Friday, June 27, 2008

My Trip to BET: Please Give me Your Thoughts

Greetings,
BET is doing a special on Barack Obama and the Presidential election. I’ll be one of the academics brought in to provide the scholarly perspective on this. In my last project with BET, “The 25 Events that Misshaped Black America”, Michael Eric Dyson was my partner in crime. Mike is my friend, and was one of my greatest inspirations when I chose to pursue a career of public scholarship.

As you’ve seen, I don’t hold back on my own point of view, even if it is not popular (I am not a politician or in a popularity contest – I believe the role of the public scholar is to engage in sincere intellectual leadership). However, as I move forward with this project on Obama, I feel an obligation to be cognizant of what the black community is thinking.

We tape the episodes in July, and I expect them to start airing in September. So, in order to get my finger on the pulse of the community, I would like to encourage you to submit your opinions. Tell me: How do you feel as you’re watching this election? Are your feelings changing as time goes by? Has anything surprised, disappointed or angered you? I would really like to know.

I want to quickly give a shout out to the Atlanta Black Achievers. I’ll be keynoting their teen leadership summit on September 6. I wanted to mention this particular engagement, since I owe a life debt to Black Achievers. Had it not been for the Louisville, KY chapter of this organization, I would never have gone to college. In fact, I dedicated my first book “Everything you ever wanted to know about college” to the Black Achievers organization. If there is a chapter in your city, I encourage you to join or make a donation. It was my mama’s willingness to yank me by my afro and force me to go to meetings on Saturday mornings that changed my life forever. I encourage other parents out there to not give up on their kids and do the same thing. EVERY BLACK CHILD IS COLLEGE MATERIAL. Don’t let teachers, counselors or anyone else tell you different.

In case anyone is interested, I wrote an article on the feud between rapper Ice-T and Soulja Boy. As someone who speaks regularly to high school kids (all of whom seem to live and die for Soulja Boy) I felt like this was a chance to discuss the divide between older generations and younger ones. I am not sure if we always give our youth the respect they need to make them feel empowered to carry the torch. Yes, we are better drivers, but we need to trust them with the wheel, since we can’t drive forever.

I even witness this divide myself when I appear on shows with individuals from the Civil Rights generation. While many of them are open to the idea of new leadership, there are some who don’t seem to feel that any generation after their own has anything of value to contribute to the world. But I applaud the NAACP in their decision to elect Ben Jealous as their new president. I am optimistic that Mr. Jealous can inject fresh, youthful blood into the organization, while maintaining a sincere respect for the contributions of the past. Properly passing the torch requires a delicate and respectful negotiation between generations. Berating young people only marginalizes them. I am a fan of encouraging youth and empowering their desire to bring fresh, energized and educated perspectives. In return, when we sit at the table to give advice, we will find them quite receptive. Whether you realize it or not, the feud between Ice-T and Soulja Boy is no different from the divide between Bill Cosby and black teens, or what I’ve gone through with some (not all) Civil Rights leaders. As we work with youth, it is critical to remember that the phrase “tough love” also includes the word “love”. Love and hate can be reflective devices: the more you give, the more you usually get back. Let’s love our kids to greatness.

At any rate, be well and God Bless.

Dr. Boyce Watkins
www.BoyceWatkins.net
www.YourBlackWorld.com

68 comments:

alwash said...

Please ask Obama about his grass roots campaign goals and objectives. He has the potential for establishing a national grass roots lobby that can directly lobby the office of the President for needed changes at all levels. This lobby can also organize local efforts at the city and state levels to support needed programs. Does he intend to maintain this lobby after the election? How will he be prepared to respond to the needs of the "little" people who support him financialy and politically?

Anonymous said...

We need to find out why Obama is changing his opinions so much and backing away from his promises. I don't trust him anymore.

Anonymous said...

We need to find out why Obama is changing his opinions so much and backing away from his promises. I don't trust him anymore.

Anonymous said...

Please ask Sen. Obama what his plans are as it relates to reforming the prison system. I lost my entire career based on one mistake. Never before that day had I served time or even been arrested. With a college degree I suffer because no one will hire me and now I'm on disability for life because of stress and physical illness.

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed that Obama has not rallied the African American community. When he does speak to us, (Father's Day) he is critical. He can take time to talk to the Jews when they were angered by him, but he didn't have time to talk to Tavis. He in my opinion is taking our vote for granted. I for one has not jumped on his bandwagon.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment above. Obama can't just talk to black people when he wants to bash us.

Msberry said...

Thank you for inviting us to be apart of this historic event. I ask that WE as Africian Americans support this campaign and realize that if Mr. Obama does not get elected then he can NOT change the current face of American Politics. We often scrutinize our own more than those who oppress us. Do we trust Bush? What about Clinton? Don't forget Bush Sr. And Ronald Regan. And the others who had NO interest in Black America. Mr Obama does not need to comment or address each concern we have indiviually, he needs to do EXACTLY what he is doing-- which is running a campaign based on respect and integrity. This is what is going to change America and American Politics. INTEGRITY folks! As stated by Dr Boyce - this is not about being popular. This is about changing how Americans, specifically (to me) Black Americans are treated in a so-called free land. We as a community have less power and opportunity than a refuge! Most immigrants (except others of color) are allowed to come here and live better than the average black man/woman. Please beleive that our "issues" are not being addressed by white politicans unless they need you for the moment. I want someone to help Mr Obama, NOT hinder him! I appauld Mr and Mrs Obama for not only having the INTEGRITY to be in the race, but also the TENANCITY to win the race. Much move and respect to Dr Boyce and Mr Obama.

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama has a tough road to hoe, considering the far right has now labeled him a Socialist and sponsor of hate speach of Rev. Wright. If he shows too much aid toward the African American communities, there will be a firestorm of criticism. My question is, will that perception affect his timeline to improve conditions in the inner cities of America?

Darren Walton

Anonymous said...

Dr. Boyce. It is imperative that you mention voter identification issues and polling location problems.

Anonymous said...

