Click the image below to hear what Dr. Boyce Watkins has to say about the new credit card legislation signed by President Barack Obama:
Click the image below to hear what Dr. Boyce Watkins has to say about the new credit card legislation signed by President Barack Obama:
Life was looking good for Omar Edwards up to the point of encountering a man rummaging through his vehicle in Manhattan's East Harlem neighborhood on the night of May 28.
A month prior the 25-year-old police rookie had married the mother of his children, 1 1/2-year-old Xavier and 7-month-old Keanua. Wearing street clothes, he had just gotten off work at a job he had wanted to do since he was a child. Perhaps it seemed like things couldn't get any better. In truth, they never would.
He was in street clothes as he walked toward his car parked about a block away on Second Ave. between E. 124th and E. 125th St., where he saw Miguel Goitia rummaging through the vehicle. The driver's side window was busted out.
Edwards grabbed Goitia, who managed to slip out of his sweater and escape Edwards' grip, Kelly said.
Gun drawn, Edwards gave chase.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele said Friday that the GOP should recognize the 'historic aspect' of Sonia Sotomayor's nomination.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele suggested Friday that Republicans hold off on "slammin' and rammin'" Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and instead recognize the "historic aspect" of her nomination.
While guest hosting the Bill Bennett radio show on Friday morning, Steele said he was "excited" to see a Hispanic woman in this position.
"The trap here for the GOP I think is enormous," Steele said. "And I know that a lot of folks want to do the knee jerk you know let's start slammin' and rammin', but I think we really need to take a step back from this and deal with two things, one, the historic aspect of it, acknowledge it, but then move on to the substance of the conversation about what this woman believes."
In the beautiful words of wisdom writer James Allen, “There is an appointed season when inspiration meets opportunity and one will move toward his destiny to fulfill his divine purpose.” For me, there is no greater pleasure than the ability to use my intellect and abilities to alleviate human pain and suffering. The personal gratification I receive from working with and caring for others is a major motivation behind my desire to become a physician. Furthermore, becoming a physician will allow me to participate in one of the most intimate dialogues between people. In this role, I will be able to empower individuals to take better care of themselves as well as those around them.
“Relentless” is how I would describe my mindset over the past nine years with respect to my journey to medical school. As a college junior, I took the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) for the first time, confident that I performed well enough to be competitive. I was excited at the prospects of starting medical school the following year. I applied to medical school for the first time my senior year in college and was unsuccessful. Despair set in as I realized that my dream would not come to pass as I had planned. I consulted with an advisor who provided insights into what it would take to become a competitive applicant. I then enrolled in a MCAT review course and participated in a Summer Medical and Dental Education Program.
Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, is catching heat for seeming to imply that judges are supposed to make the law. Click the image to listen to her words.
There was a time, not very long ago, when getting a job on the production line at a big automaker meant an instant ticket to the American dream, even for someone with little formal education. Not anymore.
"The minute you signed the paper, you were instantly vaulted into the middle class," said Mike Smith, director of Wayne State University's Walter P. Reuther Library in Detroit, named for the founder of the United Auto Workers, the union that represents auto workers.
A shrinking paycheck. As the auto industry undergoes a sea change, the government has demanded that Chrysler and General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) bring their labor costs in line with foreign competitors operating non-unionfactories in the U.S.
Today, an entry-level auto-worker will be making $14 an hour, compared to the $28 "base rate" the job had earned before, according to a summary of Chrysler's contract agreement.
Worker's benefits have also taken a hit.
"Workers coming in will have good benefits and a good wages but not necessarily what they were 20 or 30 years ago," said Smith.
*On this weekend’s "Our World with Black Enterprise," director Spike Lee sits down with host Ed Gordon for a no holds barred interview rife with the artist’s trademark frankness.
Taped live at the 14th annual Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference, Lee discusses his concern about the image of blacks in the media, and weighs in with his thoughts on contemporaries John Singleton and Tyler Perry. [See details below.]
"Our World with Black Enterprise" will air its exclusive interview with Spike Lee on Saturday, May 30, and Sunday, May 31 on syndicated stations across the country.
On his films being labeled “controversial”:
Click to read more.
Was a comedian insulting Michelle Obama by making jokes about her height and the way she looks? Click the image to listen!
Israel must halt West Bank settlement activity and the Palestinians need to increase West Bank security to advance the Middle East peace process, President Obama said Thursday after meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, left, meets with President Obama Thursday.
"I am confident that we can take this process forward if all the parties are willing to ... meet all the obligations that they have committed to," Obama said after meeting with Abbas at the White House.
Abbas said his Palestinian Authority was committed to fulfilling its obligations under the 2003 Middle East road map, and both men called for immediate progress in the peace process.
The talks came days before Obama is scheduled to meet with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh and deliver a long-awaited speech on relations between the United States and the Muslim world in Cairo, Egypt
Last week, Obama pushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a firm Israeli commitment to Palestinian statehood as part of the so-called two-state solution -- a position strongly advocated Thursday by Abbas.
by Dr Boyce Watkins
I have a mixed relationship with President Barack Obama. I was one of the first to endorse President Obama on CNN, back when it looked like he was destined to be nothing more than Hillary Clinton's political footnote. I have always been overly optimistic about black presidential candidates, for I support them even when it doesn't appear that they have a chance to win the election. Call me hyper-optimistic, but I was even ready to vote for Al Sharpton.
While I have supported Obama, I have never been afraid to challenge him. For example, his statements about black male fathers on Father's Day 2008 was, in my opinion, nothing more than inappropriate pandering to racist stereotypes of black male irresponsibility. I have never seen him give such a condescending speech to other ethnic groups. As a father who does his best to love his children, I will never forgive that speech.
But in the case of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), we may all be mistaken about President Obama. Recent reports stating that Obama allowed forsignificant funding cuts for Historically Black Colleges and Universities may have been a bit misguided. When you look at the facts, it appears that Obama did not cut funding for HBCUs at all.
The frantic search for Bonnie Sweeten and her 9-year-old daughter - which began after she called 911 Tuesday to report that they had been kidnapped in Bucks County - ended yesterday at Walt Disney World.
