jordan Miles is a black teenager in the city of Pittsburgh. Miles also attends one of the city's most prestigious performing arts schools. On a cold winter night earlier this year, Miles claims he was assaulted by three plain clothes police officers. According to the lawsuit Miles' attorneys have filed against the city, the officers assumed that Miles was a drug dealer and conspired to file false charges against him to create a story to cover up their actions.
Miles says that he was walking to his grandmother's house when officers Michael Saldutte, David Sisak and Richard Ewing approached him. Miles claims that the officers proceeded to chase him, kick him and beat his face into the ground. The damage to Miles' face was extensive, and the officers allegedly pulled one of his dreadlocks from his head.


Click to read.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Should Ebonics Be Taught in School?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I wrote recently about how the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is now seeking to hire Ebonics translators to help them to apprehend drug dealers. The group seems to believe that by learning the underpinnings of urban language, it can find a way to bring down "Pookie nem" on the corner. The website Newsy.com covered the article that I wrote, with a few other scholars providing their own insights into how and why this decision might be implemented. While I am certainly listening to the discussion, I am not sure what it would mean to establish Ebonics as it's own language or to try to teach it in school.

Does the teaching of Ebonics mean that we treat urban dialect as a class? If the kids and teachers acknowledge the language structure of Ebonics, do we continue to reinforce the use of what some might consider broken English? If the language is acknowledged in school, does that mean Employers and universities will accept graduates who speak and write in Ebonics? If not, is there any sense in solidifying a student's desire to speak in a way that doesn't match the rest of us? I'm not so sure.


Click to read.

Black Athletes and All Their Children


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I recently read a very interesting story about how so many black athletes are being hammered by the financial devastation of child support.  Their paychecks are getting zapped to nothing, only to buy Coach purses and hair weaves for the women who’ve had their children.  Perhaps the sex was good enough to justify the misery, but I’ve never had sex that good.

New York Jets running back Antonio Cromartie is one famous case of “I’m Bound to be Broke-itis.”  Cromartie, who is 26-years old, has eight children with six women in five different states.  In fact, the Jets had to front Cromartie $500,000 to settle his paternity situation before he even started playing for the team.  There are quite a few other cases worth mentioning, but I won’t waste time laying out the issues.

What I will lay out is an added perspective that might help brothers realize  the utter stupidity of putting themselves in situations that will keep their pockets empty, kill their ability to support a family down the road and possibly lead to incarceration.  Getting caught under the neck of the merciless child support system is an absolutely horrible feeling.  Children are a beautiful gift from God, and we can all appreciate a pretty woman, but if you let this stuff get the best of you, you’re begging for a life of misery.

Click to read.

Black Politics, President Obama and Hurricane Katrina

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University Scholarship in Action 

I still remember when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans five years ago. I'd just attended the Essence Music Festival the year before, only to hear that the very same streets I'd visited were now flooded with water. It was also the week of my first confrontation with Sean Hannity on the air. Donald Rumsfeld had come on the show right before me, and Hannity and I were arguing about why it seemed that the government spent more time planning to shoot "looters" than actually saving the people in the flood. Rarely before Katrina had we witnessed such a gross dehumanization of our fellow American citizens.
President Obama sought to commemorate the anniversary of Katrina by speaking in New Orleans this weekend. He told the students at Xavier University that he plans to stand with the community when it comes to making sure they know the Federal Government is behind them in the on-going quest for full recovery.
"My administration is going to stand with you, and fight alongside you, until the job is done," Obama said.


Click to read.

Financial and Educational Lessons We Can Learn from Fantasia’s Mistakes

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University, Scholarship in Action 

One of the most magnificent voices in all of music is owned by Fantasia Barrino, the singer out of North Carolina. Most of us know that Fantasia attempted suicide recently. Of course the suicide attempt led to instant national media attention, and she was all over the news telling her story. Her management team, understanding the value the incident could have for her brand, pushed out the Vh-1 special before you could say the words "publicity stunt."
Now, I'm not here to say that I know what happened to Fantasia or whether the suicide attempt was genuine. But one thing that remains fundamentally true is that she'd been highly upset over the decline of her career. Also, we know that the television specials and additional PR from the incident have put Fantasia in the limelight in a way that far exceeds what she had access to last month. The final thing we know is that Fantasia is working furiously in the studio to get an album out in order to profit from the re-establishment of her celebrity status. Unfortunately, her team may be looking to replicate the experience of Jennifer Hudson after her difficult experience last year.