I would like for you to be especially cognizant of the fact that Obama is running for president in America. Consequently, certain things can't be said or have to be said so that he can get elected. It is certainly true that all men need to be present in their children's lives. The special on Baltimore schools was very sad when the young man said his father has been absent since he was a toddler and that would apply to most of his peers in the school. So Obama was not far off the target when he spoke on father's day and I did not agree with your criticism. A relevant question would be what can he do about our schools and the horrendously low number of young Black men going on to college.
LT

Dr Boyce said...

I hear what the brother above is saying about "keeping quiet till the election". But I was not raised to cower in fear over what White America thinks of our words. I am also not a fan of encouraging leaders to point out flaws in African Americans, while simultaneously ignoring the flaws in other ethnic groups. This is a 400 year tradition, and it's time for this to stop.

So, I'm sorry brother. I plan to hold Barack accountable. That doesn't mean I don't support him. But just like in an abusive marriage, if you don't ask for respect, you won't get it. Black people must support Obama from a position of respect, or we will get another politician with a black face and not much else.

On the parenting issue, I know quite a few kids who aren't black who don't have fathers in their homes (50% of white Americans have absentee fathers). So, this notion that African Americans behave as animals who care less about our children than other ethnic groups has got to stop. We must think highly of ourselves and encourage brothers to try harder, while simultaneously having the courage to challenge the systems that make it difficult for a man in the inner city to provide for his family. We must not be victims of the system and silently take this abuse.

Obama was wrong to attack black fathers on father's day. I would never attack mothers on mother's day, no matter how many bad mothers I've seen. That would be wrong, but for some reason, we feel it is ok to do that to black men. This is not uncommon, since it is not a coincidence that black men are most likely to fill the prisons and black boys are 5 times more likely to be placed in special education (I was one of them). Even successful black men look down on other black men, which I find regrettable. As a successful black man, I encourage brothers to keep trying, and when I point out bad daddies, I don't just point my finger at the black man.

Remember: "tough love" should also involve the word "love". I saw no love in spending all of Father's Day embracing conservative stereotypes and acting as though black men are the only bad dads in America. To hell with that: I didn't hear ONE SINGLE SPEECH GIVEN IN ANOTHER VENUE where Obama took the same tone with any other group. There was a REASON that Bill O'Reilly applauded Obama's comments. O'Reilly, the man who was recorded in the middle of a sexual harrassment lawsuit, feels that he and other white males are morally superior to black men, and such comments by Obama only affirm that stereotype. I won't stand for that kind of behavior, not on my watch. Black people should not accept these double standards either and stop allowing ourselves to be demeaned in ways that are not acceptable for other groups. If I yell at your child and tell him "Your feet really stink and so does your breath. In fact, kids in your family tend to have the smelliest feet in the world.", that is not a positive comment, especially if my breath stinks as bad as his does. The truthfulness of my words becomes secondary to the fact that I have only berated him and excluded him, as if my own feet don't stink. Of course, he may go home and wash his feet and brush his teeth, but the truth is that I don't like the kid and I feel that I want to make him feel inferior. Making such a comment, without balance of judgement and positive reinforcement, is not going to lead to a productive interaction, especially if I then try to argue that the scent of my own breath is off the table for discussion.

Black men must move forward with positivity. Negativity won't work and I consider it unacceptable. I respect black men as much as I respect black women. We must respect one another if we are going to strengthen our community.

Again, I support Obama, but I am not an "anything goes" kind of brother. People who fall for the "anything goes" mentality usually get ignored and left behind. I am not interested in being a victim, and I will challenge the systems of this country until the day I die.

Stop hating yourself. Love yourself, improve yourself, and fight diligently against anyone who chooses to berate your people under the guise of "tough love". If they are doing it to black men in the inner city, guess what? They are sitting in the back rooms of your corporate executive suit saying the same stuff about YOU. Don't get it twisted, we are in this boat together.

C. LeAnn said...

Dr. Boyce, please do not only limit your comments to Black America. Black America has to embrace that our problems are both national and universal. Obama is not running for President of Black America, he is running for President of the United States. So yes, his campaign and presidency is going to at times seem to leave us (Black Folk) behind if we do not think broadly. We must use our influence and come together as a united group. Tavis Smiley's Covenant with Black America provides an excellent starting point. We must have a prioritized agenda that keeps us at the decision making table. Right now we are arguing over table scraps and we are not even at the table. Thank you for respecting a womanist's standpoint. We are either part of the problem or part of the solution! I choose to contribute to the solution. Vote Obama- At least he will be at the table. This is the first time in my adult life that I have intellectually engaged in a campaign and really cared. I will also hold Obama accountable, but I will be part of the solution instead of grumbling about petty concerns. Dr. Boyce, be a credible academic voice in a world that often discredits us for a communication style that is often misunderstood in public forums.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Boyce, make sure you do your thing. I could care less what white people think about you, because our goal is not to impress white people. Be honest in your commentary, that's why I respect you.

Also, Obama may not be running for president of black america, but I get tired of him being a black candidate when it's time to diss us, but he becomes everybody's candidate when it's time to stand up for us. We always get the short end of the stick.

Elrancho78 said...

My gut feeling is that Obama should win and must win. I may be wrong about all this but I feel the only way the Republicans could overturn that would be by somehow drawing him in to a dirty fight. In the last election I so wanted Kerry to be much tougher and hit harder and was surprised he played it so gently. This time I feel the dynamics are very different and I think Obama should stay dignified and avoid sinking to their level. I'm not saying he shouldn't show his strength or be tough but I sincerely believe that dignity, decency and love are his strongest weapons against an amoral and corrupt status quo. However, if he's drawn into a negative battle I'm afraid it wouldn't work for him, because then they would try to paint him as an angry, radical and we all know how easily most white Americans get scared and how ready they are to believe that kind of thing.

However, like you, I don't want him to forget or deny his love and respect for the black community in order to get the job.

Anonymous said...

I would like to here Senator Obama views on the situations in Africa and other countries that are suffering,like Darfur as well as the situation in this country with all the states that are truly hurting.There is a lot to be done and I just hope and pray this is not just another way of taking you up just to let you down,I know that it will take us all to make it work,but is Americas Racism going to defeat it all? I pray that Senator Obama becomming the President is truly a sigh that the times are changing.I will support his campaign,and think positive.We as a world do truly need change in every way of life.ISIS

Anonymous said...