Sweeten, 38, and daughter Julia Rakoczy were taken into custody at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa about 8:40 p.m., the FBI said. Sweeten was being held by authorities in Orange County, Fla., and her daughter was safe.
Sweeten will be extradited to Bucks County, where she faces charges of making a false report and identity theft, both misdemeanors. The investigation is continuing into possible theft charges, said Bucks County District Attorney Michelle Henry.
Julia Rakoczy's biological father, Anthony Rakoczy, of Feasterville, will go to Florida today to pick her up, Henry said.
Over the last week, Sweeten withdrew $12,000 from several bank accounts and used a coworker's driver's license to travel, Henry said.
Q: What do you stand for?
A: I stand for fairness and doing what is right. I am not a Finance Professor who happens to be black, I am a black man who happens to be a Finance Professor. There is a great deal of inequality in America that runs along racial lines. This is due to the fact that our country has built a 400 year social, financial and educational infrastructure that promotes the advancement of one group over the other. It is my job as a public scholar to challenge this imbalance and work to find solutions to these problems. My primary tools of choice are education and economic empowerment. I work hard to teach youth, especially African Americans, the value of being highly educated and the additional value that comes from becoming Financially independent and empowered. Those were the choices that changed my life and gave me the freedom and strength to express myself honestly, creatively and (some think) intelligently.
I also want to challenge the NCAA to rethink the way it treats college athletes. As a Finance Professor, I am not sure how we can justify earning millions for our coaches and administrators, while allowing the sources of labor (the athletes) and their families to live in poverty. This is wrong and unAmerican, for capitalism should give us the rights to freely negotiate our wages. When we engaged in our campaign on CNN, ESPN and CBS to challenge the actions of the NCAA, people thought I was trying to attack them. The truth is that I don't enjoy attacking anyone, I only want to fight for fairness. One thing that my students have always said about me (whether they love me or hate me) is that I am fair. I call it for what it is.
Q: Your work can be controversial, why do you do it?
A: I ask myself that question every single day! Personally, I believe that the role of the black scholar in America is to work hard to uplift our communities. Our intellect is needed, and in addition to engaging in scholarly research that lies in dusty academic journals, we should become active in our communities and throughout the world. I believe strongly in the concept of Scholarship in Action. The thing about Scholarship in Action is that it requires the combination of intellect, creativity, curiosity, commitment, passion and courage that stands at the root of all true genius. I do not consider myself a genius, but I wake up every day thinking "I am one day closer to my last day on this earth. How can I get the best return on my investment?" That is what keeps me going.
Some days are tougher than others, like when people confuse black love with white hatred. I learned from the lives of Martin Luther King and others that people will always confuse the two. For the past 20 years, most of my students and classmates have been white and I spent much of my childhood in a white neighborhood. So, to be honest, I know as much or more about white culture than I do about black culture. So, like Barack Obama, my mixed background helped me realize one thing: We are all human and we all make mistakes. The problem is that in America, the mistakes of black males are interpreted differently than the mistakes made by others. My work has, in part, been meant to point out this contradiction.
A reverse discrimination lawsuit filed by a group of Connecticut firefighters is shaping up to be the most contentious case in whichSonia Sotomayor participated, one sure to provoke sharp questioning when the Senate begins consideration of her nomination to theSupreme Court.
In 2008, Sotomayor was one of three judges on a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit who upheld a trial court's ruling rejecting the reverse discrimination claims by 19 white firefighters, one of whom was also Hispanic. The plaintiffs claimed that the city of New Haven violated their rights by throwing out the results of an officers' promotion exam in which minority candidates received disproportionately low scores.
The substance of that 2008 ruling, which the Supreme Court is now considering, is proving less problematic than the manner in which Sotomayor and the other two judges on her panel handled the case.
At first, they issued only a brief, unsigned summary order noting the trial court's "thorough, thoughtful, and well-reasoned opinion" rather than offering a full opinion of their own. Four months later, as the full circuit court was about to issue a ruling on whether to take up the case, they withdrew the unpublished order and issued an equally brief unsigned opinion.
Business advocates started scrambling on Tuesday to figure out whether Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor would be good or bad for companies.
But one thing was clear: If confirmed, she will be able to make her mark on business issues quickly, because a handful of key cases are already on the docket.
Companies and legal experts are scouring Sotomayor's past opinions to glean clues about how she could rule on business issues.
The Supreme Court has already agreed to consider several high-profile cases in the new term, which starts Oct. 5.
"The stakes are incredibly high with respect to business issues," said Elizabeth Nowicki, an associate professor who teaches business law at Tulane University in New Orleans.
Among the issues are questions about corporate governance and securities fraud, Nowicki said.
In fact, the high court added a new one to the roster on Tuesday. The justices agreed to consider a case involving Merck & Co. (MRK, Fortune 500) that addresses how long investors can wait before making a securities fraud claim.
Nearly 1 in 4 African-American women in the United States with late stage breast cancer refused chemotherapy and radiation therapy, researchers said.
Study leader Dr. Monica Rizzo of the Emory University School of Medicine and Emory University's Avon Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center at Grady and colleagues reviewed stage III breast cancer data from 2000- 2006 from an inner city hospital in Atlanta that serves a large African-American population.
The investigators identified 107 cases of stage III breast cancers diagnosed and/or treated at this hospital over the six years of study. Approximately 87 percent of these cases were in African-American women.
Chemotherapy and radiation are recommendedtherapies for patients with stage III breast cancer; however, many women in this study decided to forgo these treatments.
Between 60 and 80 percent of athletic departments' revenue in Division IA of the National Collegiate Athletic Association comes from "activities that can be described as commercial," according to a studyissued Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office.
While athletic officials have long tried to describe their activities as fundamentally similar to the rest of their institutions, the Congressional report suggests otherwise. It finds that the proportion of commercial revenue is seven to eight times that for the rest of the institutions' activities. As a result, athletics programs may have "crossed the line from educational to commercial endeavors," the Congressional review found. (Outside of the NCAA's top division, it found significant, but much reduced commercial revenue -- 20 to 30 percent in the rest of Division I).