Click to read.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Glenn Beck and Al Sharpton Both Hold Rallies: Which One is Legit?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

Glenn Beck and Al Sharpton Hold Rallies on the Same Day?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Is MLK’s Niece Crazy?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is not making many friends this week. Her decision to join forces with Fox News host Glenn Beck during his bogus March on Washington is likely one of the most shocking and extraordinary political events in recent months. Alveda is being called a traitor for her actions and probably has old uncle Martin turning over in his grave.
But here's the dirty little secret that most of us are not willing to accept: Alveda King actually represents millions of church-going African Americans. Also, her views are not nearly as outlandish as some would lead you to believe.
Alveda King is opposed to gay marriage, just like my mother. She doesn't believe in abortion, just like many members of my own family. She believes strongly in old school family values, similar to Bill Cosby. She is clearly a product of the traditional black church and represents a section of black America that liberals don't like to talk about. Many African Americans, whether we want to admit it or not, would agree with Alveda King on nearly every single issue.

Click to read.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dr. Boyce Video – 8/26/10

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Black Student Helps Invent Electric Car that Goes 400 Miles Per Gallon

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 


Kansas City, Missouri is one of my favorite places in the world. I have friends there that I respect, and I've grown an appreciation for the African American community in that city. One of the things I noticed about Kansas City is that there are both reasons for despair, and rays of light that provide tremendous promise. One of those lights is a student by the name of Kelvin Duley.
Duley was part of a team at De LaSalle High School, which invented an electric car that can travel 300 miles per gallon. Last month, Dooley said he wanted to grow up to be a professional basketball player. Now, he says he wants to become an engineer. This experience has changed him for life.


CClick to read.

ColorOfChange.org Launches a “Turn Off Fox News” Campaign


Dear friends,

Many of us already know that Fox News is biased -- but it's actually much worse than that. For years they have used lies, distortions, and race-baiting to divide this country. Recently, it's gotten downright dangerous. Earlier this summer, a heavily armed man got into a gun fight with police after he was pulled over on his way to kill people at the Tides Foundation[1] -- an obscure non-profit that Glenn Beck regularly demonizes on his Fox News TV show.[2]

Fox News is bad news for America -- and it spreads, and is legitimized, partly through TVs in public places.

That's why I've joined the TurnOffFox campaign -- the first part of a larger campaign to diminish the influence of Fox. It's about educating people about Fox and getting it turned off in stores, restaurants, and other public places.

Will you join me? It takes just a moment to declare your own household "Fox free", and at the same time appeal to public establishments in your community to stop playing Fox. And you'll get a FREE Turn Off Fox sticker when you do. Click here:


No other news organization that's considered legitimate consistently wages smear campaigns based on lies and race-baiting. But for years Fox News has done exactly that, and the pattern has only gotten worse since Barack Obama entered national politics.

Here are just a few examples:

-- A frequent Fox guest, Jesse Lee Peterson, said that the majority of Black people have poor moral character, and cited "what they did to the dome" after Hurricane Katrina as evidence.[3] Peterson has also used his platform on Fox to claim that 90% of Black people are racists -- against Whites.[4]

-- In a case of naked race-baiting, Fox host Glenn Beck called President Obama a "racist" who had a "deep-seated hatred for White people or the White culture."[5] Earlier that week, Beck claimed that the President's health insurance reform proposals were a form of "reparations" designed to "settle old racial scores."[6]

-- Fox host John Stossel argued that the public accommodations section of the Civil Rights Act -- which prevents businesses from discriminating based on race, sex, and other factors -- should be repealed.[7]

-- Fox News hosts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity were the first to air deceptively edited and incomplete video of Shirley Sherrod's remarks to the NAACP.[8] The video made it seem like Sherrod was confessing to using her position at the USDA to discriminate against White farmers, when she was really talking about the importance of overcoming prejudice. Sherrod lost her job over this misrepresentation, which Fox enthusiastically repeated without seeking the facts. Fox has since tried to pretend it had nothing to do with this smear -- but Fox is the number one reason these kinds of distortions and smears have any part in our national dialogue.

