Media & women's basketball writer for Fanhouse.com
9:36 AM on 12/23/2009
OPINION - On October 28, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was slammed about a House Judiciary Committee hearing room like a quarterback facing a blitz....
Freelance filmmaker, writer, blogger and Political Consultant.
7:40 AM on 12/22/2009
OPINION - Is the health care bill, as it is, worth the political capital that it has cost the President and the Democratic congress? ...
Co-Director of the Political Participation Group at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund
10:26 AM on 12/21/2009
OPINION - The first decade of the new century has been marked by incredible triumphs, ongoing challenges, and a number of historic moments......
Author and Finance Professor at Syracuse University
9:41 AM on 12/21/2009
OPINION - For the NCAA, the educational mission of their professional sports league is one of the great scams of the 20th and 21st centuries, no different from the Ponzi schemes of Bernie Madoff......
Writer for VIBE, Newsday, The Source, Publishers Weekly, and Giant Magazine.
6:31 AM on 12/21/2009
REVIEW - Avatar is a reminder of the lessons to be learned from indigenous cultures and the respect and honor that must be paid to the environment....
9:01 AM on 12/18/2009
OPINION - In the ego-driven world of professional sports, it says a lot about a player, about man when all of his teammates seem to genuinely share an affinity for him....
7:11 AM on 12/18/2009
OPINION - Amid all the sound and fury generated by banking bonuses, left unspoken are the external benefits that those amounts provide to large states....
Editor of BookerRising.net
8:25 AM on 12/17/2009
OPINION - The adoption of China's one-child policy in the US would have a disproportionately negative impact on women of color....
National Public Education Director for Queers for Economic Justice
10:00 AM on 12/16/2009
OPINION - HIV/AIDS conspiracy theories circulate in homes, barber shops, churches, and among activists in the African-American community....
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Terry Bowden, former head football coach at Auburn University, had this to say about the NCAA’s lack of black coaches in college football:
“Many presidents won't hire black coaches because they are worried about how alumni and donors will react.”
He also makes this clear and interesting point when it comes to the NCAA’s lack of regard for hiring minority coaches:
“There are 117 colleges participating in Division I-A football and there are only three black head coaches. You don't have to be too smart to know how stupid this looks.
Let me lay it out for you:
Fifty percent black athletes leads to 25 percent black assistant coaches leads to 3 percent black head coaches.
Fifty percent white athletes leads to 75 percent white assistant coaches leads to 97 percent white head coaches.”
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I write this letter with fond memories of interactions with the wonderful students at Syracuse University. While on your campus, I found the students to be both thoughtful and welcoming: perfect for a university campus.
I write to lend my full support for Dr. Boyce Watkins and his tenure application at Syracuse University. Dr. Watkins has raised the profile of Syracuse University as he informs our national community on money matters as well as matters of the conscience. And at this particular time in our country's history, financial literacy must be viewed as an important life skill. Dr. Boyce is doing for America what he does in Syracuse University classrooms every class meeting period. So why would Syracuse University not want such a prolific and publicly appealing face as its representative?
Ultimately, Dr. Boyce must be judged by what he does in the classroom and in publications. Does Dr. Boyce elevate Syracuse University and does he elevate his field? Dr. Boyce demonstrates "academics in action" and makes scholarship relevant. Why should Dr. Boyce's scholarship and activism (which elevates Syracuse University) not be rewarded by a grant of tenure from Syracuse University?
As a former Member of Congress and Green Party candidate for President of the United States, I realize that political complexities can play a role in the decision to grant tenure to faculty on most American campuses. As I have just concluded successful organizing against war that brought together four 2008 Presidential candidates, I am reminded of the clean break that Dr. King had to make with his friends of the civil rights movement when he decided to speak out against the Vietnam War. But Dr. King intoned that he had been fighting segregation too long to segregate his moral concerns. Your decision with respect to Dr. Boyce is both political and moral. And so, I will end with one very famous Dr. King quote and hope that the leadership of Syracuse University will do in this decision what is right:
"Cowardice asks the question - is it safe?
Expediency asks the question - is it politic?
Vanity asks the question - is it popular?
But conscience asks the question - is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right."