"Removing the major tax preferences currently available to university athletic departments would be unlikely to significantly alter the nature of those programs or garner much tax revenue even if the sports programs were classified, for tax purposes, as engaging in unrelated commercial activity," the report says. "As long as athletic departments remained a part of the larger nonprofit or public university, schools would have considerable opportunity to shift revenue, costs, or both between their taxed and untaxed sectors, rendering efforts to tax that unrelated income largely ineffective. Changing the tax treatment of income from certain sources, such as corporate sponsorships or royalties from sales of branded merchandise, would be more likely to affect only the most commercial teams; it would also create less opportunity for shifting revenue or costs."
by Dr Boyce Watkins
About a week ago, I received a call from a radio show host who was practically screaming through the phone. I wasn't sure if she was in labor with her first child, running from a mass murderer, or had just seen Denzel Washington in her bathroom shower. I figured that whatever she was screaming about, it had to be important.
When the radio show host informed me of the source of her discomfort, I was ready to scream myself. The black unemployment numbers, while typically absurd, had reached (in TSA language) threat level orange. During the month of April, while white unemployment nation-wide rose by only .1% (to 8.0%), black unemployment rose by a shocking 1.7% (to 15%). This means that black unemployment grew by 17 times more than white unemployment and is nearly double the rate of white America. Yes, it's time to be alarmed.
Unemployment has dropped in 21 states. The US is starting to see scant signs of an economic recovery (I'll admit that my stock portfolio is no longer on life support). The stock market has risen dramatically over the past 2 months and could be even more bullish after this week. Yet, black America is getting hammered relentlessly by the economic downturn. Not trying to bother you President Barack Obama (I know you're kind of busy with that whole North Korea thing), but do you have anything to say about this?
by Kim Lampkins
When it comes to President Obama 'cutting' funds to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) ... Oh NO, he DIDN'T!
North Carolina A&T
An AP headline and story sparked outrage last week with accusations that President Obama had "turned his back on black college students." The writer says Obama 'cut' budgets, when in fact the Obama administration increases funds to HBCU's.
The blogosphere has been absolutely rabid with criticism of President Obama's proposed education budget, and what's been described as a "cut" in funds to over a 100 of the nation's federally recognized HBCU'S--Historically Black Colleges and Universities. At issue, a temporary 2-year grant created by Congress in 2007 to supplement the already existing Title III provisions. On the issue, the shouts of "hold the President accountable" are ricocheting throughout cyberspace! On this issue,my voice is not part of the chorus.
** Title III: The program helps eligible institutions of higher learning to become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability of eligible institutions.
**In 2007 Congress passed sweeping legislation to make college more affordable for students across the nation, via the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. (CCRAA) As part of this landmark piece of legislation 170-million dollars (85-million each for fiscal years 2008 and 2009) was targeted for 105 HBCU's via Title III. The funds were part of an overall 510-million dollars included in an over 18-BILLION dollar piece of legislation. Hispanic, Native American and other minorities institutions also benefited from this 510-million dollar provision to help offset years of underfunding.
When the Obama Administration's Fiscal Year 2010 budget was released last week, many were dismayed that this 2-year supplemental grant--85-million dollars each year--was not extended beyond its expiration date. Many, in my viewmischaracterized this as a budget 'cut'. It was, in my view, mischaracterized as a sign of President Obama's indifference to Black college students and HBCU's. I didn't buy it!
In an effort to find out how HBCU officials were interpreting the news, I spoke with a Title III Administrator at an HBCU in the northeastern U.S. This official acknowledged that he, "never expected to receive the extra funds past the 2009 expiration date." He said, "It was understood that they were temporary grants for 2008 and 2009."
He was however, concerned that the budgetproposal submitted by President Bush in June of 2008 did NOT include the extra funds, but had actually cut traditional discretionary funding by 85-million dollars, while using the temporary Congressionally mandated grant funds to make up the difference. He was concerned about how that proposed cut would pan out beyond 2009.
Our conversation took place Tuesday (5/19) before he saw the actual numbers in the Obama administration education budget; however he learned the answers today (Thursday 5/21) after receiving and reviewing the budget.
Via email this HBCU official writes: "I just reviewed a copy of President Obama’s budget request for the Department of Education. In that request, President Obama is recommending $296,595,000 for the HBCU and HBGI (Historically Black Graduate Institutions) programs and an additional $85,000,000 for the CCRAA in fiscal year 2009 that begins on October 1, 2009.
As I indicated previously, it was understood that the CCRAA grant is a two year grant, the first award received in Fiscal Year 2008.
President Obama’s budget for FY 2010 shows increases in the appropriations for HBCU ($250,000,000) and HBGI ($61,425,000); together, this request represents a $20,830,000 increase in the appropriation over the preceding year.
How can this be interpreted as not supporting Black Colleges? Someone is sorely misinformed about the President’s support. What President Obama has initiated, so far, indicates more than ever that he supports Black Colleges."
End of email
Still, there is a move a afoot on Capitol Hill by UNCF officials and others to have the temporary grant made permanent. Requests have been made to House and Senate Approriations Committees for a line item increase in the budget. UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax states, "I'm confident that if the request is made, President Obama will not reject it."
I close with this: I understand the calls to hold the President accountable, we should absolutely hold all of our elected officials accountable. But WHO was holding then President Bush accountable when HE proposed to decrease the HBCU's budget and make up the difference with funds from the Congressionally mandated College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA)? That budget proposal basically amounted to a proposed misuse of funds. IMHO
President Obama assailed North Korea Monday for new missile tests, saying the world must "stand up to"Pyongyang and demand that it honor a promise to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
Appearing on the White House steps, Obama said that its latest nuclear underground test and subsequent test firings of short-range ground to air missiles "pose a grave threat to the peace and security of the world and I strongly condemn their reckless action."
It was his second statement within hours of the tests, the latest in a number of nuclear actions that Obama said "endanger the people of Northeast Asia." He called it "a blatant violation of international law" and said that it contradicted North Korea's "own prior commitments." Obama had released a written statement chastising the North Koreans in the early morning hours of Monday.
