Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why I respect Eric Holder

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

www.BoyceWatkins.com

Attorney General Eric Holder took heat this week for doing something that most Black elected officials are simply not willing to do: He told the truth about race. During a Black History Month speech, the Attorney General lost some major political points by stating that when it comes to discussing race in America, we have become “a nation of cowards”. I couldn’t have been prouder, for you have to be pretty damn brave to admit that we are as cowardly as we are.

I watched the words roll out of Holder’s mouth like steamy breath pouring out on a cold winter day. I simply couldn’t believe it. Eric Holder wasn’t just speaking about Black History, he was MAKING Black History. While everyone looks to the first Black President to deliver something other than Ebony magazine covers, I am also looking to see if the first Black Attorney General can deliver some real progress on a justice system that has mutilated Black families across the nation.

Sure, being the first Black Attorney General is a nice accomplishment, almost cute. I don’t use the word “cute” to demean the significance of Holder’s achievements, but far too many African Americans are focused on obtaining such accolades in America as long as they remember to never really use their prominence to make a difference. You are given the keys to the vault as long as you firmly agree to keep the keys out of the reach of the Black masses. You are not to mention race in any meaningful way, and if you do, you’ll get body slammed, even by the most liberal among us. Racism in America is deep, and the disease has the greatest impact on those who think they’ve been cured.

Don’t believe me? Just answer this question (I say this as someone who likes Barack Obama and voted for him): When was the last time you heard President Barack Obama even say the words “black man”, “black men”, or “black male” in any forum other than a Black event? Instead, you only hear him speaking for the middle class and gleefully indulging us with borderline ridiculous and hyper-redundant comparisons to Abraham Lincoln (who is given far too much credit for the ending of slavery). Were he to compare himself to Martin Luther King or even acknowledge the existence of Malcolm X, he would be crucified for it. President Obama is allowed to humiliate and chastise Black men in speeches about personal responsibility, but he would be severely punished if he were to give those same speeches to the masses of Americans who have squandered their wealth and helped to destroy our financial system (especially those on Wall Street). He speaks on Black men needing to take accountability in spite of urban Black male unemployment rates as high as 40%, while he uses policy support and massive spending to coddle a nation dealing with 7.4% unemployment. I say all this as a fan of Barack Obama, but I also say this as a man who believes that the hard work on racial equality must be done by those in power if we are to ever have a chance of fulfilling Dr. King’s dream. This does not imply that Barack Obama does not believe in racial equality. It is to say that he is likely being told that discussing the truth on race in America will get him into serious trouble. Even if you are not a coward yourself, you are forced into taking cowardly positions on honest racial dialogue when you realize that the punishment for such engagement is incredibly steep.

I know what Eric Holder was talking about in that speech. I know that the price for speaking honestly on race is high, for I pay it every day on my own campus (I will probably pay it for writing this article). Every day, I witness conversations being had around the dinner table that most Black people know they cannot have in public. Eric Holder, by virtue of his willingness to bring the dinner table conversations into the public eye, has now joined me in the group that has been labeled to be “bad angry Black men”.

Being labeled as the “Angry Black Man” can be sad and hurtful. It doesn’t matter how nice you are. I can be as friendly and personable as I want, but the truth of the matter is that if you speak openly about the mass incarceration of Black males, the horrific conditions of inner city schools or the massive unemployment rates of Black males across America, you are going to be attacked and discredited for it. I saw Lou Dobbs (CNN’s version of Bill O’Reilly) mention that he doesn’t feel that Holder is “passing the test” to be qualified as Attorney General, all because Holder made one strong statement about racial equality, one that Martin Luther King would agree with wholeheartedly. What is saddest about our nation is that we have a long history of crucifying those who’ve pushed hardest for our country to advance its racial dialogue. The response to such conversation is as predictable as a dog in front of a bowl of Puppy Chow.