We are so blessed to have a Christian African American man to have won the Democratic nomination. I followed and campaign for Sen. Obama during the nomination campaign. I am not urged to follow this race until it is time to get him elected. There is nothing that Mr. Obama can do to change my opinion of him. I am absolutely sure that God has brought him thus far and will see him through! He can not do or say anything more harmful than the Republican party has done for the last eight years.

the thelosopher said...

"if the shoe fits"....you know the rest. why is it that we get so upset when challenged on "personal accountability"? Barack and Bill(Cosby) tried to speak truth-to-power, when addressing our youth and our adults(fathers). i know personally that there is more i can do as a man, brother, son and father. Unfortunately the politics of "they and them" has replaced the spiritual need for circumspection. before we can solve a problem (drugs, dropouts and crime) we have to honestly address the REAL causes. No one can MAKE you sin, we do it on our own. the best a politition can do is remove SOME impediments. Good personal character and integrity will remove the others. "Be the change you want to see in the world" -Ghandi

Reynaldo said...

What do they mean by the term "The Obama Brand"? Does corporate America embrace Obama because as a president he becomes an effective multicultural marketing toll as President of the United States? Or is it because he brings integrity, reponsibility and decency back to the political process?

the thelosopher said...

@ alwash
that is a great idea, one that would change politics(at least presidential politics) forever.

@ reynaldo
try not to be cynical. any political campaign is a marketing campaign, therefore the whole idea is create a "brand". you cannot distinguish yourself without creating that "brand". furthermore, you also try to define your opponents "brand", i.e. "McCain is a Bush third term"

Ken Wibecan said...

I have always felt that Presidnts are owned by their bosses. Obama just might be different because of his ethnic background and because of how his funding was obtained. In other words there is more hope that he will be good for African Americans than we have ever seen. Yet he is still a politician and I have an inherent distrust in all politicians. I think Obama needs us to give him a chance to prove himself and we can (and will) judge him by his after-election decisions.

LadyBlackProud said...

Dr. Boyce,
While I was overjoyed & cried at the historical nomination of Senator Obama, for some reason I feel indifferent about voting for him. It seems he is more concerned about getting elected by serving white interests, and afraid to disturb their belief in them. The flag pin thing (not wearing it & then wearing it) seems cowardly. Why didn't he courageously keep his position on it? While I've heard about his need to get Hillary supporters and Latinos, how much does he value getting the votes of poverty- stricken Black voters? I really, really want to know exactly what he plans to honestly do about prison reform, i.e. what will he do to stop the imbalance of a largely Black population of prisons? Would he mandate DNA testing of those falsely accused prisoners? I just want to know how much he loves and values Black voters and is he willing to state/demonstrate this publicly through the media? I just don't feel the enthusiasm I felt before he became the "presumptive" nominee. Michelle is a down to earth sista, and I feel her, but I don't trust the Senator as much as I did before is new position.
Also, what does he think about the Palestine's domination of the Jewish people in the Middle? If he can answer that question to my satisfaction on BET in a fair & honest way, perhaps I will reconsider my position. I am the one valuable vote he just might need in this election, and that's real talk!

Anonymous said...

Personal accountability is definitely the key. So, I am hoping that politicians have enough personal accountability to provide the right environments that give people the incentive to do the right thing.

I get angry as a black man when people attack me because there is something wrong with everybody. But they act like they're fine and somethings wrong with us. If we were to attack white men in the same way, we would get shut off. Jeremiah Wright asked America to have personal accountability and apologize for slavery, but they are too fucking irresponsible to do that. Don't talk to me about what is going on with me and my community until you fix your own shit.

The pot needs to stop calling the kettle a nigger.

Theeda said...

It seems Obama has been making a hard right turn lately. Am I to assume that his position on the "FISA Compromise" means that he would engage in warrantless wiretaps in the interests of "national security"? What about his disappointment that the Supreme Court did not uphold the death penalty in child rape cases? What would he really do regarding controlling the flow of guns in this country? It seems that he is not standing for what he says he believes in.

Big Earl said...

I am not sure if I can trust Obama anymore. I sure hope the white people he is ass kissing will support him, because I sure won't!

Passing Woman said...

I was a grad student at SU. My skin is white, but my Dad, my Grandmother and my background defines my identity: I am Black. Because I walk through life with white skin, I get to hear what non-Black speakers say, when they wouldn't necessarily say these things in front of a Black woman.

I am convinced Barack will win--as he should. But once that happens, I am scared. What if George W has screwed up our country SO MUCH that no amount of intelligence, savy and planning will help? What if Barack inherets the worst possible situation (he's about to)--the country is in a shambles: economically, politically, ... heck, it's at all levels.

Every white person in America seems to base their "take" on the Black world, now, on one man. Barack. It is the epitome of White Priveledge, to ask one Black person to speak for ALL Black people--- that is about to happen, except this time it will be on a nation-wide level, with nation wide stakes.

I want to know... Is he ready? Are we ready? We need to "back him" like our nation depended on it, because THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT'S ABOUT TO HAPPEN!

~PW

Passing Woman said...

I was a grad student at SU. My skin is white, but my Dad, my Grandmother and my background defines my identity: I am Black. Because I walk through life with white skin, I get to hear what non-Black speakers say, when they wouldn't necessarily say these things in front of a Black woman.

I am convinced Barack will win--as he should. But once that happens, I am scared. What if George W has screwed up our country SO MUCH that no amount of intelligence, savy and planning will help? What if Barack inherets the worst possible situation (he's about to)--the country is in a shambles: economically, politically, ... heck, it's at all levels.

Every white person in America seems to base their "take" on the Black world, now, on one man. Barack. It is the epitome of White Priveledge, to ask one Black person to speak for ALL Black people--- that is about to happen, except this time it will be on a nation-wide level, with nation wide stakes.

I want to know... Is he ready? Are we ready? We need to "back him" like our nation depended on it, because THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT'S ABOUT TO HAPPEN!

~PW

Anonymous said...

I need to know if Obama really believes that black men are not good fathers. I still can't believe he said that a man not living with his kids is acting like a little boy! WTF! I have a black man calling me a boy? That's bull! I pay to take care of my kids and spend time with them when my ex-wife allows me to. He doesn't know how hard it is and how much power the woman has over the relationship. If a woman poisons your kids against you, you can't even get them to want to see you. I'm really mad at Barack right now.

the thelosopher said...

