Monday, May 31, 2010

Setting the Record Straight: A Response to Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

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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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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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dr. Boyce: Hundreds Come Together to Mourn Death of Aiyana Jones


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Recent News about Elena Kagan and the "Harvard-Yaleification" of the Supreme Court

Huffington Post
5 hours ago - Politics
Dr Boyce Watkins Five Reasons Why Elena Kagan (news article)

Dr. Boyce Watkins: Five Reasons Why Elena Kagan Is Bad for Black People and America
I don't have an agenda other than one which represents the people who support me. My supporters are...

3 days ago - US
The Harvard Yalification Of The Supreme Court (news article)

The Harvard-Yalification Of The Supreme Court
If Elena Kagan is confirmed to a seat on the Supreme Court, it will lead to an Ivy League clean...

Huffington Post
4 days ago - Politics
HUFFPOST HILL MAY 14 2010 (news article)

Crude continues to foul up the waters of the Gulf Coast but at least D.C.'s won't taste like chlorine...
6 days ago - US
Kagan selection shows Ivy roots run deep at (news article)

Kagan selection shows Ivy roots run deep at high court
WASHINGTON — Ivy has twirled itself around the marble columns of the Supreme Court like some...

Huffington Post
6 days ago - Politics
Bradley Bloch Want SCOTUS seat Plan (news article)

Bradley W. Bloch: Want a SCOTUS seat? Plan in High School, Before It's Too Late
As David Bernstein was quick to point out on the Volokh Conspiracy, Elena Kagan's confirmation will...

1 week ago - Front Page
Another Ivy Leaguer Other Schools Do Exist (news article)

Another Ivy Leaguer? Other Schools Do Exist
The Supreme Court and White House may as well be decorated in ivy, complains David Bernstein. "Once...

Huffington Post
1 week ago - Politics
Charles Ellison Supreme Okie Doke (news article)

Charles D. Ellison: Supreme Okie Doke
We should expect the usual lights, camera and dull action during this Supreme Court nomination...

Huffington Post
1 week ago - Politics
White House Contrasts Kagan Resume With Rehnquist (news article)

White House Contrasts Kagan's Resume With Rehnquist's
Administration officials are pushing back at criticism that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan lacks...

Politics Daily
1 week ago - Politics
Elena Kagan Obama Inevitable Court Choice She (news article)

Elena Kagan: Obama's Inevitable Court Choice (She's Harvard)
Filed under: Supreme Court, Elena Kagan If Kagan is confirmed, the Supreme Court will be all...

Huffington Post
1 week ago - Politics
Elena Kagan Nomination Expect Fight In The (news article)

Elena Kagan Nomination: Expect A Fight In The Senate
"I think it's a home run." That was the reaction of David Greenberg, professor of history and...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Black Political News from

Mass Incarceration: A destroyer of people of color and their communities

Mass Incarceration: A destroyer of people of color and their communities

Dear Obama Administration, instead of having our Drug Czar focus on addiction recovery and prevention programs, how about changing the policy of our racialized criminal justice system that has used the “War on Drugs” policy to put more Black males in the criminal justice system than slavery in 1850? Around...


Race is Sexy. Sex is Racy. Now “Get Lost”

Race is Sexy. Sex is Racy. Now “Get Lost”

Race is sexy. And sex is racy. Is it any wonder that our society seems fascinated, obsessed even, with their combination?  Consider the latest photo shoot by Mikael Jansson titled Let’s Get Lost, in the current issue of Interview Magazine. The photos are edgy. They’re sexually charged,...


The institutionalization of colorblindness

The institutionalization of colorblindness

Originally published at St. Louis Beacon Arizona continues to be in the news for legislation that is possibly racially charged. The most recent source of controversy is House Bill 2281 , which would ban ethnic studies classes. More generally, it would write colorblindness into the law. The bill states...


Theater of the oppressed

Theater of the oppressed

By Jory Farr, journalist and author Hector Aristizabal Theater of the Oppressed, a theatrical form originally used in radical popular education movements, was the brainchild of the Brazilian visionary Augusto Boal. Yet, his many disciples have given the original impetus of the art form a slightly different...