In his statement in the White House Rose Garden, he noted that the latest tests had drawn scorn around the world. Pyongyang's actions "have flown in the face of U.N. resolutions" and had deepened its isolation, he said, "inviting stronger international pressure."
"North Korea will not find security and respect through threats and illegal weapons," the president said. "We will work with our friends and allies to stand up to this behavior. The United States will never waver from our determination to protect our people and the peace and security of the world."
President Barack Obama fought Thursday to retake command of the emotional debate over closing Guantanamo, denouncing "fear-mongering" by political opponents and insisting that maximum-security prisons in the U.S. can safely house dangerous terror suspects transferred from Cuba.
In a unique bit of Washington theater, former Vice President Dick Cheney delivered his own address just one minute later, defending the Bush administration's creation of the prison camp as vigorously as Obama denounced it.
Obama, appearing at the National Archives with its immensely symbolic backdrop of the nation's founding documents, said shutting down Guantanamo would "enlist our values" to make America safer. Speaking a day after an overwhelming congressional rebuke to his pledge to close the prison, he forcefully declared the camp a hindrance — not a help — to preventing future terrorist attacks. He contends that the prison, which has held hundreds of detainees for years without charges or trials, motivates U.S. enemies overseas.
Today there are more than 33,000 African Americans teaching full-time at colleges and universities in the United States. But the progress into faculty ranks is so slow that, at the current rate, it will take about a century and a half for the percentage of African-American faculty to reach parity with the percentage of blacks in the nation’s population.
Over the years this journal has given major attention to institutional efforts that bring more black students to their campuses. But of equal importance to the progress of blacks in higher education is the presence of black faculty.
Black faculty members are important role models and mentors to black students. A critical mass of black faculty members on campus tends to have a major positive impact on efforts to recruit black students to a college campus. Not to be overlooked, too, is the fact that black faculty often offer students a different perspective on racial and social issues which can enrich the education process.
According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Education, in 2003 there were 33,137 African Americans serving in full-time faculty positions at colleges and universities in the United States. They made up 5.3 percent of all full-time faculty in American higher education. Thus, while blacks are 12 percent of the total enrollments in higher education, the black presence in faculty ranks is less than half the black student enrollment figure.
In considering these statistics it is important to note that approximately 60 percent of all full-time faculty at the nation’s historically black colleges and universities are black. The thousands of black faculty members at these institutions mean that the African-American percentage of the total faculty at the nation’s predominantly white institutions is significantly less than the 5.3 percent total for full-time faculty nationwide.
The U.S. Department of Education data also shows that while blacks are increasing their numbers in holdings of faculty posts, the progress has been slow. A quarter-century ago in 1981, blacks were 4.2 percent of all full-time faculty in American higher education. Today, as stated earlier, the figure is 5.3 percent.
If we were to project into the future the progress blacks have made into full-time faculty positions over the past quarter-century, we find that it would take about 140 years before the percentage of black full-time faculty equaled the current percentage of the black population in the United States.
Black Faculty Are Scarce in Full Professor Positions
Houston Baker was at the first one-day Celebration of Black Writing party 25 years ago, when he was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Today, Baker, 66, is a distinguished professor at Vanderbilt University, whose latest book, "Betrayal: How Black Intellectuals Have Abandoned the Ideals of the Civil Rights Era" advances his reputation as a no-holds-barred cultural critic.
In his book, Baker contends that many of the black public intellectuals who appear on network and cable television talk shows have essentially turned their backs on poor African-Americans.
"They are saying if people are in a bad place - if they are impoverished and disproportionately imprisoned and racially-profiled and killed in drive-by shootings - it's a result of bad behavior," Baker said in a telephone interview last week.
"It has nothing to do with municipal or state or federal laws and policies such as those that put some drug users in rehab and others in prison."
Among the black intellectuals that Baker is most sharply critical of are well-known conservative writers and thinkers such as Hoover Institute senior fellow Shelby Steele, Manhattan Institute fellow John McWhorter and comedian Bill Cosby, who has criticized poor black parents, Baker said, "for the way they talk and dress when they probably don't have two quarters to put together."
From Dr. Boyce
After seeing this report, all I could say was “Wow”. This man, George Zinkhan, was apparently a highly regarded Marketing Professor. Zinkhan’s body was found after a nation-wide manhunt when he killed his wife and two other men. Don’t read between the lines and assume I am sending a message with this post. I just thought this was interesting, in light of the fact that he is a business school professor like myself. Of course, I’d never consider doing anything like this…..so don’t worry! I just pray for this man’s family and am sorry for whatever sadness he had in his soul. This is truly tragic.
“In an e-mail obtained by CNN, (Barbara) Carroll had warned her colleagues at the university’s Terry College of Business that Zinkhan, a marketing professor, was “dangerous.” The e-mail was sent after the shootings but before Zinkhan’s body was found.
Carroll could not be reached Tuesday, but in her e-mail she said that law enforcement officials surrounded her house early on the morning of May 1 after authorities found MapQuest directions to her house, printed on April 24, in Zinkhan’s Jeep. She said she was advised to go into hiding.
“I do not believe Zinkhan had a map to my house for any reason other than he planned to kill me as well on April 25,” Carroll wrote. “This also suggests premeditation for the three murders he did commit. By the grace of God, I was at the movies all Saturday afternoon after being at school in my office (like a sitting duck) all that morning.”
by Christopher Metzler, Georgetown University
Every President since President Eisenhower has been invited to speak at Notre Dame's commencements. So, why has President Obama's invitation created such a row? It depends on who you ask.
First, many of those who oppose his invitation do so ostensibly based on Catholic social teaching and a doctrinal dedication to Catholicism. That is, they claim that one, who supports abortion rights and stem cell research and thus oppose catholic teaching, should not be honored with an invitation to speak at commencement or with an honorary degree. As a practicing Catholic I say fair enough. I would assume then that any President who opposed any tenant of Catholic teaching would not be granted this honor. My assumption is incorrect and thus the argument is flawed.