I feel you, but if you are doing what you can and are supposed to, he was not referring to you. The ones that are deadbeats know who they are. Keep doing the right thing, my brother.

Miranda said...

Well just by looking at the previous comments - could you possibly find out what goes into combating the illiteracy of the general voting public? I find it fascinating when people take soundbites and clips, and the opinion of other commentators and then form their own personal opinion based on that as opposed to reading or listening to the full text of speeches and press conferences by the candidate. I really do find that to be an amazing thing.

Captain Photo said...

It really rubs me the wrong way to see our people giving Mr Obama such a hard time. Not only does he have to battle the racism of white America, but black America also. Can't we see that if he is not elected, he will help no one! My fellow Black Americans, please lets get the man in office so that he may have a chance to help us to a better life in this racist country in which we live.
It hurts me knowing that the only requirement we have of white politicians is that they either be democrat of republican. Please lets be smart about this. Lets stop being so critical of Mr Obama and work diligently to get him elected. Then we may put in our requests for help. We must understand the difficult task he faces trying to deal with the racism of white America. This reminds me of a major flaw of black Americans - we hate ourselves. We must realize that white America will never respect us because we do not respect ourselves. Put yourselves in his position. You would not only have to fight white racism, because white Americans do not want a black man to lead the country, but you would also have to fight the racism of your black brothers and sisters. We have to be sensitive to his struggle. Lets stop criticizing him and work together to help him win this election. Rest assured my brothers and sisters, he will help no one if we defeat him in this election. Then there we will be, going thru the same old racist BS that we have endured all along. Lets stop the hatred and unite for a common cause. Lets stop looking out for our individual "wants" and focus on our collective "needs".

Anonymous said...

If Obama keeps selling out the black community in order to get votes from white people, he is not going to get my vote. With each passing day, he is looking a little bit more like Hillary Clinton.

Captain Photo said...

There is one thing that Black Americans must understand. Mr Obama is running for president of the United States of America. He will never be able to turn things around for black Americans totally. It would be illogical, insensitive, and just downright foolish for us to think that he will be able to ignore the rest of the United States to focus solely on the problems of black Americans. This is the real world. Not some fantasy. We will have to accept what we can get and move on! If white Americans were to feel that he was going to ignore them, he would not stand a change of getting elected. But rest assured. He will be better for us than what we have had in the past. Get over it! Lets take what we can get and move on. It will be better than the past but no way perfect for us. What has gone on for 400 years will not be "TOTALLY" chanced in four or even eight years. Lets understand this so that we will not be disappointed by the inevitable REALITY.

Kweli said...

On Obama, it (his nomination and possible election)is one of the four or five most significant events in our history, yet we must prepare people for disappointment in terms of what Obama's possible election means in terms of poor people, of all colors. Obama needs a huge mass movement to accompany him to the White House and to his credit , he seems to know this. Without a huge mandate of people really practicing participatory democracy by being present in their own communities, Obama has no grassroots power. Without grassroots power and the threat of voting people out of office who are not really helping the people, he has to play ball with the same power brokers with corporate , military and natural resource priorities. We must not forget that President of the United States is a job with specific job requirements, none of which really entail taking care of the poor, homeless or needy.

Anonymous said...

November, despite the hellish campaign and racist that it will make Barack Obama, the Democrats will return to the White House in Washington, and as Latinos, we are hopeful about it.

Barack Obama, the first African American to govern the most powerful nation on Earth. For the Democrat senator from Chicago, despite campaigns to make their triumph difficult. But everything seems clear: American society has been jaded by the Republicans and their string of attacks and promises that have led to 40 million of them to poverty, particularly of Latin origin, and 50 million have no health insurance, to rising unemployment, while not abide by any international rules, has devalued the dollar and invest billions of dollars in wars of aggression, while the deficit in its trade balance of payments and deepens every day, turning the country into a giant feet of clay.

Great speaker, intellectual, updated Barack Obama, is part of the tradition of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Kennedy and Clinton, plus another "culture" of fighters for civil rights and gender equality (the Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and share). And remember that Clinton was defined by the Nobel Prize in Literature, the brunette Tony Morrison, as "the first black U.S. president."

The U.S. wants to change people; does not want more of the same, although lobbyists, the religious right, racists and the military-industrial complex-using the ration of boa Budget, will do everything that everything in their power to stop his triumphant career, but it seems that the Kenyan-American has things clear and tools to clear the way for clouds.

Only then explained that his campaign has attracted more money than any other Democrat candidate throughout American history, strong clans that have endorsed their support behind and having to Hollywood!. The U.S. does not want people "more of the same", nor the same promises of Republicans and only one fatal accident could prevent Barack Obama is president of the United States. So, as we hear!

Barack Obama wins in all states and populist multiracial keys where unemployment, the high price of gasoline resulting from the madness of Iraq and threats from Israel against Iran, and the real estate crisis, have impoverished the middle class and workers , From California to Seattle, from Boston, Chicago and New York.

Miranda said...

Please ask about education and prison reform...people keep asking about the "black issues"..and if those two aren't "black" enough, I don't know what is. What are Obama's plans with regard to the non-funded, test driven only, No Child Left Behind Act? What can the federal government do to reduce prison recidivism? How is the prison industrial complex being guarded? Its the equivalent of modern day slavery and needs to be addressed. How can it be addressed on a federal level that ex-cons regain their right to vote? It makes no sense for their to be a lifetime penalty for individuals that have completed their sentences.

ambrojah said...

My major concern right now is Obama's relationship with Hillary. I seems to me that she is holding her support and supporters over his head in exchange for his help in erasing her campaign debts. If this is true, and I sincerely hope I'm wrong, it is a sign of weakness on his part. Please find me wrong. I know in this game he will have to do things that he normally would not do but I would be disappointed if my feelings on this matter prove accurate. Please find out what gives between these two when you start your coverage.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Boyce the thing that bothers me the most is the in the media they think it's funny to confuse Obama and Osama. This morning on the Today's show Matt Lauer did it. I'm very disappointed by this,weather you agree with Obama or not they should not be able to make comments like this about any of candidates!

Anonymous said...