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Elliot Millner brought it to my attention that Attorney General Eric Holder has been apparently spending a lot of time with Bill Cosby these days. In a recent speech at a black church in Queens, NY, Holder took a page out of the Barack Obama Campaign Catalog and chose to win favors with the black middle class by recklessly bashing away at absentee fathers and returning to the whole "ya'll just need to grow up and be more responsible" argument that allows any politician to explain away a blatant disregard for meaningful public policy. Rather than talking about things that we can do as a society to take our collective foot off the necks of black men, he chose to say that black men are choosing to put the foot on their own necks.
Elliot Millner, who is also in the legal profession, intelligently said the things that I am sure Eric Holder wanted to say. But unlike Holder, Millner is not constrained by the political shackles that come with being an appointed leader in a society that makes a habit of oppressing, destroying and marginalizing black men.
In his speech, Holder said that, "It should simply be unacceptable for a man to have a child and then not play an integral part in the raising and nurturing of the child."
That quote is a nice way of reflecting on the obvious. It's sort of like saying, "It should be unacceptable for a black man to become the Attorney General of the United States and not play an integral part in helping other black men overcome the blatantly racist and destructive justice system over which you preside."
Monday, December 14, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Watkins, a finance professor at SU, is ignored by the administration.
By Naresh Vissa
In January 2007, college student Heather Ellis and her cousin stood in two lines at Wal-Mart. They agreed that the first to reach a register would combine the items for purchase. When the African-American Ellis gave her cousin the groceries, bystanders behind complained that she had cut. After some verbal exchanges, Ellis walked to her car and found the police waiting to arrest her. She tried her best to resist and suffered numerous cuts and bruises in the process.
Today, Ellis should be in medical school. Instead, she has pled guilty to charges of disturbing the peace and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors.
The case was covered by CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, Good Morning America, The Today Show and every major black media outlet in America. Even more importantly, Syracuse University is connected to it, but hasn’t issued any statements. As a producer of two radio shows, I myself find it embarrassing that I discovered Ellis through a press release pitch e-mail I received.
At the forefront of all the outrage is Whitman School of Management Finance Professor Dr. Boyce Watkins, but it’s not getting any attention from SU administrators.
“I’ve come to accept the fact that the University is not appreciative of my work,” Watkins said. “It’s part of their tradition when it comes to progressive black scholars. If I’d learned to sit down and shut up, I might be treated better. Quiet Negroes do quite well in academia.”Click to read.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
The following is an excerpt from the book, "Black American Money."
I saw some random "expert" on a "60 Minutes" segment discussing the state of the education system. The man was attempting to argue that more resources won't make a difference in the quality of our schools. He went on to argue that many of the pathetic schools in the inner city are run by blacks, implying that not only do African-Americans not care about their own youth, they are shiftless buffoons when it comes to money management. I've heard similar arguments from members of oppressive groups around the world, as oppressor attitudes are shockingly consistent and universal. A friend of mine from India once explained to me that additional government resources being allocated to create opportunities for "the untouchables" were a waste of time, in large part due to the fact that the people were too lazy to efficiently use these opportunities.Stereotypes against historically oppressed groups are quite common, as the world has been trained to believe that when it comes to managing money, white men are gods and black people are idiots. But when it comes to poor money management, few institutions are worse than the Pentagon which has been known to spend $500 for a toilet seat. They also fail to look to the airline and automobile industries, the ultimate welfare queens of American capitalism. These industries consistently seek government bailouts in the form of tariffs and subsidies. I won't begin to discuss the Financial Crisis of 2008 – 2009, as we saw our entire global financial system artificially inflated and subsequently destroyed by individuals who are not black. Rather, people are usually quick to point to black administrators in inner city schools and historically black colleges and universities as the most wasteful individuals in American education and industry.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
The last five weeks of the year, the days beginning with Thanksgiving and moving through the New Year, are days when we all wind down. Some of us don't want to admit it, citing business as usual. But the fact is that from the first thanksgiving party to the last holiday gift exchange, we have collectively decided that the year is over and we can't do much about it.