Héctor Aristizábal: Telling stories to change the world

Héctor Aristizábal: Telling stories to change the world

By Dr. Alcira Dueñas This past weekend, I had the unique opportunity to attend a talk, a play, and part of a workshop by Héctor Aristizábal, a multiphacetic artist with a singular approach to life and a serious commitment to transform the vital experience of many around the planet. The way Héctor...


Drug bust or racist revenge?

Drug bust or racist revenge?

Sheriff Scott Franklin of Jena says he is trying to rid his community of drugs. Critics say he is pursuing a vendetta against the town’s Black community. At four am on July 9 of last year, more than 150 officers from 10 different agencies gathered in a large barn just outside Jena, Louisiana. The day...


The unsung heroes of workplace safety

The unsung heroes of workplace safety

By Cheryl Staats, Research Assistant at the Kirwan Institute In the midst of the uproar surrounding comprehensive immigration reform and the devastating new law in Arizona that seemingly legalizes racial profiling, immigrants and their advocates and organizers are shouldering the strains of these significant...


Sister law student Part II: Elena Kagan

Sister law student Part II: Elena Kagan

Annette Gordon-Reed 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...


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.


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The NAACP and Wells Fargo: What's Wrong with this Partnership?

My Photo

Faye Anderson

The NAACP is the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. I have known just about every chief executive officer since the 1980s, from the late Ben Hooks to Ben Jealous.

Some longtime Board members are also longtime friends and colleagues.

I attended the NAACP’s Civil Rights School at Harvard Law School in 2007.

Still, I have been called a hater for pointing out that Wells Fargo is a lead sponsor of the NAACP’s 101st annual convention.

NAACP Convention Banner - 5.1.10

Whatever. It’s not what they call you, it’s what you answer to. And as sports agent Scott Boras famously observed:

If you are really effective at what you do, 95 percent of the things said about you will be negative.

I have been writing about the subprime mortgage crisis for quite a while. I’ve also organized housing symposia and policy sessions for the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.

Study after study after study shows African Americans were targeted by subprime lenders.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dr. Boyce Watkins: How Should Black Women Feel About Elena Kagan?

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.


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Julianne Malveaux Message to the Graduates


If you ever attended a National Council of Negro Women event, you ended up singing "This Little Light of Mine" at the end of the event. It was Dr. Dorothy Irene Height's favorite song, "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine". The civil rights pioneer, Fannie Lou Hamer, also loved to sing "This Little Light of Mine", and it is easy to see why. The song encompasses humility and empowerment, the recognition that each light is little, but that in choosing to allow it to shine, to amplify, it can be great. Dr. Maya Angelou wrote, "Fannie Lou Hamer knew that she was one woman and only one woman. However, she knew she was an American and as an American she had a light to shine on the darkness of racism. It was a little light, but she aimed it directly at the gloom of ignorance."

Dr. Dorothy Height and Fannie Lou Hamer embraced their light and shone it at our nation's deficiencies. On Saturday, I asked the 80 women who graduated from Bennett College how they might allow their light to shine. In so many ways, this is the issue that confronts young people, and indeed the issue that confronts us all. What is our passion? How will we transmit it? How will we let our light shine?

In the weeks since Dr. Dorothy Height's death I have been thinking of the many ways she let her light shine. She shone light on issues of equal pay, workplace inequities, global issues of gender inequity, health disparities, and other issues. And by her very presence she tackled racism, sexism, classism, and ageism, refusing to be marginalized because she was nearly one hundred years old. She didn't elbow her way to the table, but in her dignity she insisted on space. By just coming to work every day, well after the retirement age of 65, she shone her light on the capabilities of older Americans. She didn't just shine her light, she was incandescent.


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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

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.

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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?



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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dr. Boyce Watkins: Why Are We Pre-judging Lawrence Taylor?


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

Former New York Giant Lawrence Taylor has had a life that has been shameful, exciting, devastating and amazing.  He has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, whether you are referring to his physical prowess or his battle with drug addiction.  I can’t, for one second, pretend that I know how difficult it is to walk away from crack cocaine, but I believe thatLawrence Taylor had the strength to do it.

RELATED: Teen In LT’s Rape Case “Doesn’t Want To Ruin His Reputation”

I was proud to see Taylor rebuild his life after spending quite a few years making one mistake after another.  Just like on the football field, I wanted to see him succeed.  And he was succeeding, at least for a while.  Then came the rape allegations.