God as already proved to Obama that He will fight all of his battles (opponents). Obama must believe that only God has brought him this far. I am disappointed that Obama felt the need to help Hillary pay her campaign debt, after all the unethical tactics she used against him. How can he trust Hillary? She hasn't helped him and she will never have his best interest at heart! God has already pre-ordained that he will be the next President of the USA. Obama needs to read the story about Sampson. I would appreciate an explanation from Obama as to why he would so generously help his enemy but disown Rev. Wright. It makes me feel he chose Hillary & her lies over Rev. Wright and the truth. I guess he dosen't need my little donation, if he can afford to help Hillary! May God Continue to Bless Obama and his family!

Anonymous said...

I wish that black people would be more supportive of Obama and give him a chance to get into office and make a difference. He is going to be the president of the United States not just the President of Black People. He has to be fair and make the United States and the world a better place for everyone. I truly believe that he will "have our backs" when he gets into office but we have to be accountable and do our part to make a difference as well instead of expecting Barack to fix it all for us and be the representation for all of us. He represents black people whether he ever says it publically or not! He can't avoid being black. I am honored to see a black man make it this far in the election and hope that people unite to help him make it all the way.

Antonio from NYC said...

I'm a so-called African American and I happen to share the sentiments and opinion of Ralph Nader when he stated that Obama talks "White" to appease the White constituency. This has bothered me for some time. I watched Obama very closely sense the campaign began. Their are two situations that continue to stick out in my mind: the first situation occurred when a Mexican American female asked Obama about racism, specifically about racial profiling. He turned into Sammy Davis Jr. and tap danced around the entire question. The second situation that threw red flags was the fact that Obama would not go on Tavis Smiley's show. That was pure fear and a distancing away from our community.He didn't want to have to face those tough questions. Also, before the campaign Obama wrote about and talked about being proud of his father. However, after the campaign began he talked about being raised by his White mother and grandmother, making a distinct separation with his father. Press him about these points I outlined here. And for the record, I don't like politicians period!

Anonymous said...

Ask the Senator what is his plans for people whom have been hurt on the job, but yet can't get assistance but yet can't get a job because no one will hire them because of their ailment.

This country seems to want people both ways. If you tell a prospective employer that you have physical limitations, you're ignored for the job. But at the same time if we don't disclose it and miraculously get hired and they find out later, they can fire you for lying. We're damned if we do and damned if we don't.

In the meantime, what are we supposed to do in the way of survival? We need to work. We've been deemed 'not sick' enough by the states guidelines that distributes aid (i.e. Disability and Social Services). What are we going to do? There should be a safety net for us.

Anonymous said...

Dr Boyce, I say this as a former CNN and CBS executive. I consider you to be potentially the most compelling figure of the 21st century, on the level of Dr. King. However, your perspective must be broadened to ensure that you don't allow your focus on the black community to keep you from focusing on the global community. Many of the issues faced by people of color are being faced around the world. Taking these issues away from "the hood" and to a global audience is how brilliant men like yourself win the Nobel Prize.

Obama should listen to you and your views. But so should the globe. Keep this in mind as you participate in this historic event with BET.

Elrancho78 said...

What a wonderful comment at 3.05. I fully agree with the praise and if Dr Boyce does end up on the global stage I'm pretty sure he will never forget "the hood".

There's just one other thing I want to add is this: If you (Boyce) do find yourself elevated to dizzy heights as I hope you will, please always remember the importance of love. It's fundamental to your heritage and your very being.

Dr Boyce said...

El Rancho and to the person above you....I appreciate your kind words and are humbled by them. I also agree that love is what matters in life. Life truly is a journey of love and almost nothing else. When I look back on my life, I remember the "love moments" far more than I remember anything about professional success.

My work as a public scholar is driven by love and passion for what I feel is right. It's also driven by a passion to make the greatest use of my time on this planet. I truly believe that getting the most out of your intellect and capability is as much an emotional exercise as a logical one.

Bless you all and the comments you are leaving are awesome, interesting, provocative and powerful. I am flattered that you are taking your time to visit and share.

Hroader said...

This election has been a slam dunk since the Bush administration's hanging chads. The McCain campaign will realize the previous administrations incompetence and their support of profiting corporations and special interest will only drive the "herd" of American political opinion to tax relief and consumer tolerance... The democratic party knew their base wouldn't subject its front runner to controversal elimination.. Just like our countries "off-shore" relations and imports cannot cost the upscaling retailing or economy to profit those not obligated to American laws(off-shore basing), But having White house influence.. The latest Obama distaction has been about "Patriotism" After a now, president's CIA father has kept his son out of combat. A fact the Limbaughs and Hannity's will at one breath tell you "You don't have to go to combat (Bush) to lead the country into War", and with another breath tell their radio audiences Obama has no military experience like McCain, So how can he (Obama) protect the country? Can we see the hypocrisy? Can we futher let these kind of one-sided people influence political intellect on the politically bias and gullible? All the while the corporations and special interest go laughing to the off-shore banks.., Not obliated to any American law & soveriegnty... (But having White house influence)

LadyBlackProud said...

The more I keep hearing about the senator: not wearing the flag pin/wearing the flag pin, insistent upon getting us out of the Iraq war to getting out "carefully" within 16 months. I'm not a hater, but my doubts about Obama are growing with each incident that just does not add up to who he says he is, and wants to do as president of the U.S.
I got an opportunity to watch the full and controversial Rev. Wright sermon, instead of the repetitious clips that cable news reporters keep saying was so terrible. Rev. Wright was quoting what another minister wanted to say. I asked myself if Obama didn't say those words, played over and over again -- HIMSELF, why denounce a man who was a major role model in Obama's life for 20 years? Why does he not kick it with Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Colon Powell, Harry Bellefonte, or any Black men publicly? Maybe he does and I just don't see it via the media.
As for him helping Hillary with her campaign debts, this is not authorized by his donors - we folks who paid for his win - and could collectively use several millions of dollars in our communities (I guess you could call us "Democrats"). If, indeed, this "faith-based initiative" Obama is following after Bush is to serve and benefit poor folks via churches, so be it. But still...
I love, respect, honor, and support consistent men, whose "word is bond"! A man who talks the talk, and walks the walk is my kind of leader. I'm no longer impressed with Senator Obama and I am really turned off by the Democratic party. I need every dime of my monthly Social Security Disability benefits - and I'll be damned if any of it goes to a loser (Hillary)(like I could really do something to stop it:). I wonder if I asked him, would he put some money on my brother's books, who is serving life in prison under the 3 strikes law, for a traffic violation!? That's a good question for the BET interview - how many brothers in prison would he lend his financial support?
Those of us who aren't feeling Obama can trust our gut, and most of us probably learned from the wisdom of our Spiritual ancestors. We are not stupid and our votes count. He just ain't trustworthy - and that's real talk...