To be sure, the Obama commencement controversy is not the first. One wonders though why the amount of vitriol did not reach a fermented brouhaha when Bush'41 was given the honor to deliver the Notre Dame Commencement address. After all, Catholic teaching extols the sanctity of human life without exception and makes no distinction whatsoever. Yet Bush'41 supported the death penalty and thus made the decision that "the sanctity of human life has exceptions." Ignoring the life question, he said in his address, "Today's crisis will have to be addressed by millions of Americans at the personal, individual level for governmental programs to be effective. And the federal government, of course, must do everything it can do, but the point is, government alone is simply not enough. So perhaps the vitriol depends on the political content of the speech as well as the political leanings of the protestors.
Bush '43 faced protest because of his stances on among other things, labor and the death penalty. He said in his speech, "This University is more than a community of scholars, it is a community of conscience." Neither Terry nor Keyes was present with gallows in tow.
Second, the analysis and discussion concerning the President's invitation proves the power of the chattering class to define Obama's Presidency in "post-racial" discourse. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, unlike all of his predecessors, the President is Black. Thus, if Notre Dame did not extend the invitation; the punditry would have certainly accused Notre Dame of being racists for refusing to extend the invitation. "Post-racial" discourse is powerful because of its ability to ignore race and elevate "value-based" twaddle.
Third, let's not forget that the very nature of a university is that it provides a platform for discourse even when all in the university community do not agree with the views of the speaker. Are those in opposition to the invitation suggesting that there should be a litmus
test for commencement speakers? Should that litmus test be that no speaker should be invited to speak at commencement unless the speaker is in complete agreement with each and every tenet of espoused values of the University? Commencement then would be relegated to an intellectual merry-andrew buttressed by politically correct indoctrination.
Moreover, universities would have to engage in a purging of "intellectual and doctrinial miscreants" where each and every member of the University community who does not agree with those espoused values are asked to unceremoniously exit the University. The University then would create a list of those in opposition and then "burn them at the proverbial stake" To be sure; Notre Dame is both Catholic and a university. Thus, the fundamental question is whether Notre Dame and others like it are Catholic universities or universities that happen to be Catholic. This is not a merely an academic question nor is the difference a distinction without a difference. Perhaps, some doctrinal and dogmatic soul searching may be in order.
The fact is that there is no university community in which all members live the espoused values of the university without deviation. To suggest otherwise is intellectually bankrupt at worst and unrealistic at best. I am not suggesting that religious universities should not have the freedom to invite those who share our religious values to celebrate commencement. In fact the opposite is true. I am suggesting that religious universities in modern day America live work and teach in an America that is increasingly secular, political and diverse. I am also suggesting that if were honest, we would admit that economics dictate that we cannot survive and thrive in an increasingly secular America if we do not find a way to interrogate secularity. So, perhaps, the question is at what cost.
Fourth, the reality is that the Republican Party is in ataxia and they have used this invitation as a way to rally social conservatives. Both Randall Terry and Alan Keyes were arrested as part of the protest against the President's invitation. My research did not indicate that either Terry or Keyes is members of the Notre Dame University community. Their pushing dolls in carriages despite it comic relief prove this fact. Let's not forget that Keyes is the proverbial political bridesmaid and self-promoter.
Finally, abortion is a social and political issue that continues to divide modern day America much like slavery did. Thus, while I do not question the religious devotion of anyone involved in this debate, I do question the motives of those who have sought to politicize this invitation while pretending not to do so.
The reality is that this invitation is shrouded in religion, politics and policy; I just wish that all sides would admit it rather than adopting the supercilious "holier than thou, post-racial" moniker buttressed by pretentious posturing that prevents serious debate in modern day America.
Dr. Billy Hawkins, University of Georgia
A typical error Black academics make is to believe that the academy is open and accepting of new ideas and insights. They initially welcome us with open arms, but we soon find out that the shelf life of this welcome is brief and that their minds were never really open and accepting. I have come to think of it in terms of the structural deficiencies and inability of these institutions to sincerely assimilate fresh new perspectives and energies into their paradigms. Therefore, in the context of the phrase “new wine in old wineskins” the evolutionary Messiah, Jesus Christ, informs of the perils of progressive thinking within an archaic system.
Dr. Boyce Watkins lack of tenure at the University of Syracuse speaks to this issue and to the broader issue of how Predominantly White Institutions are conservative and myopic in their agendas, curricula, and missions than they are progressive and bastions of forward-thinkers. The tenure process has always worked as a mechanism to temper and corral the radical embers that spark change from the status quo and challenge previous preconceive notions. Inherent in the tenure and promotion process are prescriptions for appropriate behavior and academic inquiry. Speaking truth to power is not one of the prescriptions rewarded in this process, especially if you are a Black professor.
Dr. Watkins has taken up the mantle of speaking truth to power and being a “scholar for the people.” Every institution of higher learning should be in the business of liberating people and creating a more just and harmonious society. Unfortunately, many refuse to evolve and remain true to their adherence to white supremacy ideals. In which case, the role of the Black man has always been limited to entertaining the white masses – singing and dancing or running and jumping. We have not been perceived as intellectually equal and capable of reprimanding their inappropriate racist behavior, within and without the ivory towers. When we are critical, we are deemed radical, and when we are politically active, we are deemed rebellious, and thus, we are ostracized and denied tenure for not having the luxury of having academic freedom and privilege of being a scholar.
Syracuse University failed in providing tenure and promotion to one of the most progressive scholars in Dr. Watkins, but once again, they excelled in preserving old wineskins. Consequently, they may have been prophetic in realizing their inability in harnessing Dr. Watkins call to greatness.
America doesn’t care to remember the birth date of Malcolm X, but many of us do. Malcolm was a respectful and educated child. But the horrors of racism can breed an anger inside a man that is difficult to describe. Continuous dehumanization, having others questioning your capabilities, and living in a world of double standards is enough to burn a man’s psyche. It takes time and maturity to eventually let go of the anger and focus on strength through love. That is what Malcolm represented, as he was one of the most articulate, focused and visionary leaders of the 20th century….in a fair world, he would have been President of the United States.
To this day, many are still ignorant about Malcolm’s actual legacy. But the truth is that he was one of the greatest Americans who ever lived. In fact, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would never have been successful had it not been for the leadership of Malcolm X. Malcolm made the sacrifice, Dr. King’s followers received some of the benefits. We miss you Malcolm and we love you. Thank you for being such a patriot.