This year is different from many others. One in six Americans does not have a job. One in four African Americans is unemployed. This means that our holiday parties must be muted by the challenge of acknowledging and supporting those who are impaired in our midst. It also means lifting up those who deserve the lift up, those who have done such phenomenal things this year that they need a shout out.
I will lift up my sister friend Susan Taylor for her National Mentoring Cares Movement ad for the phenomenal love she sows into African American people as we grow, develop, and learn to heal from our hurt. As she crosses the country, she infuses her gentle spirit into the many ways we can embrace our futures. She is a force that must be loved, respected and appreciated.
I will lift up Dr. Boyce Watkins for his embrace of Heather Ellis, the young sister from Missouri who faced 15 years in jail for cutting a line. Heather Ellis did what so many of us do - went to the store with a friend (cousin), took separate lines, and decided that whoever got up first would hook the other up. How did this turn into a racial farce of utter insanity? It would take the people in Kennett, Missouri to tell us. Here is what I know - Boyce Watkins spent time, effort, energy and money in rallying people around heather Ellis. I am grateful for his activism and lift him up for his work.
I will lift up Donna Richardson Joyner, who has both embraced Bennett College for women and black women around the globe in her positive and joyful commitment to healthy living. Thanks to Donna, we are doing work on growing a healthy garden and embracing healthy habits at Bennett, but more importantly, thanks to Donna, we all have a model of how to live and how to be.
I will lift up Blanche Williams and the National Black Women's Town Hall and the many ways that Blanche is into hooking sisters up. Blanche's mantra is "Embracing Greatness" and she is unselfish about that embrace. She is a blessing and a lesson, a joy and a leader. I am so very excited about their work.
There are so very many more that deserve the lift up. And, there are so many that must be acknowledged as they struggle through these times. I am especially concerned by those who are marginalized by the notion of these holiday celebrations, marginalized by the reality that they have not much to celebrate. What do we celebrate through the storm? Mostly we celebrate that we are still here. Still here? Still navigating, functioning, managing, holding it up. And we celebrate the fact that in the middle of the wind-down, we are indeed winding down.
I always find the end of the year poignant. We always have much to reflect on, much to celebrate. We lift up those who have assisted, accomplished, and moved us more aggressively to a better world. And, at the same time, we acknowledge those who have been tousled by our economy. We ask that all of us do the work we must do to provide analysis as we move forward. We wonder if we suffer from the paralysis of analysis.
At the end of the day, we know that the end-year act of winding down offer us an amazing possibility to lift up and respect our past and yet be challenged by our present. We know that there are those whose contribution has been stellar; we know we all want to do more. We inhale this moment called the end of the year, appreciating the opportunity to wind down, looking forward to the challenge of winding back up.
As long as there are racial economic gaps, there is cause to work, challenge, and focus. When the black unemployment rate is nearly twice the white rate, when black wealth is a tenth of white wealth, there is work to do. For many the end of the year should be nothing more than a momentary respite. There is, still, much work to do.
I received a call the today from CNN for an appearance on Headline News with the amazing Richelle Carey. The story happened a couple of weeks ago, but it took me aback and I thought I would quickly share it with the AOL BV family. During a field trip to a former plantation in Charlotte, NC, the tour guide wanted to show the kids what slavery was like. So, he asked the black children to pick cotton while their white classmates stood around and watched. When the CNN producer (a nice woman named Ebony) told me about the story, I had to do a Gary Coleman imitation: "What choo talking bout Ebony?"
Beyond the obvious, this case is disturbing on a multitude of levels. But CNN has asked me to help make this case into a teachable moment. I love finding life lessons in everything, so here are some quick thoughts:
1) The tour guide who did this clearly wasn't thinking: If you want the children to empathize with slavery, why not have them ALL pretend to be slaves? If you have the black children pretending to be slaves and the white kids pretending to be their masters, you are only teaching the white kids to be slave masters and the black kids to be their property.
2) Look at this through the mind of a child: I remember a child in elementary school saying to me, "I wish slavery was still around, because I could then tell you what to do." Those were the same words that Walter Currie's classmate said to him beforespraying him with gasoline and setting him on fire. Those were also the words that one child said to another on the bus ride home from the plantation that day in North Carolina. Do you see a trend here? While we as adults might see the educational value in our remarks, children might see it in an entirely different way.
Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III
Early on the campaign trail, presidential candidate Barack Obama said, "This country is ready for a transformative politics of the sort that John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Franklin Roosevelt represented." Socially, President Obama is beginning to move in such a positive transformative direction.
After 12 years of languishing in Congress, on Wednesday, October 28, President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard / James Byrd Hate Crimes Bill. By signing this bill, the president expands the federal definition of hate crimes to include those motivated by gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. It also allows federal authorities to pursue hate-crimes cases when local authorities are either unable or unwilling to do so. This law was named after Matthew Shepard, a gay man murdered in Wyoming in 1998, and James Byrd, the African-American man dragged to his death behind a pickup truck in Texas that same year.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I am sitting in my hotel room in Memphis after the exhausting day I spent marching forHeather Ellis, the 24-year old college student now facing up to 15 years in prison after cutting in line at Walmart. If you were to be picky about it, you could argue that Heather is technically not being charged for cutting in line. But had the Walmart employee not mistreated Heather after accusing her of cutting in line, the entire incident would not have taken place.
When the black folks rolled into Kennett, Missouri for our rally, the entire town stopped, the police showed up in massive force and there were even snipers on the rooftops. I assume the snipers were there for our protection, but after visiting the Lorraine Hotel (where Dr. King was killed) just the day before, I was honestly a wee bit nervous. There were people standing on the side of the road, taking pictures and some holding up flags with swastikas and confederate flags on them. It was very interesting.
I've put together some random thoughts about the case, the rally and everything in between. I have to be blunt and honest, since you know that's how I operate:
1) The fight is not over: Heather's trial begins Wednesday and I am highly concerned about the outcome. The idea that this young woman's entire future can be stolen over such a tiny incident is simply unbelievable. The truth is that common sense tells us that this situation should have been squashed long ago, and Kennett, MO is becoming known as the racist town that destroys the lives of young black women.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
The latest brouhaha over President Obama’s whereabouts now includes his golf endeavors. A seemingly innocent respite away from the White House arrows and darts has turned into a diatribe over women’s equality, inclusion, and diversity. And you thought golf was a boring game for old men! Ha!
The story began with a news report, which is debatable in its own right of being news, that described Pres. Obama’s recent golf outing with one of his senior leaders, Melody Barnes. Ms. Barnes, the nation’s chief domestic policy adviser to the president, was pictured sharply dressed lugging her golf bag. Golf is generally played in groups of four so the interest increased when it was determined that she was joining or barging in on the president’s regular team of men. Oh my! Katy bar the door!
People play golf for one (or a combination) of three reasons: exercise, sport competition, and business. The days of ill dressed overweight men with tires around their waists, who huff and puff on cigars as they tee off are long gone. In fact, it is now a fashion faux pas to dress less than professional (gym clothes are not welcome) and to smoke during a round. Sir Tiger changed the game in many ways and one of the most important is his devotion to fitness. His workout regiment to be the best golfer in the world motivates all ages to get in shape to improve their game. Avid golfers and wanna-bees are seeking Pilates, yoga, stretching, strength and core training customized golf programs to reduce the number of swings to get that little white ball in the hole. And now walking the golf course is more popular, so a stop at the gym or a jog around the neighborhood is no longer necessary. Exercise by strolling through a meticulously manicured lawn decorated with exotic foliage and 18 tee boxes -- Yes!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I am not a fan of the NCAA, a sports league that earns money on the par of the NFL and NBA, but has somehow decided that they don’t have to properly compensate their employees or give them standard rights to negotiation. What’s worse is that the NCAA does tremendous harm to the African American community, sucking up kids with hoop dreams and destroying their futures with inferior educations.
When I recently read that the NCAA may be hiring a black president (Dr. Bernard Franklin), the only thing I could say is “whoopty-damn-doo.” While some of us might be tempted to applaud such an achievement, we must fully understand that the disease of racism is sometimes delivered through the hands of a black overseer.