The examples above aren't even a tenth of Fox's vicious lies and smears, and over the years they've just gotten more brazen.

The goal of Turn Off Fox is to reduce the number of public TVs showing Fox News, while spreading the word about Fox's poison (and how it works) to those who don't know.

Signing up for the campaign is just the first step. We make it easy for you to tell us about businesses playing Fox. If you're willing to talk with them, we'll provide you with straightforward materials that explain why they shouldn't be a party to what Fox is doing. And if there are businesses you know that want to tell the world they would never play Fox, you can help them declare themselves a "Fox-free zone."

As businesses Turn off Fox and stand up as Fox Free, and as we encourage our friends and family to do the same, we'll help make clear, to people across the country, what Fox is about. And we'll reduce their ability to do harm.

Please join me in signing up for the TurnOffFox campaign:




1. http://bit.ly/a5F7kW
2. http://mediamatters.org/research/201007290032
3. http://mediamatters.org/research/200510030005
4. http://bit.ly/c060C0
5. http://mediamatters.org/research/200907300019
6. http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/200907230040
7. http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201005200033
8. http://mediamatters.org/blog/201007200060

Technology Now Used to Predict Criminal Intent

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Scholarship in Action 

It is being reported that law enforcement officials in Washington DC plan to use a new computer program that claims to be able to predict which citizens are most likely to commit crime. The concept conjures up images of the Tom Cruise film, "Minority Report," in which agents were able to predict "pre-crime": Crime that hasn't happened yet, and is set to occur. But far from science fiction, this program is based on reality.
The program was developed by Richard Berk, a professor at The University of Pennsylvania. The first version of the program was used to predict future murders among parolees, but it is being argued that the software can be used for all kinds of crime.
"When a person goes on probation or parole they are supervised by an officer. The question that officer has to answer is 'what level of supervision do you provide?'" Berk told ABC News.
The program could have real implications, including determining the amount of a person's bail or how long they are to remain in a halfway house upon their release from prison. The program works by using a large database of crimes and other factors, including geographic location, age, prior offenses and the criminal record of the person being considered.

Click to read.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Daniel Andre Green May Not Have Killed Michael Jordan’s Father

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Daniel Andre Green was convicted of killing the father of former NBA star Michael Jordan. Nearly 17 years after his conviction, his case is starting to fall apart. The problems stem from a faulty crime lab in North Carolina, where multiple mistakes have been made over the last two decades.
Green told the Associated Press that the lab mishandled its reports, and that evidence supporting his case was denied to him in court. He has trained himself in the law and worked on his own case since the date of his conviction. Much of the recent attention to the case is due to a report concluding that the lab mishandled Green's case, along with 200 others, over a 16-year period ending in 2003.
"I've always known that I'm walking out of prison," Green said. "I've known that because I've believed, ultimately, the truth has to come out."

Click to read.

Black Valedictorian Gives Shocking Diversity Speech

by Lawrence Watkins – Great Black Speakers

When Justin Hudson gave his valedictorian speech at his Hunter College High School graduation, he made it one that people will remember for decades. In the speech, Hudson went beyond providing vague advice or encouragement for his classmates. Hudson instead chose to use his opportunity to push his high school school to end a flawed admissions policy that keeps Hunter College High School from developing adequate racial diversity.
"I feel guilt because I don't deserve any of this and neither do any of you," Hudson said in his speech, as reported by Diverseeducation.com. "We received an outstanding education at no charge based solely on our performance on a test we took when we were 11-year-olds or 4-year-olds."

Click to read.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dr. Boyce: DEA To Hire Ebonics Translators to Understand Drug Dealers

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Scholarship in ActionSyracuse University 

The Associated Press is reporting that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is considering hiring translators to help agents understand the language of drug dealers. Apparently, the agents are having trouble interpreting the words and sentences being used by suspects during wiretaps. The agency reached out to some translation services companies to find someone to help them with the problem. No, this is not a joke.
"They saw a need for this in a couple of their investigations," Special Agent Michael Sanders said. "And when you see a need - it may not be needed now - but we want the contractors to provide us with nine people just in case."
Yes, this story is making me laugh as much as you are. When I heard that the DEA was considering such a move, I could almost appreciate their intentions, but I think they might be a bit misguided. The first thought that came to mind was whether or not they are presuming that drug dealers speak a dialect of English which matches that of the rest of urban black America? Sure, there are going to be similarities, but most of my urban friends don't understand drug dealers either. Dealers don't just sound like rappers, but actually structure a variation of language and sophisticated codes that nearly anyone would have trouble translating. Rather than hiring an ebonics expert to understand the lingo of drug dealers, they'd be better off hiring a former drug dealer.