A video of one of his speeches is below. Click the image to watch. Enjoy!
After the recent shooting incident between two Morehouse College students, we felt compelled to make sure that Black scholars from around the nation had an opportunity to chime in.
Juan E. Gilbert, Ph.D., President of the Brothers of the Academy
"When I saw this story on CNN, I thought there was something strange about it. Here's a young man that is a 2nd or 3rd generation Morehouse man that had to leave school after being shot by a young man that is graduating, what? It appeared to me that there is more to this story than meets the eye. I don't know the full story, but there has to be more to this story. Lets keep it real, I am all about giving a young Black man a second chance, but how did he get to come back to the same school as the victim? I don't have answers, just questions.”
Dr. Ricky L. Jones, Professor of Pan African Studies, University of Louisville
As a Morehouse graduate, this is a disturbing situation. But, I sincerely hope people are willing and able to put it into proper context and not succumb to sensationalistic reporting or opinions. Of great concern is the fact that we have one black man shooting another . . . again! The fact that these guys were Morehouse students is secondary.
That said, the reality that these were Men of Morehouse is certainly tough for those of us who belong to the Morehouse fraternity. We have a long and proud history of taking care of one another – not harming one another. That is a history that Morehouse Men from Martin Luther King, Jr. to President Robert Franklin to the 2009 graduate with the lowest G.P.A. share. That has to be continuously reinforced to all who walk the school’s halls.
Finally, while there is legitimate concern that the administration made the decision to readmit a student who shot another, I am willing to wait for the President’s full reasoning and explanation about that. And maybe most importantly we need to keep in mind that this is more than a Morehouse problem. This is another indication of how intoxicated American society is with guns and violence. Unfortunately, Morehouse College is not the Rx for that sickness. It bleeds into every crack and crevice of our lives.
Ricky L. Jones is a graduate of Morehouse College Class of 1992. He is Professor of Pan African Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Crime and Justice and the University of Louisville. He is the author of “What’s Wrong with Obamamania?: Black America, Black Leadership and the Death of Political Imagination.”
“Institutions like Morehouse College have a long and deep history of
producing some of the most extraordinary Black men in the world.
Sometimes, this tradition forces the institution into a protective
posture that privileges "respectability" over "responsibility." This
tragedy also highlights the ways in which HBCUs sometimes replicate
the same class-based inequalities that govern the institutional
decision making of predominately white universities.”
“What's wrong with Black America? Missing Black fathers...too many babies out of wedlock...economic impotence...a lack of ambition and a sense of hopelessness in our youth...too many balls and not enough books...toxic churches led by wolves preying on the sheep...obesity and its effects on our health...ad nauseum. How about adding a lack of accountability and responsibility? Sadly enough, when the time came to shoot a layup -- that is, take action and do the right thing, the leaders at Morehouse College missed the mark. For Mr. Johnson and the entire Morehouse College community to have been disrespected with the decision to allow Mr. Norris to finish his degree after such a violent act is a travesty to the opportunity to join a prestigious community of scholars. Higher education is a privilege, not a right. Mr. Norris can certainly have a good laugh as he proudly displays his Morehouse diploma on his wall. He is a Morehouse man now. Whatever. He can snicker at an administration that chose to coddle a coward at the expense of a rich tradition, bright young minds, proud alumnni and an unblemished reputation. Unfortunately, this action will not go unnoticed. An unwanted spotlight is now on the College; potential candidates, donors and sponsors will undoubtedly give the idea of matriculation and financial support a second thought. Just what another HBCU needs at THIS time...And who can blame them? Yes, there are always more details that the public is not made immediately aware of in criminal cases. However, the fact that the administration acted prior to the judge's decision makes one wonder if they acted in a responsible manner. Could the decision have been an economic one?
If the definition of character is what you do when no one is watching, then the current Morehouse administration has a major blemish and there is cause for major concern. There is now new meaning to being called a Morehouse man. Mr. Johnson, please don't lose sleep over not receiving that diploma. Your courage and decision to close that chapter in your life is the best example to demonstrate to our youth. Move forward with your dream to attend law school and use this example to promote real justice. Let's just hope that Morehouse will learn its lesson and begin to display accountability to those whom it serves and seeks to represent. For surely, this case is a demonstration of what IS wrong in Black America.”
“In response to your question about Morehouse's handling of the shooting on campus, I can only consider it from the "consumer-side," not the "marketing" and "political" sides.
I just do not see parents preventing their children from enrolling at Morehouse given this unfortunate event.
It certainly puts a stain on the university for allowing a convicted individual back on campus. It certainly reeks of politics that this young man is allowed to continue his life, whereas the victim was "forced" to transfer to an out of state college given the college's unseemly decision. But applications and enrollments to Morehouse will not, in my humble opinion, decrease because of this ruling.
I see such a decline happening under one circumstance; that is, that all aspects of the situation are brought to light in a public forum. Specifically, some in-depth analysis of the entire event must be presented. I am thinking something like "48 Hours," "60 Minutes," or some other expose' must be conducted. Then, and only then, will people do a double take of the decision university officials made.”
Morehouse College continues to stand alone in the minds of many because of its dedication to build strong black men. Which is why so many of us are asking why Joshua Brandon who shot fellow classmate Rashad Johnson got his diploma from Morehouse while Rashad Johnson lies in agony. Asked to comment, Morehouse issued a languid, wobbly retort "The college cannot comment on specific student conduct matters, incidents of inappropriate student behavior, whether on or off campus." Is this the best that a community of scholars can do?
According to Morehouse its mission is " to produce academically superior, morally conscious leaders for the conditions and issues of today, whether “today” is post-Civil War or turn of the new millennium. " Surely Morehouse does not see its decision in this case to be morally conscious. The administration does not expect us to believe that it had no choice because of the plea bargain. Of course we all know that what is legal is not always moral. In this case,
Morehouse chose the legal over the moral.