Dr. Franklin, while running around the country applauding his organization for giving one opportunity to one black person, should probably think of the thousands of African American families being used up by the very system he has been trained to manage. The NCAA is, without question, one of the most exploitative regimes in the history of America, right next to slavery and the prison system. Billions are earned each year off the backs of African American families, while the league has worked together with Congress to create a nexus of regulations that keep the athlete and his/her family from getting a piece of the economic pie.Click to read.
By the end of this week, the NCAA may start the process of joining the rest of the country in making history. Nearly a year after American voters elected the nation's first black president, the association that runs college sports may be poised to select the first black man to run one of the country's major sports organizations.
The NCAA's Executive Committee is slated to meet this Thursday at the organization's headquarters in Indianapolis, and is expected to choose a firm to help in its search to find a successor to Myles Brand, the former president, who died last month.
Among the contenders is Dr. Bernard Franklin, a former president of four schools, most notably Virginia Union. Franklin, who was hired for the NCAA by Brand, currently serves as the organization's executive vice president for membership and student-athlete affairs.
Franklin's ascendance would not only zoom the NCAA past the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA in terms of moving an African-American into a chief executive post, but would send a powerful message to university and college presidents, who could desperately use it. (It bears noting that African-American James Frank, of Lincoln University, previously served as the NCAA's president. However, that title was given to elected officials from individual schools, while the post of executive director went to the full-time chief executive officer.)
You have a much better chance of finding subtlety in a Tyler Perry movie than you do of spotting an African-American football coach or athletic director - often two of the most powerful positions on a college campus - at the nation's biggest colleges.click to read.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Dr. Niara Sudarkasa, the first woman President of Lincoln University, has a name that reflects her reality. Niara means woman of high purpose, and that she is, indeed. After leaving Lincoln University in 1998, she traveled and consulted, and has recently been scholar-in-residence at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Last week, she donated her papers and personal library, including more than 3800 books, 4100 issues of journals and periodicals, plaques and other collectibles, including the outfit she wore when she was enstooled as a chief in the Ife Kingdom of Nigeria. This is a sister and scholar whose name ought to be spoken frequently among African American people, especially those who have concerns about the African American family, and those who have interests in things African. We are more likely to know entertainers, however, than we are to know scholars. This is a scholar certainly worth knowing.
I had the honor of traveling to Fort Lauderdale to help salute Dr. Sudarkasa on the occasion of her very generous gift (valued at more than $270,000) to the library. In thinking about Niara's life and career, I was especially focused on the work she has done as an Africanist and anthropologist, long before it was fashionable for African American people to look at our African roots. Indeed, Niara learned Yoruba as part of her doctoral work and studies the work that women did in African society for her dissertation. Her early work lays the foundation for contemporary work on linkages between Africa and the United States.
Monday, October 26, 2009
To join the Your Black World Coalition, please visit www.YourBlackWorld.com.
From Dr Boyce Watkins
To the Your Black World family:
When the children of my assistant Shauntay (Justin and Journi) brought the case of Heather Ellis to me, I was in disbelief. I was shocked that in 2009, a young college student, with no criminal record, could face 15 years in prison for cutting line at Walmart. I was even more appalled by the threats from the KKK and allegations by local leaders that the town went as far as blacking out the local news coverage during the minutes that the family held a press conference in support of their daughter. We sent information about the case to CNN and other media outlets, and they covered it (along with BET, Essence, ABC News and others), but I don't feel this is enough. We've decided that we aren't going to take this sitting down, and we hope you won't either
In honor of Justin and Journi, the two young visionaries who convinced me to take on this issue, we've created the "Journey for Justice," set to take place in Kennett, Missouri on Monday, November 16 at 11 am. On that day, we are going to meet at the Walmart where the incident took place (1500 1st St., Kennett, MO) and march to the steps of the courthouse(Square 200 Slicer St.). You can find out more information about the case and rally on the site www.TheHeatherEllisCase.com. Given that the prosecutor in the case (Stephen Sokoloff) has asked for a change of venue (to Bloomfield, MO - a town with less than 20 black people), some of the details of the rally might change (I have no doubt that they are scheming to make this as difficult as possible). But I can guarantee you this: On November 16, we are heading down there to fight against the madness occurring in this county, no matter what the cost.