I once recall mentioning the idea of having a prominent Black scholar come to my campus to speak on the social implications and questionable capitalist incentives of mass incarceration and stock ownership in the prison industry. This was a Finance topic, and I am a Finance professor. The idea was shot down immediately by another Black man who felt it would scare the people on campus. When I do CNN interviews on matters related to race, higher administrators on my campus celebrate interviews by other faculty while pretending that my interview never happened. Black scholarship is considered to be “ghetto scholarship”, because those evaluating the quality of such work are typically those who understand or appreciate it the least. The issue of race is demeaned to being a footnote of worthless banter by those who need to learn to keep their mouths shut.

Where Eric Holder and I differ is that he is far more courageous than me. He has decided that he can both be the Attorney General of the United States and speak honestly on behalf of African Americans. I gave up on being a campus Dean, President or high ranking government official a long time ago, since I enjoy the freedom of speech that comes with academic marginalization. I run my own business so that no one can control me financially and pull the suffocating purse strings that cause the rest of us to keep the truth in our pockets. The funniest part of it all is that every piece of historical evidence says that we are simply engaging in the same denial as the previous generation. When I was approached about joining the Obama Administration, I immediately said no – I love Barack to death, but I am not interested in being controlled by lies and pandering. I am not sure what Eric Holder was trying to do with his statement, but I am incredibly proud of him and I hope his statement is a signal regarding how he will conduct business as The United States Attorney General. Our country should be absolutely ashamed of the way it has dismissed Black men in the prison system, giving them longer sentences for the same crimes, disenfranchising them from the rest of the world and using the criminal justice system as a path to modern day slavery. If only we could get liberal groups to be as passionate over this injustice as they are about saving the environment. Perhaps then, meaningful and mutually respectful multi-racial coalitions can exist.

Eric Holder, you have my respect. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to feel that way. Yes, you are right, we are a nation of cowards, and until we gain the courage to have honest conversations, we are always going to be plagued by race. Dreams (like that of Dr. King) are created while we are sleeping. But these dreams are fulfilled when our eyes are wide open and we are wide awake. Wake up America…..it’s time to be honest.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?” He makes regular appearances in national media, including CNN, ESPN, BET and CBS. For more information, please visit www.BoyceWatkins.com.

26 comments:

Whitey McWhite said...

Whatta u mean we don't talk about race? Blacks have been whining ever since we first brought them over here!

The Man said...

AMEN!

Anonymous said...

"When I was approached about joining the Obama Administration, I immediately said no – I love Barack to death, but I am not interested in being controlled by lies and pandering."

Yeah right! Quit bullshitting folk.

Anonymous said...

Very powerful piece. Bless Eric Holder for being strong. Dr B, I can't wait to see the white folks come after you for this one, but brothers need to stand together to fight this kind of hatred. They've been doing it for 400 years.

What about Morris Brown??? said...

Yall PLEASE don't forgwt about Morris Brown.

Anonymous said...

"I run my own business so that no one can control me financially and pull the suffocating purse strings that cause the rest of us to keep the truth in our pockets."

One of the points Dr King made was that considered by itself, the black section of the American economy was one of the world's largest.

There are at least two ethnic groups in America that pursue a inward-looking finance policy. They get kicked for it, but they're successful. And if you're going to get kicked anyway, why not pursue that course deliberately and with organization?

Anonymous said...

I wish that they would fire you at your university for constantly criticizing them. You have no loyalty. You are an opportunist. Actually, if you were a white man, you would have already been fired for you constant self-promotion, and incessant demeaning of the institution that employs you. You are pathetic.

If you care so much about black education, why not transfer to a historically black school? You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Dr. Boyce. The person above me is right...you are just an ungrateful negro. People like you, Malcolm and Martin should just shut the hell up and allow racism to continue. Don't speak up, let dumb ass bigots like this guy tell you what to do.

Seriously, keep it going. We need people like you.

Jerry Patterson said...

As a white American who grew up in one of America's most divided communities, Milwaukee, WI, and who has crossed paths and developed deep friendships with many black Americans over my lifetime, I could not agree more. While the journey of racial harmony and equality was definately furthered in the recent election, we still have a long, long way to go.