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Shocking: Kagan Hired No Black Professors While Dean of Harvard Law School

Kagan Hired No Black Professors While Dean Of Harvard Law

Read more about Kagan Hired No Black Professors While Dean Of Harvard Law

TAGS: education, Elena Kagan, Harvard, Supreme Court

Saturday, May 8, 2010

MSNBC's - Articles by Dr. Boyce in the Past Year

Consider this before crying "racial profiling"
America's retirement crisis: The perfect economic storm
Obama's financial regulatory reform risky but necessary
Obama's not good enough on black unemployment
Michael's $500m debt: lessons we can all learn
BET brainwashing our kids
Dumb kids create a bad economy
What Obama needs to do in Africa
Lessons from Sonia and Barack
Obama champions the middle class and his Harvard pal
Raising the minimum wage helps, doesn't hurt
Is racism fueling the 'birther movement'?
The most racially charged stories of 2009
Holder should stop patronizing black dads for political points
NCAA's educational mission is great scam of 21st century
Tiger Woods' rep slips from Obama to OJ
4 reasons Obama is losing the popularity contest
3 ways to find financial freedom as unemployment rate rises
Setting the record straight with Heather Ellis
Where is the outrage and action for Heather Ellis?
Cleveland murders are a product of our own values
Ownership is key to unlocking true freedom
Why we will march for Heather Ellis
Megan Williams' story is simply unbelievable
Heather Ellis' story tells us why the justice system is broken
What you can learn from Dr. King's family squabble
Blacks will fall in line with Obama on Afghanistan
Why Nike will just do it and sign Michael Vick
Can Ebony survive? 5 questions for black media in the digital age
A whole bunch of G-20 racket, but is anybody listening?
Race is Obama's Catch-22
U of Michigan's "optional" practices highlight need for reform
Stop hating on black female athletes
Race was never a factor in track star's gender query
It's clutch time and Obama needs to be like Mike
Teddy was a lion for civil rights
Cocktail of unethical behavior and incompetence killed MJ
Felix the Cat flap signals era of racial paranoia
The return of the prodigal quarterback
NCAA treating black athletes like second-class citizens
What we're dying to see in Obama's healthcare plan
When it comes to race, we could all use a drink

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Black News: Is it Racist to Portray the Obamas as Sanford and Son?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University

Phillip Sciarello, a publisher and part owner of the Smithtown Messenger in Long Island, is defending his newspaper after a picture appeared that some believe to be a racist stereotype of the first family. The picture depicts Barack and Michelle Obama as characters from "Sanford and Son." The public backlash has led the paper to announce that it will issue a retraction in its next edition.
The picture is part of a "before and after" sequence of the last six presidents, showing how much they age once they get into the White House. The "after" photo of the Obamas show Barack Obama as Fred Sanford (Redd Foxx) and Michelle Obama as Aunt Esther (LaWanda Page). The characters are standing ready to fight, as was typical on the 1970s television show.The pictures led the Brookhaven town board to remove one of the company's sister publications, the Brookhaven Review, as an official newspaper. This means that the paper will no longer publish town government notices.
"The reference to racial stereotypes is where the line was crossed," Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko said to Newsday.
Hazel N. Dukes, president of the state NAACP conference, stated that the county should pull advertising from any publication that runs the photo.


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Monday, May 3, 2010

Your News: NCAA Gets Another 11 billion off black athletes

The NCAA men's basketball tournament is expanding, starting next season, but not on the large scale once expected.

The sport's signature event will grow to 68 teams from 65 in conjunction with a new 14-year, nearly $11 billion television agreement with CBS and Turner Sports announced Thursday. That gives the NCAA a 41% hike in annual media and marketing rights connected to the tournament — and "financial stability through the first quarter of this century," interim President Jim Isch said — without the controversy of a more dramatic move to a 96-team bracket.

Negotiations with CBS/Turner, ESPN and Fox Sports initially had targeted a 96-team field, drawing concern and criticism from traditionalists and others over the impact on the tournament's aesthetics, effect on college basketball's regular season and conference tournaments and potential for further intrusion on players' time and studies.


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