Sunday, March 27, 2011

How Farrakhan Could Undermine Obama’s Black Base on the Libyan Issue

Quick Note from Dr. Boyce Watkins 

I noticed a couple of things this weekend:  First, Louis Farrakhan’s attack on President Obama’s decision to bomb Libya became one of the most amazingly viral videos I’ve seen in quite a while.  In just a couple of days, the video had over half a million views, which is rare and powerful for a video of that nature.  Farrakhan is not like, say, Lady Gaga or Kanye West (who might get a lot of views from non-black folks).  He fits into a niche of black leadership, receiving views from only a particular segment of the population.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dr. Boyce Spotlight: Carlos Thomas – Father, Husband, Scholar, Leader

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Professor Carlos Thomas is one of the sharpest, most powerful black men on earth. Sitting on two PhDs (not one), Thomas has built a career that embraces the essence of the black academic warrior. Not only is he typically the sharpest man in the room, he is a living personification of the essence of what it means to be a black man in America: To love your family, teach the children around you (not just your own), and to stand a stand for what is right. It is because he has chosen to live a life full of power and purpose that Dr. Thomas is today's Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight on AOL Black Voices:


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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

17-Year Old Honor Student Bailed Out by Church after Gun and Drug Charges

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem has taken a very active role in securing the legal rights of one of their parishioners. Afrika Owes is a 17-year old girl who will soon be on trial for felony charges related to gun and drug trafficking. What makes her unique is that she was also a top student, bound for an Ivy League University. The theory among those who support Owes is that her involvement with the gun and drug trade came largely from undue influence from her boyfriend, Jaquan Layne, who was allegedly running the gang from Rikers Island Prison.
Judge Edward McLaughlin of the Manhattan Supreme Court ruled that it is legal for the church to post bail, but only if the church gets permission from the board of directors.

"They can do if they chose to in the manner set out in what the board of directors can do or not do on their behalf," said the judge.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Did Wyclef Lie about Being Shot in Haiti?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Wyclef Jean is now in a hospital recovering after allegedly being shot in his hand. Jean's publicist, Cindy Tanenbaum, said that the artist was shot Saturday in Port-au-Prince, the day before the runoff vote for the Haitian presidential election. According to Tanenbaum, Jean is doing well.
Gerry Andre, Jean's spokesperson in Haiti, also said that the artist was shot in the hand when getting out of a car to speak with him.
"He heard a gunshot, then he saw his right-hand palm was bleeding," Andre told CNN.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tips for Black Fathers: 10 Things Every Black Dad Must Do

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

1) Tell your kids you love them every single day

Love not only makes the world go round, but every person needs to feel loved in order to have the balance necessary to be truly successful. If you love your kids, don’t just show it with your actions, say it with words. It will keep them from seeking love in all the wrong places.

2) Set an example for other fathers

The black male gets a bad rap for allegedly being an irresponsible father. We know that this stereotype is a misguided reflection of America’s historical hatred of the black male, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t encourage each other to do a better job. Demand that other brothers in your circle stand up as good fathers to their children, in spite of their circumstances. It can be tough to be a good parent with sky high unemployment and incarceration rates, but that doesn’t give you an excuse not to try. Those of us who ignore our children should be shamed into realizing how harmful such irresponsibility is to our community.

3) Always find a way to show respect to their mother

Even if you can’t stand the woman you had a child with, you should always give her as much respect as you possibly can. Kids don’t enjoy watching their parents fight, no matter whose fault it is. Also, in spite of your differences, you must always find a way to show appreciation toward the woman who gave life to your offspring.

4) Prepare them for the bullsh*t

We know that being black isn’t easy. You have to be twice as good to get half as much and life sometimes kicks you in the butt when you don’t deserve it. Prepare your kids for life as an African American, letting them know that they are going to have to be tough, smart and courageous to succeed in a world where the odds can be stacked against them. We all know that life isn’t fair, and it’s important to make sure your kids are prepared for the coming disparities.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dr. Boyce Watkins: The Death of Nate Dogg Presents the End of a Disturbing Era of Hip-Hop

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

This morning I woke up to find out that Nathaniel D. Hale, better known as Nate Dogg, died last night (March 15).  The cause of death has not been announced.  But its easy to connect Nate Dogg’s death to the health problems that came from the massive strokes he suffered in 2007 and 2008. 

Nobody sang hooks like Nate Dogg.  Most of us can go back to Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” album in the early 1990s as well as “Regulate” by Warren G to see where this brilliant artist set the game on fire.  I loved Nate Dogg, and I am going to miss him.  Nobody could run the chorus the way he could, for he had a voice that hip-hop will remember for the next 50 years.

On another note, I wonder how Nate Dogg’s early death was related to some of the self-destructive habits


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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Boyce Watkins: Choosing Not to Run Away from Your Destiny

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I went to see “The Adjustment Bureau,” the new film starring Matt Damon and Anthony Mackie. Mackie has become one of my favorite actors as of late after taking some very bold and promising stands on how black Hollywood can address the racism they are constantly facing from the white Hollywood establishment. Rather than standing around moaning about the inequities of their profession, Mackie has simply said that we need to stand up and start creating our own films. I love what Mackie had to say, because you can never gain anyone’s respect by begging.