Anonymous said...

dr, boyce
You and obama are the true racist cowards. You might as well spit on anything Dr. King stood for. Judge by the content of character not the color of the skin indeed. Clean up your own house before you try to start judging mine. What a bunch of racist punks.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding? Eric Holder is the coward. He caved to the Clinton administration on the Marc Rich pardon and like Mr. Obama, hasn't taken a position on much of anything.
As a middle aged white business woman, I have many colleagues and clients who are black. I count a significant number of these individuals as my friends.
Don't you get that this is not a race thing? Stop perpetuating stereotypes on the backs of the people. (Notice that I did not say black people...your own prejudice applies to all).
Here's a clue...we're all (and I don't mean just white folks)pretty tired of the whining. There are advantages that have been offered for many years in education, workplace advancement, etc. that have not had the effect that was intended.
Some blacks continue to exploit their people to advance their own agenda (and line their pockets).
Time to get real. The real hate is in the lower socioeconomic levels on both sides. Until these people pick themselves up and get an education and make something of themselves, they'll continue to direct their hate and dissatisfaction at anyone whom they perceive to have more than they do.
This president and Mr. Holder seem too cowardly to call them out and challenge them to make a difference in their own lives.

Whitey McWhite said...

Come on Uncle Boyce. Yall negros don't want to talk about race. You just want to lecture whitey about how he doing yall wrong.


P.S. Your boy dyson got his ass handed to him by Mr. Pat Buchanan:

http://buchanan.org/blog/

Anonymous said...

Yes, Holder, we've noticed there are African Americans, and then there are just Americans.

You say whites commit violence against you. So why are your squalid ghettos -- once lovely urban neighborhoods before the arrival of your feral street predators and crack houses -- the most dangerous places to live?

You have your United Negro College Fund.
You have your Martin Luther King Day.
You have your Black History Month.
You have your NAACP.
You have your BET...

If we had WET (White Entertainment Television), we'd be racists.
If we had White Pride Day, you would call us racists.
If we had White History Month, we'd be racists.
If we had any organization for whites-only, to 'advance' OUR lives, we'd be racists.

You have your Black Chamber of Commerce. Then there's just the plain Chamber of Commerce. Wonder who pays for that?

A white woman could not be in the Miss Black America pageant, but any color can be in the Miss America pageant.

If we had a college fund that only gave white students scholarships ...you know we'd be racists.

You always seem to be marching for your race and rights. If we marched for our race and rights, you would call us racists.

You claim you're proud to be black and never pass up an opportunity to announce it. But when we even suggest white pride, you call us racists.

You rob us, carjack us, and shoot us. But when a white police officer shoots a black gang member or beats up a black drug dealer running from the law and posing a threat to society, you call him a racist.

Holder, why is it that in your race-obsessed mind only whites can be racists? Are you really that desperate for somebody to blame for your pathologies?

You are an "angry black man" and you need to wake up!

karen said...