LadyBlackProud said...

I wish I could have the optimism you have, and I admire your sincere support. However, others (like me) do not see what you see, or hear what you do. Being positive, hopeful, proud, and all that you express are the feelings I had as I cried & called almost every friend I had the day Obama became the "presumptive" nominee for president. The way I felt that day is probably how the slaves felt when they thought they were really free; I will never forget it. It would have put smiles on my parents'(both deceased) faces at this overwhelming and historical event.
My father was a professor of Political Science, Black History, U.S. Government; he didn't do bad having been raised in Mississippi, during the Jim Crow era. Somewhere my parents instilled in me not to believe everything someone says until and unless they can prove it to be true.
I can commit to keeping a close watch on the Senator's actions, and open my mind a little. But one more questionable incident, and I'm keeping my position on his untrustworthiness. Thanks for your comment.

philena said...

Do you feel that Barack needs to read more of TIM WISE work, even read a book or two, so he can connect better with this "white-side"? I'm not bi-racial, but I always wondered if he might be torn in the middle psychologically when it comes to the white supremacy overprivileged complex vs the minority underprivileged complex. ("My mother was ashamed/embarrassed to use food stamps." Obama's father's day comment)

Dr. Boyce> 4) If Barack Obama is not comfortable going into a group of white males and being honest about their weaknesses, then it is not acceptable for him to do that to black men. Being bi-racial, Obama has just as much moral authority to speak on the negative choices of white males as he does for black males.

In this article National LIES

Tim explains exactly what you're saying, but I wonder if being half-white is what made him push away from Wright for the same reasons that white america can't accept the truth, so Obama can't except it either. Or what previous commenters said about the father's day issue. Could it be more than a (political sidestep)? As Tim said, most of white america is just as brainwashed with their superior complexes as black america inferior ones. They don't even realize what they are fighting against. Do we just say, "Oh, Obama just trying to plz everyone, and he's gonna say whatever to get elected" or is he truly torn in the middle in this subconscious battle of lies?

Tim Wise> "So white folks are mad at Jeremiah Wright because he challenges their views about their country. Meanwhile, those same white folks, and their ministers and priests, every week put forth a false image of the God Jeremiah Wright serves, and yet it is whites who feel we have the right to be offended.

And oh yes, I said it: white preachers lie. In fact, they lie with a skill, fluidity, and precision unparalleled in the history of either preaching or lying, both of which histories stretch back a ways and have often overlapped. They lie every Sunday, as they talk about a Savior they have chosen to represent dishonestly as a white man, in every picture to be found of him in their tabernacles, every children's story book in their Sunday Schools, every Christmas card they'll send to relatives and friends this December. But to lie about Jesus, about the one they consider God--to bear false witness as to who this man was and what he looked like--is no cause for concern.

Pardon me, but something is wrong here, and whatever it is, is not to be found at Trinity United Church of Christ."


Dr. Boyce> Here is the issue: I do not feel that Barack would go into any other venue and paint any other group with a blanket indictment. He would not say "too many Jews support killing Palestinians", or "too many Catholic Priests are molesting little children". So, I am not sure why it is ok to say that "too many black men are ignoring their responsibilities and not being fathers". While all three of these stereotypes may have some element of truth to them and one could claim you are "helping" the group by criticizing their collective behavior, it seems that "truth in stereotyping" is only acceptable when dealing with black folks.
>
> I am not in the business of abandoning those who've remained loyal to me for 20 years straight, that's not how I was raised. That's also why I'll never be a successful politician.

That's the issue I think we need to address about Obama. While many America's, (well I believe a low percentage), believes that Obama should not claim himself as a black man. (I know I had this argument before in another forum) or about how Obama didn't have enough of a black advisory in his political camp directing him for the proper approach on how to handle Wright. But most black people who parents are both black, or primarily raised in a black home would have stuck by Wright like you, and immediately debunk the news for the sound bits.

I dunno, I'm just thinking too hard to get it all out, but... I really think being a bi-racial candidate running for president is harder on the subconscious than being the 1st black president. I say he will be the 1st president caught in the middle, and we have to be careful on how we label him. He may not be able to handle the anxiety of whites (Tim Wise Video on YouTube) and the oppression of blacks at the same damn time within himself. Again speaking on the subconscious level of course.

Rudy said...

Dr. Watkins, please give me your perspective on Senator Obama's so-called move "to the center".

Personally, Obama didn't move to the center, he has ALWAYS been in the center. How can he attract so many Independent and Conservative support and people of all races and backgrounds if he wasn't.

I still trust him and he still has my vote and financial support. I hope that we don't allow our self-rightness indignation over Obama's recent decisions cause us to screw ourselves and the rest of this country over by staying at home or voting for McCain.

LadyBlackProud said...

My first comment had an error; I wanted to know Obama's position on Israel's domination of the Palestinian people. This is such a "don't go there" issue. I'd like to know.

Djphoenix said...