Click to read.

Dr. Boyce on CNBC – 8/23/10

Click to watch – Dr Boyce in a heated argument with Ben Ferguson over taxation of the rich

Julianne Malveaux: Detroit is America’s Ground Zero

by Dr. Julianne Malveaux, President – Bennett College

Only one in four young black men graduates from high school in Detroit. The rest are lost and left out, swallowed by a city where urban blight, industrial desertion, and educational failure define daily life. Detroit is ground zero, exemplifying the absolute worst of urban life. It had a passionate champion in Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, who recently lost her bid for reelection. But as passionate as Cheeks Kilpatrick and Senator Debbie Stabenow have been about Detroit, this is a city that won't bounce back without revolutionary intervention.

Click to read.

Respected Black Journalist Harold Dow Dies

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Respected CBS News correspondent Harold Dow died on Saturday at the age of 62. The death is a shock to all of those who follow black public figures, as Dow was one of the most respected black journalists in America.
Dow leaves behind his wife Kathy and their three children. Dow was with CBS for nearly 40 years, covering some of the leading stories across America. He even covered the kidnapping of Patty Hearst and the release of Nelson Mandela.
Dow is the winner of the prestigious Peabody Award and the Edward R. Murrow Award. He was also nearly killed during the falling of the twin towers on September 11,2001. One of his greatest feats was getting the first interview with OJ Simpson after the murders of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.


Click to read.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Black Athletes Under Attack Again by the NCAA

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University Scholarship in Action 

Mark Emmert, the new president of the NCAA, plans to endorse a system for collegiate athletics that disallows players to play one year and head to the NBA. Instead, Emmert wants a system in which the age limit is removed (which is what kept players like Carmelo Anthony from going pro right out of high school) with players being forced to decide whether they wish to declare for the NBA draft or go to college. If they choose to go to college, they are not allowed to play in the NBA for either three years or when they turn 21, whichever comes first. In the face of the new rule, players are pushed to make the decision sooner, and are locked into that decision for at least three years.
Bethlehem Schoals and Tom Ziller of Fanhouse.com write on the racial dimension of this issue in the following way:


Click to read

Wyclef Can’t Be President: Is that Good or Bad for Haiti?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University Scholarship in Action 


I just returned from Haiti, a country that continues to be devastated by the recent earthquakes that rumbled the soil in it's capital, Port-au-Prince. Haitians lived under an umbrella of tragedy long before the earthquakes took place, and the suffering has only intensified since the media has left its shores. One thing that most of us believe, including myself, is that Wyclef Jean loves Haiti. His candidacy for president of Haiti was met with open arms by some, and folded arms by a few others. The evidence of disdain was presented to me personally when Wyclef had to cancel an appearance on my show due to the number of death threats he'd been receiving.
The mixed response to Jean's announcement reflects the multitude of perceptions that various stakeholders have when it comes to the idea of Wyclef becoming president. I have spoken privately to friends in hip hop who've assured me that Wyclef has an infinite supply of love for his home country and wants to do what's right. But I've also met with friends who feel that Wyclef is a beacon of self-promotion who cares far less for Haiti than for his own bank account.


Click to read.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dr. Boyce Watkins on TheLoop21.com – 8/20/10

James Clyburn Center Under Investigation for Funds Mismanagement

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Black Scholarship in Action, Syracuse University 

The James E. Clyburn University Transportation Center at South Carolina State University has been spending money for the past 12 years, but no one seems to know exactly where that money went. State Senator Robert Ford has recently called for an investigation into the center to find out details on how funds have been managed. Even Rep. Clyburn has become a critic of the center's management as of late.
The Post and Courier, a newspaper out of Charleston, SC has conducted its own investigation using an open records request. The newspaper has described the university's records as "a convoluted system of record-keeping, with no central control and records on the same subject located in different offices or buildings."
There was a consultant's report recently completed by the firm Elliott Davis which concluded that the university's system of grant management not only makes it difficult to track the money, it also makes it tough to find out whether the objectives of the grant were accomplished.