Dr. Boyce...You are yet another refreshing vocal proponent--and we need as many as we can get--for the long-overdue acknowledgement, empowerment, appreciation of the economic/cultural/social and spiritual relevance of our people in the land and landscape that is America, in its historical and temporal context. I applaud and admire your voice. Additionally, I can think of other reasons why you might not want to join the current adnministrations: we need to keep prominently arrayed in the diaspora, sharp minds coupled with outspokeness, from those who are unafraid to speak out and "represent." WHEREVER we happen to find be--urban, rural, whether professors or students on college campuses, students in high school, seated in congress, in the state house, at the office, whether a supermarket checkout clerk or sanitation worker in the neighborood--rather than submit to a "brain drain," we must represent and maintain diffuse and vigilant force that is as unrelenting as the multiplicity of forces we have arrayed against us. We must be a vital force for changing and contiually disabusing people who WORK OVERTIME in all to try and hold us back, of the notion that this can continue to be done with impunity, unchallenged, ad infinitum simply because it has been so in the past; that we will not willingly and quietly go along. Regarding our new president, we must claim him as our own, just as his white constituents have ALREADY, de facto claimed him as their own--one of the myriad accoutrements of white privilege--tasked, as he is, with handling the prevailing fiscal crisis. Though he is an effective orator, with a mellifluous voice when he hits his stride (more suited during uninterrupted speeches), I do not define him only by his orations or his omissions in same alone,m but by his actions. Though the president may seem to "chastise" Black men about their responsibility to their children, he is only "preaching what he practices." If you'll notice, he tends to adopt a chastising tone toward the wrongdoing or malfeasance of the legions of others as well--e.g. his words on (02/24) directed to Wall Street CEOs who used taxpayers money to cover bonuses for themselves and their cronies. Having said that, no one can argue that he is not an attentive father, or that he has not failed to provide economic security and a nurturing environment for his wife and daughters. It goes without saying that he MUST, first and foremost attend to the macro economy. They have plundered and left a hot mess which a Black man has--for reasons (lol) I don't quite yet fully understand, gleefully undertaken to attempt to clean up, though at a higher level of administration with more labyrinthine political and bureaucratic considerations. He is, like many mayors of large urban areas--taking over the helm on the heels of many years of bad governance and irresponsibility (and looting of the national treasury) by some of the most economically powerful and roguish of white men--from Wall Street/Main Street inclusive of our recent president and vice president, Bush/Cheny, whose impact is not only far-reaching, but global. If he prevails, he will gain the respect, not only of his countrymen--of all hues--but around the world. In addition to claiming him as OUR own, we must give President Obama time--as though he's been in the spotlight with two high profile campaigns for several years--he's only been President for five weeks and also, given that he is a first, (in that he is the first "self-identified" Black president), he has no template to go by, except the one left by his irresponsible predecessors, which is of no use.
The mark of a good leader is to recognize that one cannot do it all oneself, to staff one's cabinet and surrounds oneself with intelligent and sometimes outspoken persons who can augment and effectuate one's vision and be surrogate "mouthpiece" where it would be unwise or political suicide to do so oneself. It's politics and it should not be lost on us that he is a lawyer first--a "mouthpiece" himself--with an analytical mind, but one who while recognizes the acquisition of a bully-pulpit, as it were for all manner of social evil, as president he must also tread cautiously with his statements these first few months, perhaps two years. (Mere words misspoken, or misconstrued, and dalliances with prostitutes can deep-six a political career faster than most other threats.) And I believe, if allowed, he is going to emerge as a leader of much more perspicacity than we have seen in a long, long time--for myriad reasons that I can't go into but which no doubt have been touched upon,dissected and discussed in blogs around the world and other media. This is his probationary period. He has shown good leadership and judgment in appointing an African American to be the chief law enforcement official of the land--one who is, right off the bat, unafraid to speak out about our resolute refusal to address the myriad destructive effects of co-existing in a thoroughly racialized and structurally racist society. While watching a recent broadcast CSPAN this summer an incredibly young-looking Black legislator from, I believe, South Carolina made a very poignant observation--that Barack Obama was not running for president of Black people. That said, I would add that he is not president of white people. He is president of the United States of America, "leader of the free world," by extension "the most power man in the world" as much as the many white males who have held the office before him have been and as such, he has a lot of political capital--and by extension so do we. Even Martin Luther King's leadership in the Civil Rights Movement was not dedicated only to Black people, but was intended to be inclusive of all who were oppressed, disenfranchised, and otherwise denied access as citizens of America. And ironcially the social and economic beneficiaries of many of the gains from that movement have been by non-Black persons, indeed waves of immigrant ethnic groups who were not even present in the American social landscape at that time. Keeping in mind the political capital we now have as Black people, in having President Obama being at the helm as chief executive officer of the American politcal process, with a spirit of cooperation we must now light a fire under him, to uphold and fulfill all the things that Dr. King, Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall, et al so fervently worked to keep in the forefront of our collective continuum foward, not just toward equality, but self-empowerment and which he himself proposed throughout his campaign and during his inaugural address upon taking the oath of office. This is his "probationary period," as president. Change--though because of our particular history it doesn't always happen for the better for the vast majority of our people--happens in leaps and bounds in America. And I believe, if allowed, once he hits his stride, President Obama is going to reveal the emotional maturity, perspicacity and leadership that we have not seen in the nation in a long,long time.

karen said...