I have been a fervent supporter of Barack Obama throughout, and I still support him. I feel, however, that I have questions and concerns. I am not one to listen to the spin doctors. I follow most broadcast coverage. I also read books, the blogs and news reports daily, as well as view raw footage when possible, in order to form my own opinions. I am not exactly sure where these feelings have come from, although Barack's recent speech about African American fathers did not help. I thought it was opportunistic and unfair. In my opinion it showed a lack of respect for the African American community. While I was raised by my father and mother, and my husband is a good father, I realize that there are many men in our community who are not taking up their responsibilities. That said, didn't Barack already give this speech to Black men once this year? I would have preferred if he had chosen his first day at his new church to sit down and shut his mouth, and not use the pull-pit as his political stage. He already left one church in political shambles, why invite the media into his new place of worship to invade their private worship space as well? He should have left cameras at the door and told them to honor the church's sanctuary. Since he did decide to give a speech, I would have preferred that he honored the many African American men (particularly in church) who are taking up their responsibilities and are raising their children. This would have accomplished the same goal of prodding Black men into action, but would have left a more complete and holistic view of our community, nationally and internationally. Instead, he chose to pander to a white, conservative base by pulling the "African American Culture as Deficient" card, and to broadcast a message about the "so called" pathology of Black men all around the world. Since he is the post-racial presidential candidate of all America, I would have expected him to address all men who do not raise their children -- not just African American men -- and in a more neutral space. I have a white, Irish Catholic girl-friend who is a professional women with three children, all by different white fathers, none of whom are raising their children. She asks why Barack let her children's fathers off the hook. Her claim is that white men always get away with their stuff and was disapointed when Barack did not address all men. Just like his analysis of Affirmative Action, when he proudly states, "My daughters don't need it, " the same is true about African American fathers, they all don't need this speech -- and over and over again. It conveniently leaves out, or neglects those men in our community who do handle their business. How many times do they have to be racial-profiled in this way and beaten over the head eventhough they are doing a good job? When Barack mis-caracterized the white, blue-collar community in Pensylvania by calling their belief in God a result of bitterness,they noted their anger and/or disagreement. I feel that the African American community should do the same. No one, despite their color or cultural - credibility credentials should be exempt from being challenged on issues and matters where we have disagreement. I disagree that we should hold onto our concerns in order to get this black man elected. We should hold his feet to the fire and let him know that we mean business just like any other group of his constituents. There are too many African American politicians already who have not delivered. While I hold no racial or cultural bias against Barack, I am also cognizant of the fact that his experience as an African American did not truly start until he was in his mid-twenties (and for you haters -- that is not to say that he is not black enough -- but acknowledges some possible differences in how we view struggle and politics). I am sure Michelle provides critical insight, however, we may also have to help Barck to understand some deeper issues about who we are, when ever he appears to forget, or not to clearly understand.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say a few things. I have a very positive, loving relationship with my Father. He raised me from a boy to a Man. When he and my mother separated and decided to divorce, he took responsibility for raising me. I moved out with him at five years of age and he was and still is the most positive influence in my life. (Outside of my Wife) We talked about Obama yesterday, as we talk about most issues relevant to the future of the Black community and America as a whole at least once or twice a week. We reminded one another that we (meaning Black Folk) must not fall victim to the trap that many of us succumb to when it comes to our leaders (political or otherwise) and heroes. We are often either too critical or not critical enough and I humbly admit that I was the former when it came to Obama until very recently. I will be the first to admit that when Obama first started his campaign approximately two years ago, I was skeptical and unimpressed. Don't get me wrong, I viewed him as a very articulate, intelligent individual with massive amounts of potential, but I felt he was overly ambitious and self-confident, with no relevant political experience to draw on. (Picture that.) I mean, at the time, I was thinking, he hadn't even been in the senate for two years and he's already running for President? Of course, over the course of time and the campaign, my views and opinions have changed and evolved as I have gotten a better view of who he is and how he stands on relevant issues. He is by no means perfect, but I do believe he is sincere in his desire to change America for the better and I believe he is better suited to do this than Senator John McCain is. I recognize the fact that Obama is intelligent and genuine and I believe he will, as most effective leaders do, surround himself with a competent staff and cabinet members that will advise him and make recommendations to help shape a more positive future for America and the rest of the world.

We must be cognizant of the fact that in order to have a chance, Barack Obama cannot just concentrate on issues that are relevant to us. We must understand that despite his charisma and mixed lineage he still frightens many whites just due to the fact that he is Black and for some, because his name sounds like Osama. (Actually heard a fool say this on NPR) If he alienates any of them just to appease the grass-root efforts of the Black community or the impoverished and downtrodden he will fail and fail miserly. He is walking a tightrope that many of us will not and cannot understand. Every time he opens his mouth someone is moving to criticize him even before the sentence is completed. He is America’s (not just ours0 best and only hope (at this juncture) to make an unprecedented change that could have monumental results for the Black community for many years to come, so if you are supporting him then do so. If you aren’t, that fine too, because as Americans we are entitled to our own opinions, but if you support him and you are Black, don’t be overly critical just because you feel he “ain’t down” for what is important to you. Just ride the train and enjoy the ride, because the experience will be positive regardless of the outcome.

Anonymous said...

WHY IN THE WORLD IS THERE SUCH A BIG ISSUE ABOUT BET HOLDING A FORUM ABOUT BARRACK. AS A COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE WE HAVE NEVER HELD A FORUM ABOUT IN OTHER PRESIDENITAL CANDIDATE. BUT KNOW THAT ONE OF OUR OWN IS RUNNING, WE HAVE TO RAKE HIM OVER. BET NEEDS TO HOLD A FORUM ABOUT WHY THEY HAVE THE MOST DESTRUCTIVE IMAGES ON THIER NETWORK THAT ARE CHILDREN CAN POSSIBLY SEE, AND HOW THEY CONTRIBUTE TO THESE DEADBEAT DADS THAT BARRACK TALKED ABOUT ON FATHER'S DAY. GIVE ME A BREAK, I FOR ONE WILL NOT BE WATHCING THE NONSENSE.

mnstr4jc said...

I would like to ask all of those that are having a problem with Sen. Obama's supposed shifts to ask themselves one honest question: Do you really believe that John McCain will be a better choice for the issues that you believe in than Barack Obama? The media and (ex)supporters of Sen. Obama said that he was flip-flopping (I so hate that word) about his policy on the withdrawal from Iraq. The only thing that I heard him say was that when he visits Iraq, he may have to refine his position on the pullout. Does anyone other than me think that, in order to be an effective leader, you MUST be flexible. We have almost six years of an inflexible, "stay the course" president and want to replace him with another one who wants the same "victory?" Are you kidding me?

In my opinion, if a person does not change as situations change, they are at least borderline insane. We are telling these people that no matter what happens, when you make a statement, you have got to keep it that way! I have seen the media holding Sen. Obama to a different standard than they have John McCain. Now, his people do it! Barack Obama could not have gotten this far if many of his views weren't centerist. If the public would have taken time to listen before now and not get caught up in the "Yes We Can" hype, they would have seen it. I for one don't mind.