Finally, the Judge in this case Marvin Arrington is the poster child for judges trying to legislate morality from the bench. He should have know that this plea bargain was simply wrong. Judge Marvin Arrington and his penchant to do social work from the bench leads me to think that it is social work, not law that is his calling.
As I state on the video introduction for YourBlackWorld.com, “There is no one way to be black”. This statement implies that even those in our family who don’t agree with my position have a right to express their opinions. Such is the essence of freedom of thought, which requires discipline for us to maintain (even I get tempted to discount opinions that seem misguided, as I am learning and growing myself). At any rate, I want to give a very sincere “thank you” to those who’ve sent emails in support of my tenure situation at Syracuse. Again, I must re-emphasize the following:
1) DO NOT feel sorry for me….I am fine. I’ve never depended on some random university to pay my bills, as we should realize that it is not in the interest of our community’s “national security” to rely on our historical oppressors to provide things that we critically need (the easiest way to control another man is for that man to know that you are the reason his children get to eat every day). I built my business interests because I wanted to be a truly independent Black man and a serious scholar. Academic bureaucracy sometimes gets in the way of true scholarship, the same way that the pettiness of church affairs can get in the way of truly serving God….hence, Jesus is killed in public with many so-called pastors cheering on his murder. I will never be as great as Jesus, but I firmly believe in the phrase, “What would Jesus do?” I truly believe that Jesus would do his best to do what’s right, he would stand up for the weak and he would speak for those who have no voice. That is what I try to do every day of my life.
2) This issue is NOT ABOUT ME. I am not fighting for my own tenure, for I’ve never needed tenure to validate me as a scholar. Rather, this fight is for all of the Black scholars around the nation who are being denied tenure on unfair grounds. It is for our children, who have a right to learn from Black professors without having to take African American studies as a major. It is to break the chains off of our most brilliant Black scholars, who are locked away in their offices writing research papers that no one is ever going to read, all because they’ve been threatened with severe punishment if they choose to use their intellect to solve critical problems in the Black community. I encourage you to do an accountability request from your alma maters and ask them why they seem to only find good Black basketball players, but can’t find any “qualified” Black faculty (using fundamentally flawed measures of the term “qualified”….you’d be amazed at what some others consider to be qualified). Our children deserve to be educated by Black people too (I’ve never had a Black professor in any class I took in 13 years of post-secondary education. It shouldn’t be that difficult).
3) I am not angry with Syracuse University. While I do not agree with their decision, the truth is that many in America are socially conditioned to be frightened by uncompromising and outspoken African American men. I am from the south, so I am used to the disease of racism. So, Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s reaction to me is no different from the reaction that the university had to Jim Brown when he was here many years ago. I knew what I was getting myself into, as my reading about the lives of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Harry Edwards and others allowed me to see, in advance, how White America was going to react to the Dr. Boyce Watkins brand of scholarship. Even when you try to speak in love, simply standing up for Black people in a forthright way leads others to place you as an enemy of the establishment….that’s why Dr. King was murdered. But remember: had it not been for the sacrifices of others, I would not be here. Now it’s time for me to make my sacrifice for our children. I truly believe this is going to be the best year of my entire life, and I am sincerely looking forward to it.
Thank you and God bless you for all of your support. Your comments are below….names have been removed to protect your privacy.
v Dear Dr. Boyce:
Hang in there. Also, why don't you send this (or a similar missive) to Vice President Joseph Biden, a prestigious
interesting to see if he responds. Keep up the good work. Thanks for your voice.
v Sorry to read this. We need to find a way to harness the "leveraging power" of Black collegiate athletes." Also, can "Letters to the Editor" be sent to the student newspaper?
I sit here at work and read and am I saddened – I am not as sure as to what, and how I feel. However, I know that great things are in store for you things that only the divine being can and will provide and that
For me it was a shocker and I did not know the correct procedures and steps to take- in a working environment and no one told me how to deal with this issue at work. So, I was left out in the cold by my own peers………and I will not go on. I know for a fact that prayers work wonders – and wonders never cease. I look at it like this sometimes in life in order to go forward, you have to take a step back, maybe not too far back, maybe you could and was making great waves at Syracuse- Tsunamis even, and people fear what they know not of most.
You are what people fear an educated black man! You may be down but not out, and Syracuse and all the people in powers that be who sit in their ivory towers will see you rise instead of fall, and they will look back and said “ I wish….. If only I knew…. If only I had spoken up……
To cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma is to share a stage with history. And these days, it is to come face-to-face with a bleak present.
Storefront after storefront is closed, and many of the buildings in the famous photos from the days of the historic March 1965 events have fallen into disrepair.
"It is very depressing," Selma Mayor George P. Evans tells us during an evening walk down Broad Street in downtown. "People are not buying. People are not spending. Businesses are going out of business."
This is the heart of Alabama's "Black Belt," and Selma is a reminder that a recession that has punished so many across America has hit hardest in places that were already struggling.
"A double whammy," Evans says. "It does seem to be those cities with the largest population of minorities that has taken the biggest hit."
Hello to my friends,
In case you don't know, my tenure case was denied, which means I'll be dismissed by Syracuse University. I personally am not offended, as I didn't expect to receive tenure after the attacks by Bill O'Reilly last year and the work I've done speaking out on behalf of NCAA athletes (Syracuse earns tens of millions from athlete families and likely lost alumni donations after the Bill O'Reilly attacks - I stand by every word, however, since I won't allow a racist like O'Reilly to speak of lynching Michelle Obama or any other Black woman for that matter). Additionally, our business school (The Whitman School of Management) has not, to my knowledge, recommended tenure for any African American, in any department, in its entire 100 years of operating history (I can't concur with the conclusion that every Black scholar on the planet is unqualified to be here). So, while we can say all we want about elusive and idealistic concepts such as academic freedom, most scholars understand that the rules change when you are an outspoken Black man with no significant Black male power presence on your campus. My role was to support pre-existing intellectual, social and administrative paradigms, not to engage in active, progressive scholarship.