Dr. Boyce...You are yet another refreshing vocal proponent--and we need as many as we can get--for the long-overdue acknowledgement, empowerment, appreciation of the economic/cultural/social and spiritual relevance of our people in the land and landscape that is America, in its historical and temporal context. I applaud and admire your voice. Additionally, I can think of other reasons why you might not want to join the current adnministrations: we need to keep prominently arrayed in the diaspora, sharp minds coupled with outspokeness, from those who are unafraid to speak out and "represent." WHEREVER we happen to find be--urban, rural, whether professors or students on college campuses, students in high school, seated in congress, in the state house, at the office, whether a supermarket checkout clerk or sanitation worker in the neighborood--rather than submit to a "brain drain," we must represent and maintain diffuse and vigilant force that is as unrelenting as the multiplicity of forces we have arrayed against us. We must be a vital force for changing and contiually disabusing people who WORK OVERTIME in all to try and hold us back, of the notion that this can continue to be done with impunity, unchallenged, ad infinitum simply because it has been so in the past; that we will not willingly and quietly go along. Regarding our new president, we must claim him as our own, just as his white constituents have ALREADY, de facto claimed him as their own--one of the myriad accoutrements of white privilege--tasked, as he is, with handling the prevailing fiscal crisis. Though he is an effective orator, with a mellifluous voice when he hits his stride (more suited during uninterrupted speeches), I do not define him only by his orations or his omissions in same alone,m but by his actions. Though the president may seem to "chastise" Black men about their responsibility to their children, he is only "preaching what he practices." If you'll notice, he tends to adopt a chastising tone toward the wrongdoing or malfeasance of the legions of others as well--e.g. his words on (02/24) directed to Wall Street CEOs who used taxpayers money to cover bonuses for themselves and their cronies. Having said that, no one can argue that he is not an attentive father, or that he has not failed to provide economic security and a nurturing environment for his wife and daughters. It goes without saying that he MUST, first and foremost attend to the macro economy. They have plundered and left a hot mess which a Black man has--for reasons (lol) I don't quite yet fully understand, gleefully undertaken to attempt to clean up, though at a higher level of administration with more labyrinthine political and bureaucratic considerations. He is, like many mayors of large urban areas--taking over the helm on the heels of many years of bad governance and irresponsibility (and looting of the national treasury) by some of the most economically powerful and roguish of white men--from Wall Street/Main Street inclusive of our recent president and vice president, Bush/Cheny, whose impact is not only far-reaching, but global. If he prevails, he will gain the respect, not only of his countrymen--of all hues--but around the world. In addition to claiming him as OUR own, we must give President Obama time--as though he's been in the spotlight with two high profile campaigns for several years--he's only been President for five weeks and also, given that he is a first, (in that he is the first "self-identified" Black president), he has no template to go by, except the one left by his irresponsible predecessors, which is of no use.
The mark of a good leader is to recognize that one cannot do it all oneself, to staff one's cabinet and surrounds oneself with intelligent and sometimes outspoken persons who can augment and effectuate one's vision and be surrogate "mouthpiece" where it would be unwise or political suicide to do so oneself. It's politics and it should not be lost on us that he is a lawyer first--a "mouthpiece" himself--with an analytical mind, but one who while recognizes the acquisition of a bully-pulpit, as it were for all manner of social evil, as president he must also tread cautiously with his statements these first few months, perhaps two years. (Mere words misspoken, or misconstrued, and dalliances with prostitutes can deep-six a political career faster than most other threats.) And I believe, if allowed, he is going to emerge as a leader of much more perspicacity than we have seen in a long, long time--for myriad reasons that I can't go into but which no doubt have been touched upon,dissected and discussed in blogs around the world and other media. This is his probationary period. He has shown good leadership and judgment in appointing an African American to be the chief law enforcement official of the land--one who is, right off the bat, unafraid to speak out about our resolute refusal to address the myriad destructive effects of co-existing in a thoroughly racialized and structurally racist society. While watching a recent broadcast CSPAN this summer an incredibly young-looking Black legislator from, I believe, South Carolina made a very poignant observation--that Barack Obama was not running for president of Black people. That said, I would add that he is not president of white people. He is president of the United States of America, "leader of the free world," by extension "the most power man in the world" as much as the many white males who have held the office before him have been and as such, he has a lot of political capital--and by extension so do we. Even Martin Luther King's leadership in the Civil Rights Movement was not dedicated only to Black people, but was intended to be inclusive of all who were oppressed, disenfranchised, and otherwise denied access as citizens of America. And ironcially the social and economic beneficiaries of many of the gains from that movement have been by non-Black persons, indeed waves of immigrant ethnic groups who were not even present in the American social landscape at that time. Keeping in mind the political capital we now have as Black people, in having President Obama being at the helm as chief executive officer of the American politcal process, with a spirit of cooperation we must now light a fire under him, to uphold and fulfill all the things that Dr. King, Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall, et al so fervently worked to keep in the forefront of our collective continuum foward, not just toward equality, but self-empowerment and which he himself proposed throughout his campaign and during his inaugural address upon taking the oath of office. This is his "probationary period," as president. Change--though because of our particular history it doesn't always happen for the better for the vast majority of our people--happens in leaps and bounds in America. And I believe, if allowed, once he hits his stride, President Obama is going to reveal the emotional maturity, perspicacity and leadership that we have not seen in the nation in a long,long time.