I said all of that to say this: Dr. Watkins would you ask Sen. Obama about how he will deal with our multi-trillion dollar debt and the weakened dollar. Also, since the Bush administration will be leaving our country almost in financial ruin, how long does he think that it will really take for the U.S. to come back to fiscal solvency?

Keep up the good work Dr. Watkins. Just remember that President Obama has to be a president for ALL Americans (even the ones that hate him) and not just African Americans.

Anonymous said...

To the person who commented right before me: That is how Obama is playing us. He knows that we don't have any other choices but to vote for him. That is why he is selling us out. I am not going to vote for someone just because they are black. His flipping around is not acceptable and he needs to stop taking us for granted.

Elrancho78 said...

I think anonymous at 12.10 is being a little unfair. Look at the system he has to play along with. Look at how the far right wants to trip him up on his every word. Please give him a chance and try to imagine the pressure he is facing. In my heart I believe he is a good man and I don't think he will betray you.

raumanticz said...

Why is Obama flip flopping? I want him to stand like a rock not act like a slippery fish. America needs a President with integrity not a manipulator. I wonder how he's going to duck about Iran's latest nuclear tests?

There are far too many questions and not sufficient firm policy coming out of Obama's mouth.
Stop playing Obama and allow people and the world to trust you.

draeician said...

To change your mind is not to "flip flop". It is the view of a wise man to have the flexibility to see your opinion, question it, and be able to change it when it should be changed. And I do not believe Obama is catering to black, white, or any other ethnic background. He is speaking to the americans that are before him at the time. He has been speaking his mind, and stating it clearly.

And as to the questions coming out of Obama's mouth, the same goes for every candidate and politician currently elected. I am new to blogging, but would like to have a private conversation in chat or another forum with Dr Boyce or anyone with an open mind that wishes to have a conversation. I will be learning how to use the blogging interface, but would welcome any suggestions.

Elrancho78 said...

Draeician, I agree with you about changing one's mind. I don't know why politicians are expected to be rigid and stick to the same opinion for their entire political life? Life isn't rigid - circumstances and situations change. Flexibility is a virtue as far as I'm concerned.

I'm fairly new to blogging too and only started when I discovered Dr Boyce. One thing I've found is that I can get deeply upset by all the hate and ignorance that surfaces (predominantly from white Americans - especially on YouTube)- so much so that I sometimes wonder how good this is for my health! But I won't stop. I cannot sit by and say nothing. This election is really showing up how far America has to go before it in any way resembles Dr King's 'dream'. I believe that everyone with a conscience should make a stand in every aspect of their lives, not just blogging.

philena said...

Well, welcome all the newcomers to the Web 2.0 world. I'm sure you're get use to blogoshere.. and hey.. Video 2.0 is coming so you ain't seen nothin yet!!

Anyway, I have no problem with Obama's changing his views on certain things. But I do have a problem with his view of the world. It's not quite that equal yet. That's something many will not address, not even white ppl. (You see they have to hide behind a computer to say what's really on their minds *youtube comments.. we know*)

And black ppl were fightin among each other about Obama running because they feared for his life? Well, let's just say that the prejudice behind a computer is a good thing.. because they don't have the balls.

Kala Nation said...

This anonymous guy is obviously a White guy trying to fool gullible negros because he know Obama will win.So you racist prick only coons hate Obama.He was telling the truth there are some trifling brothers and to many need to stop feeling comfortable in their irresponsibility .Tough love is all Obama was giving.

Kelli said...

This bernie mack issue is just to much bernie is a comedian and obama and his camp got mad about his jokes, now thats a little much no one got mad when hillary was on SNL and when the white girl i forgot her name kept saying b-tch is the new black yaw but no one got mad about that,hillary was loving the little racial jokes i didnt hear one negative comment when she said b-tch is the new black but yet they want to come down hard on bernie.

Anonymous said...

I am not an American and i cannot vote for Obama. But vote for him, so the rest of the WORLD can have a brake. Seriously. Your vote is that important.

divaslm said...

America has a good, bad and ugly side to its existence. Obama fans, get ready, for more of it will come before Nov-08, I can assure you of that.

divaslm said...

Look Obama asked to be president of America or as Rev. Wright puts it Amerikkka. It is not without its scars and sores. He has to show the 18 million voters who supported Clinton that he is capable of leading. He has to show those who will vote for McCain he is capable of leading. This is a hard task regardless. Being president is not going to be any easier. As they say in the Prince of Egypt, Obama is playing with the BIG BOYS NOW.

Rasheed Ali & Rain People said...

I can't help but be saddened by the political immaturity of my people. For hundreds of years we never scrutinized what white politicians were saying but now we hang on Obama's every word while seeking out every hint of a "slight to our people". Surely he is angling for the supposed votes in Middle-America but the truth is that Black middle-Americans are as conservative (or more so) as whites. As a Black man and a Muslim I have heard many a supposedly politically evolved Black person embrace an ideology that resembles the most right-wing white concerning immigration and religion and war. So, is he just angling for white votes? The black Christian right voted for GW Bush in the Bible-belt for two elections in a row. Let's get real Black folks! I think it's funny that the people most likely to complain about his fatherhood comments are those who are not "on-the-job Dads". I have two sons in college and a Black woman for a wife(like Barack), when he points fingers I say: "Uh-Huh, Tell it!" 'Cause I know he aint pointin' at me! He's pointin' at y'all! If that yall can't handle the truth; so be it. How many of our people called Bill Clinton the "Black President"? Did any of them scrutinize what he did against civil liberties? He changed laws of Habeus Corpus that gave the police unlimited powers but yall missed that one, huh? Surely we have the power to protest and disagree because we are not monolithic people but for hundreds of years we've voted for white men and now we're afraid to become the greatest political voting block that we could be. Ah! Crabs in a barrel. White man could always count on us to hold each other back.

Anonymous said...

I find it curious that you want to "speak for all of us". How is such a thing even possible? That seems a bit ambitious to me.

Big Earl said...

I don't think he is trying to speak for all of us. He is trying to hear from all of our viewpoints and make intelligent leadership choices.