Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Black Commentators Speak – 12/23/09

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dr. Boyce Watkins: Where Eric Holder Needs to Do His Homework

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 


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.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Has Tiger Been “OJ Simpsonized”

Tiger Woods has slipped from Obama to OJ

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University, Your Black World 

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.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Students Speak up About Dr. Boyce’s Controversy 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.