Click to read.

Yoseph Robinson: Man Dies Protecting Girlfriend from a Robbery

Yoseph Robinson, Former Hip-Hop Exec Turned Orthodox Jew, Murdered in Robbery

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 


Yoseph Robinson was a good man and role model. He'd converted to Judaism after his fight with drugs and often reminded others of the importance of being morally strong. He upheld these values until his last moments when he died protecting his girlfriend from a robbery.

Lahava, a woman helping Yoseph write a book, was laughing and joking with a man when he suddenly demanded her money. Robinson told the man to leave her alone, and that's when a struggle broke out. Yoseph was shot several times in the arm and chest and died on the scene. The robber got away on foot in the Brooklyn area.

Before his untimely and unfortunate death, Yoseph Robinson served as a role model for neighborhood children. Everyone loved him, and he was writing a book on his transformation out of drugs and into a more productive life. As he died, he told his girlfriend to tell his daughter how much he loved her.


Click to read.

Dr. Boyce: Kendrick Meek In the Fight for His Political Life

Jeff Greene

Dr. Boyce Watkins, Scholarship in Action 

I went to Florida this week and found myself surprised by what I saw on TV. It was then that I became aware of the nasty political battle going on between Jeff Greeneand Kendrick Meek (pictured). Both men are fighting to win the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, and both are playing dirty in order to get there.Greene is a billionaire investor who has enough money to run one of the nastiest campaigns Floridians have seen in a while. Meek is also a power broker, being the son of prominent African-American political figure Congresswoman Carrie Meek.
I admit that I found the nastiness of the political ads to be unique, intriguing and even a little entertaining. Each politician presents himself as a good family man who wants to serve the country, and each points to the other as devious, manipulative and damn near criminal. The Democratic primary battle in Florida makes for astonishing political theatre at the expense of Florida taxpayers.

Click to read.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yes, I think Money Can Buy You Love….Sort of

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Scholarship in Action 

I was in the car talking with my daughter, the one who I affectionately refer to as "TP." TP stands for "Top Priority," because I believe it's important to let your kids know that there is someone out there who puts them ahead of nearly everything else. Her own father chose not to embrace the blessing of having her as a child, so God gave me that opportunity.
My daughter and I were, as we normally do, talking about life, the future and all that can be accomplished if we put our minds to it. I'm sure my kids grow insane from listening to me, since I effectively become a 24/7 motivational speaker, constantly reminding them that anything is possible if a person is committed, and also reiterating that your actions must be in sync with your objectives if you are serious about doing anything meaningful in this world. A whole lot of people talk, but very few people are actually doing.


Click to read.

Is Eric Holder Ignoring the Issue of Prison Rape?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Black Scholarship in Action 

Community advocates recently accused Attorney General Eric Holder of "dragging his feet" on the issue of prison rape. The AG has been asked to set national standards to keep inmates from being subject to sexual abuse during their time in prison.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, roughly 4.5 percent of all prison inmates report being victims of sexual assault during their time in prison. It is also reported to happen to roughly one out of every eight juveniles who are incarcerated.
Pat Nolan, Vice President of Prison Fellowship, argues that setting standards would be a good way to reduce the problem of prison rape. He mentions that increasing the lighting in the prisons, screening staffers and having independent supervision of facilities can make a tremendous difference.

Click to read.

Killer Said He “Didn’t Care” When Killing 8-Year Old Girl in Crossfire

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

Steshawn Brisco is one of the men who will likely be charged in the shooting ofTanaja Stokes, an 8-year old girl in the South Side of Chicago. Most shocking is that Brisco said that he "didn't care" that there were children in the area when he began firing and that he "let the whole .40 clip go."
Tanaja's cousin was also injured in the shooting.
A second suspect is being sought by police. The person in question is allegedly a juvenile who is well-known throughout the community. "I am begging you, turn yourself in. End the circle of violence that hurts this great community," said Police Commander Keith Calloway.
The death of Tanaja Stokes is part of the continuous nightmare that refuses to wake us up as a community. The cycle of violence in Chicago is out of control, and other cities across America are faced with similar tragedies on a regular basis. The cold reaction of the alleged perpetrator in this crime adds a more disturbing element to this already alarming situation.


