Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Congresswoman Eddie Johnson – Did She Really Break 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...


Monday, August 30, 2010

Jordan Miles: Black Honor Student Beaten by Police, Files Major Lawsuit

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.

Should We Be Teaching Ebonics in School? Is So, How?

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.

President Obama Speaks to the Gulf Coast

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.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dr. Boyce Watkins Video – 8/26/10

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Brave New World? Computers Now Predict Who Will Commit Crimes

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 Has Evidence Showing He Didn’t Kill 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 Male Student Shocks the Crowd with Valedictorian Speech

by Lawrence WatkinsGreat 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

Why does the DEA Need Ebonics Translators?

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.

Why Is No One Noticing the Hardship in Detroit?

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.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

NCAA Works to Further Reduce Options for Athletes

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

Friday, August 20, 2010

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

South Carolina State University Under Investigation for Misuse of Funds in Clyburn Center

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.

Black Jewish 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 – Institute for Black Public Policy, Scholarship in Action 


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.

/African American Politician Kendrick Meek In a Nasty Battle

Jeff Greene

Dr. Boyce Watkins, Scholarship in Action, Syracuse University 

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

Eric Holder Gets Confronted on Prison Rape

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

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.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tanaja Stokes: 8-Year Old Shot to Death While Jumping Rope

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

Dr. Boyce: 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.

Dr. Boyce Watkins: Black Comedian’s Fight Against Racial Discrimination is a Lesson for Us All

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

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Scholarship in Action from Dr. Boyce Watkins at Syracuse University – 8/12/10

Post Image

Why Every Black Child Should Have a Passport

Post Image

Naomi Campbell Accused of Lying About Blood Diamonds

Post Image

Three Mistakes Often Made When Sending Your Kids to College

Post Image

Black Professionals Must Network to be Successful

Post Image

Leader Working to Economically Empower His Community

Post Image

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

Post Image

Serial Killer in Michigan Targeting African American Men

Post Image

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

Post Image

Naomi Campbell in the Middle of a Blood Diamond Trial

Post Image

Cornel West Is Upset With President Obama

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Julianne Malveaux: Five Years After the Levees Broke

BEH cover

On August 29, we will commemorate five years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and since subsequently levees broke, drowning the city in feet of water. Five years ago our nation exhibited some of the most profound indifference to human beings as thousands of New Orleaneans were stuck without food, water, or sanitation in the Super Dome. In the aftermath of those five years, those divisions of race and class have determined which individuals have recovered from Katrina and who has not. Five years after the levees broke, the City of New Orleans is still bruised from the tragedy of a natural disaster, a man-made disaster, and an indifferent government.


Click to read.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dr. Boyce Watkins: Serial Killer Searching Out Black Victims

There are reports of a serial killer in Flint, Michigan allegedly targeting black men in the area. To date, he has murdered five people and wounded eight others, and only one of the victims is non-black. He is described as a muscular young white male, according to Flint police.
The Associated Press is reporting that all of the victims were out alone at night. The attacker approached by asking for directions or help with a broken down vehicle. "He then pulls a knife and attacks them without saying anything more," Johnson said.
The presence of a serial killer targeting African Americans may only inspire additional racial tensions after Omar Thornton murdered several white colleagues in the workplace. In fact, I would argue that this kind of thing happens more often than we think, but those cases may not be highlighted by the media.


Click to read.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Achieving Your Academic and Professional Goals: The No Nonsense Approach

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

I must first start this article by making it clear that I am not a man who knows all the answers. In spite of the fact that I happen to be a professor, I would much rather be the student than the teacher. One of the things I've noticed over time is that there are quite a few of us who end up in the "woulda shoulda coulda" category of life. Rather than achieving our goals, we talk about how we "woulda done this if it hadn't been for that," or we "shoulda did this when we were younger." Most of us "coulda" done quite a few things, but what matters at the end of the day is what you actually do. In fact, I would rather have someone actually give me a dollar than to promise me a million dollars that were never delivered.
Life is incredibly short. You've got 8,760 hours in every year, and about 1/3 of those hours will be spent sleeping. By sitting still, wasting time or engaging in meaningless activity, you are slowly drifting toward a safe arrival to your death bed. Most of us have a few dreams we'd like to fulfill while we wait for the next life to arrive, and what usually stands between us and our dreams is a little thing called "execution."


Click to read

Dr. Boyce: Naomi Campbell Reminds Me of Why I will Never Buy Another Diamond Again

by dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

Naomi Campbell, the supermodel known for attacking her personal assistants, is involved in a different kind of controversy this week. She has been asked to testify at the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. Perhaps being beautiful comes with benefits, since Campbell is being asked about some "dirty looking stones" she received at a party in 1997, brought to her room in the middle of the night.
The stones were allegedly "blood diamonds," and the court is attempting to determine if these diamonds were given to her by Charles Taylor. Blood diamonds are those that are mined in the middle of war zones, often used to finance insurgencies, leading to loss of life and enslavement. In other words, we shouldn't be buying them.


Click to read.

Barack Obama’s Economic Performance is Not as Bad as His Critics Think

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Scholarship in Action

Many conservative pundits are raising Hades over the fact that GDP growth for this quarter was only 2.4 percent, lower than the rates of five percent and 3.73 percent for the last quarter of 2009 and first quarter of 2010, respectively. They’ve tried to hang President Obama to the cross over this one, arguing that we have a “double-dip” recession in store and that the data serve as evidence that his economic policies have failed.

These so-called “pundits” are as wrong as purple shoes with polka dot slacks, and let me tell you why.


Click to read.

Why Cornel West is Annoyed with President Barack Obama

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

Dr. Cornel West apparently has a bone to pick with President Barack Obama. Over time, the good Dr. West has become increasingly vocal in his critique of Obama, and even went as far as to say that Obama treated him "like a cub scout," when refusing to address his concerns about the administration's behavior.
"Well, I'll tell you, I had not talked to my dear brother since the Martin Luther King gathering in South Carolina, and very briefly Super Tuesday. But he did come and make a beeline to me after his speech on I think it was Thursday morning in Washington, D.C. I hadn't seen him for two and a half weeks, and he made a beeline to me, though, brother, and he was deeply upset. He talked to me like I was a Cub Scout, and he was a pack master, you know what I mean?


Click to read.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lorenzen Wright Death: Wife Recorded Leaving a Threatening Message

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

The personal assistant for recently murdered Lorenzen Wright, formerly of the Atlanta Hawks, says that she has a recorded voice mail message from Wright's ex-wife threatening to have him harmed. According to Wendy Wilson, Wright's assistant,Sherra Wright told Lorenzen "things like if she caught him with anyone else, she'd have him 'F'd up or whatever."
Wilson filed a report with Memphis police because she felt the calls were threatening to Wright. She also claims that Wright asked her to keep the tape in case something were to happen to him.
Sherra Wright's divorce attorney denies the allegations, saying that Wright's ex-wife was struggling to pay bills. "I just feel like Sherra Wright is being placed in a bad light," the attorney said to a local TV station,ABC24-WPTY. "She does not deserve it all. She's been an incredible mother and woman. And she's done her best to shield her children from financial difficulties."
After his divorce, Wright was ordered to pay $26,000 per month in child support and alimony. His ex-wife claims that he hadn't made a payment since November. One might doubt Wright's ability to pay his child support in light of the fact that he had two homes repossessed this year. The financial problems appear to be the cause of the alleged dispute between Wright and his ex-wife which occurred shortly before he was found dead.


click to read.