karen said...

Dr. Boyce...You are yet another refreshing vocal proponent--and we need as many as we can get--for the long-overdue acknowledgement, empowerment, appreciation of the economic/cultural/social and spiritual relevance of our people in the land and landscape that is America, in its historical and temporal context. I applaud and admire your voice. Additionally, I can think of other reasons why you might not want to join the current adnministrations: we need to keep prominently arrayed in the diaspora, sharp minds coupled with outspokeness, from those who are unafraid to speak out and "represent." WHEREVER we happen to find be--urban, rural, whether professors or students on college campuses, students in high school, seated in congress, in the state house, at the office, whether a supermarket checkout clerk or sanitation worker in the neighborood--rather than submit to a "brain drain," we must represent and maintain diffuse and vigilant force that is as unrelenting as the multiplicity of forces we have arrayed against us. We must be a vital force for changing and contiually disabusing people who WORK OVERTIME in all to try and hold us back, of the notion that this can continue to be done with impunity, unchallenged, ad infinitum simply because it has been so in the past; that we will not willingly and quietly go along. Regarding our new president, we must claim him as our own, just as his white constituents have ALREADY, de facto claimed him as their own--one of the myriad accoutrements of white privilege--tasked, as he is, with handling the prevailing fiscal crisis. Though he is an effective orator, with a mellifluous voice when he hits his stride (more suited during uninterrupted speeches), I do not define him only by his orations or his omissions in same alone,m but by his actions. Though the president may seem to "chastise" Black men about their responsibility to their children, he is only "preaching what he practices." If you'll notice, he tends to adopt a chastising tone toward the wrongdoing or malfeasance of the legions of others as well--e.g. his words on (02/24) directed to Wall Street CEOs who used taxpayers money to cover bonuses for themselves and their cronies. Having said that, no one can argue that he is not an attentive father, or that he has not failed to provide economic security and a nurturing environment for his wife and daughters. It goes without saying that he MUST, first and foremost attend to the macro economy. They have plundered and left a hot mess which a Black man has--for reasons (lol) I don't quite yet fully understand, gleefully undertaken to attempt to clean up, though at a higher level of administration with more labyrinthine political and bureaucratic considerations. He is, like many mayors of large urban areas--taking over the helm on the heels of many years of bad governance and irresponsibility (and looting of the national treasury) by some of the most economically powerful and roguish of white men--from Wall Street/Main Street inclusive of our recent president and vice president, Bush/Cheny, whose impact is not only far-reaching, but global. If he prevails, he will gain the respect, not only of his countrymen--of all hues--but around the world. In addition to claiming him as OUR own, we must give President Obama time--as though he's been in the spotlight with two high profile campaigns for several years--he's only been President for five weeks and also, given that he is a first, (in that he is the first "self-identified" Black president), he has no template to go by, except the one left by his irresponsible predecessors, which is of no use.
The mark of a good leader is to recognize that one cannot do it all oneself, to staff one's cabinet and surrounds oneself with intelligent and sometimes outspoken persons who can augment and effectuate one's vision and be surrogate "mouthpiece" where it would be unwise or political suicide to do so oneself. It's politics and it should not be lost on us that he is a lawyer first--a "mouthpiece" himself--with an analytical mind, but one who while recognizes the acquisition of a bully-pulpit, as it were for all manner of social evil, as president he must also tread cautiously with his statements these first few months, perhaps two years. (Mere words misspoken, or misconstrued, and dalliances with prostitutes can deep-six a political career faster than most other threats.) And I believe, if