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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Our World with Black Enterprise: Dr. Marc Lamont Hill Discusses the Black Male Incarceration Crisis


One of my very good friends, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, speaks to a panel about the mass incarceration crisis that is affecting black males.  Take a look.

New Research Finds that Those with Strong Racial Identity Tend to be Happier

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Researchers at Michigan State University have just found that those who identify with their race more strongly than others tend to be happier. The study, which is set to appear in the journal Cultural Diversity and Ethic Minority Psychology, is the first empirical study to document such a relationship.

"This is the first empirical study we know of that shows a relationship between racial identity and happiness," said Stevie C.Y. Yap, who is the lead researcher on the project.
While there have been studies linking racial identity to higher self-esteem, none have actually connected it to happiness. The study surveyed black adults in the state of Michigan. They found that the more the subject identified with being black, or the more important their blackness was to them, the happier they were with life in general.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dr. Boyce: Rush Limbaugh Says that Obama is Not Really a Black Man?

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

It appears that the “great” Rush Limbaugh doesn’t believe that Barack Obama is black.  On his show, Limbaugh responded to Obama’s suggestion during a meeting that some of the animus being shown toward him was driven by race (which we all know plays a huge role in the unprecedented attacks he’s been facing from his political opponents).  On his radio show, Limbaugh had this to say:

"Let me ask you a question. How many people really think of Obama as black? ...One of Obama's parents is black. Undeniable. But he was raised by a white mother, by white grandparents. He went to a highly exclusive private school in Hawaii with rich, white students and white teachers. He went to exclusive colleges that were practically lily-white. Barry Obama is from a very white, albeit radically left, cultural background. He's not from the hood. He's not from the movement...I'm telling you, there is a chip on this guy's shoulder, and it is a factor in every policy decision that he makes."

What’s interesting is that Rush Limbaugh’s statement is a powerful reminder of the kind of racism he embodies with his typical rhetoric.  Somehow, Limbaugh was made to believe that being black means that you are “from the hood” or “from the movement.”  The truth is that being black can also mean that you were born middle/upper class, attended elite universities, or are a sociopolitical conservative.  By confining blackness to mean that a person must have had a specific background or be confined to a particular economic or social class, Limbaugh comes off as the standard sort of racist who remains hell-bent on disrespecting our humanity.


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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Does Rahm Emanuel Have White Privilege that President Obama Can’t Get?


White House Photo

A reader on the Black Agenda Report said this about Rahm Emanuel as Mayor of Chicago, comparing him to President Barack Obama.  What do you think?

While I cannot predict exactly what Rahm will do in while he holds office, I can predict what he will NOT do. He will NOT appear in front of a Black audience and brag about how much he upset some members of the Jewish community by paying too much attention to "Black" interests. He will NOT repeat over and over and over again that he is not the "Jewish" or "White" mayor of Chicago. He will NOT make a grand show of avoiding being seen around or with Jewish people or with other White people.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Alexis Marie: Former Stuyvesant HS Student Posts Video in Response to Racist Rappers


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Alexis Marie, the girl who posted the video of the white students at Stuyvesant HS who rapped about their disdain for black people, issued a statement regarding why she posted the video. 

In her remarks, Alexis states clearly that she was seeking to use the video to encourage “elite” high schools to have conversations about race relations.  Her statement is very intelligent and effectively delivered, especially for a young woman her age.  I personally applaud Alexis for having the courage to speak up and take a stand on issues like this one. 


Click to read.

Afrika Owes: Ivy League Bound Student Busted for Dealing Drugs for her Boyfriend

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I spoke this weekend to a group of aspiring college students in a group called "Black Achievers." The group invited me to speak because I talk regularly about the value of education, as well as confronting the structural obstacles that make it difficult for our kids to find success. But one thing I brought to the table that the students and their parents might not have expected is the need for us to confront the destructive elements of hip-hop culture, which teach our good kids that "keeping it real" is something that should be done at all costs, even when it causes them to lose their lives.

The reason I brought this issue to the forefront of the discussion was because of young women like Afrika Owes. Afrika is a 17-year old who was once headed to an Ivy League school. But rather than going to anyone's university, she will be spending most of her adult life in prison. Afrika was recently arrested for being part of a drug ring run by her boyfriend in prison. "Head shots only," he would tell her from behind bars, as he detailed how he wanted people to be executed.

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Some Trying to Say that the Oprah Winfrey Network is a Failure

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


I’m not sure if this is the right time to pass judgment on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), since it just began.  But Alexis Stodghill at AOL Black Voices, the New York Times and others are beginning to wonder if the magic is going to last.   According to the Times:

OWN, her two-month-old channel, is attracting fewer viewers than the obscure channel it replaced, Discovery Health. At any given time this month, there have been about 135,000 people watching OWN, according to the Nielsen Company, and only about 45,000 of those people are women ages 25 to 54, the demographic that the channel is focusing on.

Those ratings levels, down about 10 percent from Discovery Health’s levels last year, are being carefully watched by people who would like to rebuild cable channels around other celebrities, and by investors who worry that OWN is a drag on Discovery’s stock.


Click to read.