Monday, December 31, 2007


Have you seen the little boy who chases the dead?
Have you seen the little boy?
I said
Well, I have.
He only comes out at night
And wears a ghastly look.
--such a fright.
Something- has- h i m- shook.
Face shriveled up as if he has seen a ghost
Or maybe he just saw himself
Nothing but a reflection in a shadow (feeling of nothingness)
His own future cannot be seen
He is too consumed
In the superficial
No clarification here
Just a void
He feels null in void
I see him
Tired as if he just got out of bed,
But decked out from head to toe.
His mother asked, “Where did you get that money from?”
He replied: “I don’t know.”

But oh, BROTHER-I know-
That little boy chases the dead
I see his scars-
War marks from his many fights with the dead.
I saw him on the corner last night selling poison to Lost Souls.
He chases those DEAD PRESIDENTS
Like they are the answer to every question he has had before.

I heard him say, “Money never hurt anyone.”
Presidents who had slaves, blood money built on slave labor,
BIG BUSINESSES who oppress the poor
This is its origin.
Need I say more?
Full circle-now he is a slave to the dead
Creating more slaves in his wake.

The next day I read that the little boy was shot and killed.
And Ohhhh, how I CRIED for him and all that he could have been.
He chose to chase the dead when LIFE should have been his only choice.
How many more lives will it take?
If you know someone like this
We have lost too many young people to the dead
R.I.P Robert 04

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Dr. Boyce on NPR News & Notes - Black Family Finances

As a finance professor, I see regular misconceptions in media about black people, black families and black wealth. America somehow has chosen to believe that the reason for wealth disparities in America is that African-Americans have simply chosen to be lazy and engage in the practice of bad money management. They also cite the fact that black families are not married as regularly and that this is a reason for poverty in the black community.

I could not disagree more.

The reason for the wealth disparity between blacks and whites is very simple: For 400 years (a very long time), America had a clear tradition of not allowing black people to pass wealth onto their children. As a result, all the big buildings in Manhattan, all the major media companies, and all the large corporations in America are owned, run and controlled by the white community. Period. Most wealth is inherited wealth and we were not allowed to inherit.

Black people choosing not to get married is no worse nor better than the fact that many families in America choose to get divorced. Honestly, I think divorce is far more devastating to the life of a child than not getting married. If one throws in the fact that non-custodial parents are obligated to pay child support, then the income gap, in a perfect world, should disappear. One can argue that two parents are better than one, but at the same time, 3 parents would be better than 2, and 4 parents would be better than 3. You could make this argument forever, and to use the one vs. two parent disparity as the fundamental basis to explain America's commitment to racial inequality is ridiculous.

Bottom line: Love is what matters, and if you look at the lives of Al Gore's son and kids in the suburbs who engage in just as much deviant behavior as kids in "the hood", you will see that a parent's decision to get married or not can be good for the child or bad, depending on the circumstances.

In other words: I get sick of people trying to say that black families are immoral or culturally inferior. Our culture is just fine thank you. Also, racial inequality and wealth gaps are due to one thing: historical discrimination. If you want to talk about creating a fair america, then you must first correct the huge imbalance created by racist ancestry. Trying to be fair from this point on (as Ward Connerly tries to argue) is like a lifelong crook stealing billions and then promising not to steal anymore. A fix must be applied to past wrongs before you can move forward in fairness.

I did this NPR interview on the topic not too long ago. It was done with Farai Chideya, a woman I had a huge crush on during my time in graduate school. Don't tell her I said that (haha!).

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Great Debators: The Best film of 2007

If Denzel Washington doesn't get nominated for an Oscar after "The Great Debaters", then I will officially become a conspiracy theorist. Those who run to nominate him for awards when he plays a gangster, drug dealer or thug should run just as fast to nominate him when he plays the role of a great black visionary and activist professor. If only all professors had the same guts as Washington.

"The Great Debaters" is another installment in a long line of hit or miss inspirational films made by Harpo Productions, owned by the woman on everyone's refrigerator door. This one hits the mark and strikes it hard, explaining the roots of American racism and inequality, along with the incentives for perseverance and education.

The film features the amazing debate team at Wiley College, an Historically black college in Texas. The team goes through a series of ups and downs, facing racism, heartache and intellectual challenge in order to become one of the greatest debate teams in American history. The film culminates with the team debating Harvard University head to head and whipping them on national radio.

The film was good, damn good. It was also a reminder that Historically black colleges can and are among the very best institutions in the nation. I give it as many thumbs up as I can muster, and I would even give it a toe up if my leg could reach that high.

This film is, without question, the best film of 2007. Just call it the Lord of the Rings for Black folks.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Great Debaters Up for an Award Already

The producers behind the film "The Great Debaters" are already up for an award.

They will receive the 2008 Stanley Kramer Award at the PGA Awards on February 2. The film details the life of Professor Melvin Tolson, coach of the debate team at Wiley College, a small black college founded in 1873.

The professor took a great deal of criticism during for his teaching style and social views.

Tolson's debate team defeated some of the top universities in the world, including Oxford, USC and others. However, the team was never formally recognized as a championship debate team because in the 1930s, black teams were not considered for championship status.

The school struggled to survive during the 1980s and 1990s, coming very close to closing. However, after getting the attention of Hollywood, the school has new buildings and a new set of opportunities.

Enrollment recently doubled and Walmart has agreed to set up a scholarship fund.