allowed, he is going to emerge as a leader of much more perspicacity than we have seen in a long, long time--for myriad reasons that I can't go into but which no doubt have been touched upon,dissected and discussed in blogs around the world and other media. This is his probationary period. He has shown good leadership and judgment in appointing an African American to be the chief law enforcement official of the land--one who is, right off the bat, unafraid to speak out about our resolute refusal to address the myriad destructive effects of co-existing in a thoroughly racialized and structurally racist society. While watching a recent broadcast CSPAN this summer an incredibly young-looking Black legislator from, I believe, South Carolina made a very poignant observation--that Barack Obama was not running for president of Black people. That said, I would add that he is not president of white people. He is president of the United States of America, "leader of the free world," by extension "the most power man in the world" as much as the many white males who have held the office before him have been and as such, he has a lot of political capital--and by extension so do we. Even Martin Luther King's leadership in the Civil Rights Movement was not dedicated only to Black people, but was intended to be inclusive of all who were oppressed, disenfranchised, and otherwise denied access as citizens of America. And ironcially the social and economic beneficiaries of many of the gains from that movement have been by non-Black persons, indeed waves of immigrant ethnic groups who were not even present in the American social landscape at that time. Keeping in mind the political capital we now have as Black people, in having President Obama being at the helm as chief executive officer of the American politcal process, with a spirit of cooperation we must now light a fire under him, to uphold and fulfill all the things that Dr. King, Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall, et al so fervently worked to keep in the forefront of our collective continuum foward, not just toward equality, but self-empowerment and which he himself proposed throughout his campaign and during his inaugural address upon taking the oath of office. This is his "probationary period," as president. Change--though because of our particular history it doesn't always happen for the better for the vast majority of our people--happens in leaps and bounds in America. And I believe, if allowed, once he hits his stride, President Obama is going to reveal the emotional maturity, perspicacity and leadership that we have not seen in the nation in a long,long time.

Anonymous said...

Bitch quit multiple posting and learn how to write in paragraph form.

Whitey McWhite said...

"We must be a vital force for changing and contiually disabusing people who WORK OVERTIME in all to try and hold us back..."

Lets see. Who is (1)making these bastard babies right and left (2)killing their own race in record numbers (3)turned all of our urban centers into dangerous jungles???


The only people holding nigros back are other nigros.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, Dr. Boyce. The person above me is right...you are just an ungrateful negro. People like you, Malcolm and Martin should just shut the hell up and allow racism to continue. Don't speak up, let dumb ass bigots like this guy tell you what to do.

Seriously, keep it going. We need people like you."

Please do not insult the memory of Malcolm and Martin by comparing Boyce Watkins to them. They were actually trying to obtain equal rights under the law. Watkins is an opportunist seeking to exploit black causes to gain wealth for himself.

Please answer this question: If his university is so corrupt, why doesn't he leave it? He constantly insults them but they let him stay anyway. Do you think that it is because he is such an advanced "scholar" that they would be hurting without him? Or do you think that it might be because they are scared to fire him because they would automatically be called racists no matter what the facts are. Tell me you do not think it is pathetic that he puts up requests on the internet for people to write a statement advocating the university give him tenure. How would common people know if he has had the teaching performance to gain tenure? Should he get tenure because he is somewhat famous, and people read his blog?