Click to read.

Monday, August 16, 2010

What is Scholarship in Action?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University

I’ve made it clear in the past that I support the notion of Scholarship in Action.  While some know the Syracuse University interpretation of this concept, I have found that in some cases, African American scholarship is left in the margins of academic work.  Therefore, I felt the need to expand on this concept with what I call “Black Scholarship in Action,” which is based on the idea of black scholars becoming engaged with the world and doing what is right for our communities.

Here are some thoughts on what Scholarship in Action means to me as an African American Professor:

1) Re-connecting with our communities and using our expertise for the greater good.  We have too much brain power and too many problems to allow our greatest intellectual resources to be locked away writing research papers that hardly anyone is ever going to read.

2) Being courageous enough to honestly share our insights with the world, even if they are not popular.  Capability without courage makes you socially impotent.

3) Following up our rhetoric with assertive action.  There is nothing more to say about that.  Talking about something is not the same as actually doing something.  We have to make sure we know the difference.

4) Confronting consistent discrimination within academia.  Too many universities consistently deny hiring and tenure to African American scholars, and this has to stop.  Universities must be held accountable to their data, and if a campus has any department that has not tenured an African American in more than a decade, they should be sued for racial discrimination, especially if it can be proven that African Americans with strong credentials are applying for positions in that department.

Again, these are the Dr. Boyce Watkins perspectives on what it means to be a high action scholar, so your views might differ from my own.  But it is my firm belief that The Age of the Black Scholar has arrived, especially if we decide that it’s going to arrive right now.  No one can stop us, but us…..so let’s define our own destiny.

Black Comedian George Wilborn from Michael Baisden Show Was Refused a Home Because He is Black

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Black Scholars United


Serious charges of racial discrimination have been laid out against a Chicago couple for refusing to sell their home to a black comedian and his family. Apparently, the family's real estate agent informed government officials that the couple chose not to sell their home to the comedian because he is black.
George Wilborn is not only the victim of the couple's discrimination, he is also a co-host of The Michael Baisden Show. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced on August 10 that they will charge Daniel and Adrienne Sabbia, as well as their real estate agent Jeffrey Lowe with violation of fair housing laws.
According to HUD, the family and their agent stalled negotiations with Wilborn and even took the home off the market in order to avoid selling it to him. Wilborn and his wife Peytyn offered $1.7 million for the house, which was the highest offer the couple had received in two years. Lowe, the real estate agent, admitted that the couple did not want to sell the home to the Wilborn family because they are black.

Click to Read

Saturday, August 14, 2010

30,000 Line Up for Public Housing in Atlanta

by Dr. Boyce WatkinsAfrican American Scholar, Syracuse University 



A massive number of people showed up in downtown Atlanta this week hoping to get a chance to obtain free housing. Over 30,000 people reportedly waited in sweltering heat just to get an application for one of 400 vacant units for public housing in East Point, a section of the city.
There were 13,000 applications given out, meaning that most of the people applying for housing won't receive a unit. Medical personnel and police were on hand to help some of those who'd been overtaken by heat exhaustion. It is unclear why residents had to wait outside in the heat in order to apply for a place to live.
The story in Atlanta is a sad reflection of what's been happening nation-wide to the African American community since the start of last year's recession. While many of us are fortunate enough to have jobs, there are hundreds of thousands of others who've been unable to find work and don't have the ability to meet basic needs.


Click to read.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Latest from Dr. Boyce – 8/12/10

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Why Every Black Child Should Have a Passport

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Naomi Campbell Accused of Lying About Blood Diamonds

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Three Mistakes Often Made When Sending Your Kids to College

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Black Professionals Must Network to be Successful

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Leader Working to Economically Empower His Community

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Glenn Beck: Obama's America is like 'Planet of the Apes'

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Serial Killer in Michigan Targeting African American Men

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Achieving Your Goals and Building Your Career: How to Get It Done

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Naomi Campbell in the Middle of a Blood Diamond Trial

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Cornel West Is Upset With President Obama