But the goal of this interview is not to talk so much about my tenure case, since I don't need tenure in order to be validated as a scholar (I get supportive email every day). The goal is to speak on behalf of my colleagues, many of whom are absolutely petrified of standing up to the administration in public (they typically agree with me behind closed doors and then say that they can't go public without being punished). A supportive senior colleague (who is not Black, by the way) made it clear to me that if I do not stand up on these issues, then it may be another 100 years before another Black scholar has the platform to do so. Being that I was the only African American on earth to get a PhD in Finance in 2002, I am used to fighting battles alone. I am willing to sacrifice the rest of my academic career in order to do so, for I see this as a great opportunity to help others.
But I stand out of respect and love, not out of hate or anger. Anyone familiar with the history of Syracuse University knows that racial progress has never come without struggle, so this is my opportunity to contribute to the legacy left by Jim Brown, my respected brother and spiritual predecessor. I would not be here were it not for the sacrifices of those before me.
So, this is the first of a series of conversations I plan to have on this topic, as my discussions with Cornel West and others have helped me to realize that what I am experiencing at Syracuse is not an idiosyncratic phenomenon. Academia is racially sick, and we must all give it the necessary medicine.
The first interview will be on "Make it Plain with Mark Thompson" on Sirius 146 and XM 167 at 6:30 pm EST. I hope you'll tune in. Also, if you want to see some of my commentary on AOL Black Voices, please click here. God bless.
By Dr. Christopher J. Metzler
A recent New York Times/CBS poll concluded that race relations are improving in the wake of the election of President Obama. According to the survey, about 66 percent of Americans said that race relations are generally good compared with 53 percent in July of last year. Fifty-nine percent of African-Americans – along with 65 percent of whites – now characterize the relationship between Blacks and Whites in America as ‘good,’ The New York Times proclaimed with glee, “Barack Obama’s presidency seems to be altering the public perception of race relations in the United States.” The Huffington Post also chimed in claiming that “Obama’s race relations effect is real.”
It seems that the single event of the election of President Obama has erased America’s racial transgressions in one fell swoop and has improved the relationship between Blacks and Whites overnight. The problem, however, is not relations between Blacks and Whites; there is no evidence yet that the election of President Obama has had more than a symbolic (but important) effect on America’s still unresolved and conflicted relationship with race.
Obama’s election has not changed the fact that in this economic downturn, Black unemployment is at approximately 15 percent while White unemployment is at approximately eight percent. Since his election, racial profiling has not stopped, the educational achievement gap between Blacks and Whites has not narrowed. In addition, the President did not attend, nor did he send a delegation to the World Racism conference in Geneva. Thus, it can be argued that Obama’s election has had nothing but a symbolic effect on race. The difficulty with this argument is that it suffers from the same flaw in logic that is inherent in the New York Times/CBS News poll.
First, the question in the poll was about race relations. That is, the interpersonal relationship between Blacks and Whites. But, the issue is not race relations, it is whether the President will use his bully pulpit to eradicate the substantive racial inequalities that afflict Blacks in America. Much like he will use it to bring peace to the Middle East.
Thus far, the President has been reluctant to do so in any meaningful way. He did chide Attorney General Eric Holder for stating that on the issue of race, America is a nation of cowards. The President said, ”I’m not somebody who believes that constantly talking about race somehow solves racial tensions.” The issue, Mr. President, is racial progress, not racial tension. Moreover, it is about action, not talk.
The President has given no major address on race since his election nor has he implemented any policies that suggest a more inclusive approach to substantive racial equality than any of his all White predecessors. The President’s foray into the question of race came only when as a candidate the Rev. Jeremiah Wright threatened to derail his ascension to the presidency. Is this a racial harbinger of things to come?
In a “post-racial America”, the fact that Obama is Black restricts rather than expands his ability to implement racially substantive policies. The racial calculus in America means that the President must tread lightly on race lest he lose the support of those Whites who claim to be “post-racial.” Some Whites voted for Obama because he is not in the “radical” mold of Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. Rather, he is in the “acceptable” role of Sidney Poitier in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.
Second, some will argue that he can’t do all things immediately and that he should be given more time. Fair enough. He did, however, immediately decree the closure of Guantanamo Bay, ordered a halt to torture, and rescinded several executive orders by the Bush Administration. Thus, the question, is does a “post-racial America” mean that on the issue of race, his presidency will be relegated to a symbolic footnote? Or that while he was elected to solve America’s economic and international problems, he was not elected to solve its racial problems?
Third, the United States is fascinated with grading our Presidents on their progress in their first 100 days in office. One can argue as to whether or not this is an appropriate barometer. As the pundits and analysts pontificated and analyzed, noticeably absent from the discourse was any analysis of his progress on substantive racial equality efforts. Does this suggest that the chattering class have adopted the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on the issue of race? Or does it suggest that America understands and accepts that the black community is willing to trade symbolic victory on the issue of race for substantive victory? Thus, we are willing to avoid the critique of racial avoidance that we have leveled against his all White predecessors.
Fourth, regardless of the “post-racial” moniker attached uncritically to the President’s election, there is racial reality. There are four cases before the U.S. Supreme Court that are dripping in racial verisimilitude and, which, depending on how the Court rules, can set the racial clock backwards. Assuming, for example, that the Court castrates affirmative action or renders the Voting Rights Act pointless in the age of Obama; will the President sit on the racial sidelines? And if he does, will this solidify the notion that the single event of his election is proof positive that America has moved beyond race? As a candidate, if these issues threatened to derail his candidacy, would he have acted? If so, how?
Fifth, perhaps it is a question of expectations. That is, why should we expect a Black President to be more racially inclusive than a non-Black President? Or is the question whether he is a Black President or a President who happens to be Black? The fact that these questions are being asked at all suggests that despite the desire by some to “move beyond race”, it is not as simple as it seems. Thus, dismantling racial discourse and substantive racial inequality requires a shift away from the “post-racial” claptrap that has debauched the descant of the Obama victory.
This means that Black advocates for substantive racial equality should not cower in fear of interrogating the first Black President about how he plans to deal with race. It also means that Whites who support the President should ask themselves whether that support is in exchange for his not engaging in any meaningful way on the issue of race.
Dr. Christopher J. Metzler is Associate Dean at Georgetown University and author of The Construction and Rearticulation of Race in a “Post-Racial” America.