Furthermore, Watkins is a hypocrite. He is perfectly okay with calling someone like Juan Williams "the eternally happy negro," but expresses pseudo outrage at a New York Post article that had nothing to do with Barack Obama. He completely failed to mention the fact that police had shot a crazy chimp owned by a crazy lady in California they day before the cartoon came out, and that the New Post at least claimed this was the reason for the cartoon (which it was.) Why did he do this? It is because he is an opportunist.

Eventually, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Watkins and other "civil rights" leaders will be put out of business. America is growing weary of their constant need to attract attention to themselves for every issue.

Just food for thought: When is the last time you heard Boyce Watkins mention the name of Thomas Sowell, a black man very well recognized for his knowledge of economics? He doesn't because Sowell isn't a black man who believes that blacks should always play the victims of society. Also, Boyce Watkins knows that he is an intellectual pigmy compared to Sowell, and that Sowell would utterly destroy him in a debate. Sowell is a true scholar, not a fake one like Watkins.

Anonymous said...

Excellent commentary Dr. Boyce. Please keep fighting the fight for our people. The more attackers you have, the more impact your work is having. I used to do this kind of work in the 70s, and you would be surprised at what white people will say when they are angry, or even angry black people.

Your quote from Malcolm is right "If you have no critics, you will have no success". I agree with that completely.

Anonymous said...

I applaud Eric Holder for making the comments he did. We are all cowardly for not having an open discussion about race in this country and the cowardness comes from all sides. Conversations on race always seem to be painted as "liberal" or "conservative" and if a black person has a differing opinion than the majority on social and economic issues the first label given is one straight out of our racist past, "Uncle Tom." We need to stop being afraid to discuss race and pandering to specific groups and individuals. Even on this site Watkins loves to point to the fact that he is supported by Dr. Cornel West, Jesse Jackson and others. Be yourself, be an individual. If we continue to live in a country in which injustices and intolerances aren't openly discussed and admitted we will not move forward. But, as much as we point to in your face racism we can't ignore the veiled racism in this country which include the elite and their programs of coming in to poor communities and and taking pity on people instead of teaching HOW to bring yourself out of poverty. This does include, I'm sure to the dislike of Boyce Watkins, personal responbility.

RhondaCoca said...

Great post Dr. Watkins and I see you have a great deal of discontent and rather hateful posters here.

Anonymous said...

I agree, this is an excellent post. It should also be stated that Barack Obama being the first black president doesn't mean a whole lot for black people. The hatred that I see on this blog is a reminder of just how much we have to do when it comes to making races equal in our country.

Anonymous said...

When Bill Cosby states the truth, he gets a certain amount of flack for it.

When a White man states the truth that Bill Cosby stated, he is called a foul racist.

And phoney jackass Eric Holder says "we" (no guts to actually say White people but of course it is implied) are cowards when it comes to talking about race. How can we when we have this subtle but oppressive censorship from the Left ... guilty liberal Whites and whiney victimhood-for-profit Blacks? Let's keep it real, huh?

Anonymous said...

When Bill Cosby states the truth, he gets a certain amount of flack for it.

When a White man states the truth that Bill Cosby stated, he is called a foul racist.

And phoney jackass Eric Holder says "we" (no guts to actually say White people but of course it is implied) are cowards when it comes to talking about race. How can we when we have this subtle but oppressive censorship from the Left ... guilty liberal Whites and whiney victimhood-for-profit Blacks? Let's keep it real, huh?

Anonymous said...

When Bill Cosby states the truth, he gets a certain amount of flack for it.

When a White man states the truth that Bill Cosby stated, he is called a foul racist.

And phoney jackass Eric Holder says "we" (no guts to actually say White people but of course it is implied) are cowards when it comes to talking about race. How can we when we have this subtle but oppressive censorship from the Left ... guilty liberal Whites and whiney victimhood-for-profit Blacks? Let's keep it real, huh?