Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Tavis Smiley has a problem. The problem is one that is rooted in egregious miscalculation, poor target selection and mild delusions of self-righteous grandeur. As Tavis plans his symposium this week to define the black agenda in America, most of us are wondering if it's Smiley's agenda that will be highest on the priority list. While Smiley presents himself as a consistent political figure who has held all politicians equally accountable, many view his gathering this weekend in Chicago as a Barack Obama bashing festival.
Let's be clear: It's not easy to objectively criticize President Obama when his approval ratings in the black community remain above 90 percent. At least half of my articles about Obama have been critical, and I always have to make sure that I am not haunted by the ghostly spirit of Obama-mania, which is just as bad as Obama-haterology. Dr. Julianne Malveaux and Rev. Jesse Jackson have done a very good job of holding Obama accountable in a way that does not appear to be driven by personal motivations or latent hostility. Tavis Smiley, however, can't shake the perception that he has a personal vendetta against the president, for it is quite rare to see a prominent public figure so obsessed with the career of another person.
The Your Black World Coalition monitors the political mood of our supporters when it comes to issues that matter to African-Americans. With 60,000 African-American members nation-wide, we have the ability to put our fingers on the collective pulse of black America through various forms of statistical sampling. In our analysis, a few things remain abundantly clear: Most of our followers love Barack Obama (probably more than they should), and a large percentage of them, to be quite frank, can't stand Tavis Smiley. What makes matters worse for Smiley is that many of those who refuse to buy his books were once loyal fans - meaning that he has engineered the double loss of turning many of his friends into enemies. This is enough to make any publishing house or corporate sponsor run in the other direction, undermining the power of the Tavis Smiley brand. With such a terrible approval rating, Smiley wouldn't even be invited to sell predatory loans for Wells Fargo.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
by Dr. Boyce Watkins
I curiously watched the press conference held last week to celebrate the New Jersey Nets (well, not quite New Jersey anymore) stadium set to be built in Brooklyn. A group of investors, led by Bruce Ratner, were joined by many prominent New York public figures to celebrate the ground-breaking of one of the highest impact economic endeavors in the history of Brooklyn. Jay-Z is part of the group of investors who bought the Nets, so of course he attended the ceremony.
The excitement of bringing a professional sports team to a city is overwhelming. Teams can bring out a sense of community spirit and unity which ultimately helps provide a little meaning in a complex world. Cities compete to bring teams to their town because the fans want them. Cities give teams extensive tax subsidies and even offer to use eminent domain to take property away from residents who are not willing to sell their homes in order to have the stadium built. Sounds terrible, doesn't it? Well, sometimes it can be.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
According to a recent survey by Experian, African-American consumption grew by over 50 percent from the year 2000 to 2008 ($590 billion to $913 billion), and it is expected to grow to over $1.2 trillion dollars by the year 2013. The study also shows that blacks are more economically optimistic than whites, with 36 percent of us stating that we expect our financial future to improve, as opposed to 31 percent for all adults.
The Experian study says a couple of things: First, it says that black people love to consume and that we are getting better at it. In fact, black people have historically been very good at buying things and working hard to get them, but we are not very good at production, investment and saving our money. We grab our tax refunds and run to the mall. We become highly paid corporate lawyers in order to purchase the house and car we really can't afford. We are chubby kids in the economic candy store, accelerating our collective addiction to the monetary engines controlled by corporate greed.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Facing potential bankruptcy, the board that governs the once flush-with-cash Kansas City school district is taking the unusual and contentious step of shuttering almost half its schools.
Administrators say the closures are necessary to keep the district from plowing through what little is left of the $2 billion it received as part of a groundbreaking desegregation case. The Kansas City school board narrowly approved the plan to close 29 out of 61 schools Wednesday night at a meeting packed with angry parents. The schools will close at the end of the school year.
Although other districts nationwide are considering closures as the recession ravages their budgets, Kansas City's plan is striking. In rapidly shrinking Detroit, 29 schools closed before classes began this fall, but that still left the district with 172 schools. Most other districts are closing just one or two schools.
Emotional board member Duane Kelly told the crowd of more than 200 people Wednesday night, "This is the most painful vote I have ever cast" in 10 years on the board. Some chanted for the removal of the superintendent, while one woman asked the crowd, "Is anyone else ready to homeschool their children?"
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
There is one public, all-male, all-African American high school in the city of Chicago. That school is called The Urban Prep Academy for Young men, located in Englewood. The school recently got the attention of Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago Public Schools Chief Ron Huberman when they were able to get all of their 107 seniors accepted into 72 different colleges across the country.
Huberman had this to say:
"All of you in the senior class have shown that what matters is perseverance, what matters is focus, what matters is having a dream and following that dream."
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Most NFL coaches and executives would be ecstatic if Myron Rolle was their son or their daughter’s date.
Rolle played at FSU for three years.
(Dave Martin/AP Photo)
Drafting him is another matter.
Welcome to proof of the NFL adage: You want players to be smart, just not too smart. Rolle is an example of a gifted, driven, accomplished young man. He’s a guy who could survive and thrive without playing mankind’s version of demolition derby.
Rolle is a man with otions and that makes NFL types, some of whom would be teaching P.E. in high school if not for the pro game, very uneasy.
“We’ll have to find out how committed he is,” an NFC assistant coach said, echoing the sentiment of five other NFL types leading up to this weekend’s scouting combine. “Committed” is a euphemism for desire, care, passion and whatever other combination of emotions goes into wanting to play football enough to make it a career.
Trainer Tom Shaw, who has worked with Rolle for the past year, understands the process very well. Having trained the likes ofPeyton Manning(notes), Chris Johnson and Deion Sanders, a total of 118 former first-round picks and nine straight Super Bowl Most Valuable Players before this year, Shaw hears the criticism and shakes his head.
“I hear all the negative things that he has too many things going on in his life,” Shaw said. “But if [the NFL] is saying that Myron Rolle is a bad example, that’s a joke. … Myron is what you want all these kids to be. Every one of these kids should want to be Myron Rolle.
“The reason I say he’s going to be a 10-year veteran is he’s a guy who is going to out-work everybody. He’s not just going to rest on his athletic ability.”Click to read by clicking on this link: http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=jc-committedrolle022510&prov
Saturday, March 6, 2010
by Dr Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University
One of my friends, Dr. Tommy Whittler, is a very talented and prominent Psychologist. Dr. Whittler once told me that when he was training rats in the lab, he would sometimes become frustrated with the fact that the rats would not do what he believed he’d trained them to do. His mentor would always correct him with a reminder that when the rats do things that deviate from his intended outcome, it was likely due to the fact that he may not have done his job properly. His mentor would say to him, “There is no such thing as a dumb rat. There are only dumb trainers.” Dr. Whittler went on to become an outstanding scholar because he learned how to properly critique his own behavior.
While human beings are certainly not lab rats, a similar analogy can be applied to college professors working with their students. Sometimes, college students do things that disappoint us: Some choose to drink till they puke every weekend and become lifelong alcoholics. They might commit violent acts against each other, sometimes as a result of excessive alcohol consumption. Some choose to engage in irresponsible sexual choices and end up with venereal diseases and unplanned pregnancies. Also, they sometimes say or do things that are terribly ignorant, racist and insensitive.
Read more by clicking the link below
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I was invited this week to speak to the Stanford University NAACP about whether or not college athletes should be paid. When I am asked whether I think college athletes should be compensated for their labor, I simply respond to the question with another question: “Why shouldn’t they get paid? Did they not earn the money? Is someone else earning money from their labor? Is the labor of the athlete essential to the revenue-generating process?” Answers to these questions help us to understand how insane it is that athletes earn billions of dollars for coaches, but aren’t entitled to any of that money for themselves. I’ve seen race horses get better deals than that.
Paula and Peter Imafidon are just like any other nine-year-olds. They love laughing, playing on the computer, fighting with each other. What sets these twins apart from their peers, though, is that they are, hands down, prodigies, who are about to enter high school and make British history as the youngest to do so.Meet,Smartest,Kids,England,Paula,Peter,Imafidon,computer,British,history,Click,prodigies
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
by Dr. Boyce Watkins, AOL Black Voices
You don't have to go to college to know that America's educational system is as embarrassing as our bloated, expensive health care system. Such wide-scale dysfunction inevitably undermines the integrity of America's competitive future. The only thing more frightening than what we see today is the realization that the products of this system will eventually control the wealthiest, most powerful country on earth.
Some would argue that only radical change will improve the problems in our schools. Apparently, Frances Gallo, Superintendent of the Central Falls Rhode Island Public School System, got the memo. In a shocking move that has received national attention, Gallo instantly fired 93 teachers and other staff from Central Falls High school, a failing school with a 48 percent graduation rate.
The move was cheered by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who said that school administrators are "showing courage and doing the right thing for kids." The decision also got the militant attention of teachers unions everywhere, who some believe to be standing in the way of education reform. As expected, many union leaders thought the move was outrageous, insensitive and hurtful to the student body.
Superintendent Gallo didn't have to use the "nuclear option" on Central Falls High School. She actually had four options provided to her by the Obama administration. She could have closed the school down completely or had it taken over by a charter school. She also could have "transformed" the school, with longer days and other demands placed on faculty and staff. Instead, she went with the "turnaround" option, giving her the authority to boot teachers out at her discretion.Click to read.
From Your Black World
Dr. Boyce Watkins, faculty affiliate at The College Sport Research Institute, is going to speak to the Stanford NAACP on Wednesday, March 3. The topic of the conversation will be “Does the NCAA Represent an Opportunity or Exploitation?”
Dr. Watkins is one of the leading authorities on NCAA compensation. He has advocated for college athletes to be paid, and founded the group ALARM: The Athlete Liberation and Academic Reform Movement. He is also the founder of the Your Black World Coalition, with 60,000 members nation-wide.