Saturday, June 19, 2010

NCAA Exploitation Must Come to an End

Dr. Boyce Watkins - The Institute of Black Public Policy 

I wrote about a new book regarding the NCAA’s alleged exploitation of black athletes, written by University of Georgia Professor Billy Hawkins. In his recently-released book, “The New Plantation,” Hawkins goes out of his way to help us understand that the method by which the NCAA does business is not much different from the mindset of plantation owners of the old south.

The analogies used by Professor Hawkins are thought-provoking and appear to be alarmist at first glance. After all, citizens are commonly comparing nearly every modern-day injustice to slavery in order to make a dramatic point. But in this case, the analogies are appropriate, in large part because slavery is not a dichotomy. Instead, it is actually a continuum, with complete freedom on one end and total servitude on the other. One could even argue that slaves themselves were not completely devoid of freedom, since they could have always chosen to run away, buy their freedom, maim themselves or even commit suicide as a way to escape their condition. The point of this very grim example is not to say that slavery was not entirely horrific; rather, it is to say that something does not have to be entirely horrific to be compared to slavery.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

African American Faculty Being Shut Out of Universities

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University

Dr. M. Cookie Newsom

is the Director for Diversity Education and Assessment at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a trouble maker and an angry black woman, which is likely going to cause her serious problems with her colleagues (we talked yesterday about how being angry can get a black person into serious trouble). Dr. Newsom, however, has good reason to be angry. In a recent interview with Diverse issues in Higher Education, Dr. Newsom stated in plain language that most major universities are not serious about diversifying their faculty and that this hurts all students, especially students of color.
"The dismal truth is academe doesn’t really want a racially-diverse faculty," Newsom said during a faculty diversity presentation at the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) annual national conference in Washington, D.C. "It’s totally a myth."

Dr. Newson based her conclusions on statistics and data she collected which shows that most major universities are good at documenting plans to increase faculty diversity, but most of it’s nothing but lip service.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dr. Boyce Watkins: Is Barack Obama at Risk of Being Labeled an "Angry Black Man?"


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Monday, June 7, 2010

The Economy Recovers, but where are the jobs?

by Dr Julianne Malveaux

Our economy generated about 431,000 jobs last month. Good news? Only if you don't count the fact that more than 400,000 of the jobs were temporary jobs connected to collecting data for the Census. Those jobs won't last for long and when the dust clears the current 9.7 percent unemployment rate, down from 9.9 percent a month ago, is likely to rise again.

Still, those who are desperate for good news are clinging to the fact that there are more jobs out there. What they don't understand is that people are looking for something more than a few months of work here and there. Nearly seven million Americans have been out of work for more than half a year. What has this done to their finances?

Of course the situation is worse for African Americans, even though black unemployment dropped from 16.5 to 15.5 percent last month. The 15.5 percent is a modest estimate of what is really happening. The U6 number in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report includes discouraged workers, those working part time that really want full time work and others peripherally connected to the labor market. That number dropped last month from 17.1 to 16.6 percent for the overall population. While the BLS does not report the number for African Americans, using the same relationships, the African American U6 number is at least 25.6 percent. That means that one in four African Americans is jobless!

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Arizona is Getting a Little Too Much Attention

Arizona isn't the only state with a racist agenda

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University

Forgive me for saying this, but part me of is getting sick of hearing about Arizona. Most states only get a few days in the news cycle, but since the politicians in Arizona were crazy enough to pass a law to stifle illegal immigration in their state, our news has been seemingly flooded with one story after another about Arizona: A politician in Arizona has links to the KKK, Arizona changes its textbooks to downplay people of color, brown faces are lightened up on a mural in Arizona. It never seems to stop.

OK, I think I get the point: Arizona is a state with racist policies, at least more racist than most. Can we try to move onto something else now?

This isn't to say that there is not a level of seriousness to the illegal immigration situation in Arizona. We've figured that out. The federal government has long refused to properly enforce immigration laws, and the residents of Arizona came up with their own response, one that threatens to undermine the civil rights of every black and brown person in the state. Got it.

To some extent, the national attack on the state of Arizona smells a bit like political narcissism. The collective outrage that some have expressed over the civil liberties issues in the Arizona immigration law has been hardly present during other more serious racial atrocities that have occurred over the past 20 years.

The sense of urgency that President Obama had about the passage of the state's new immigration law has never been matched when confronting the fact that the United States incarcerates over five times more black men than South Africa did during the height of apartheid. Attorney General Eric Holder's investigation into the legality of Arizona's political decisions was never preceded by a similar investigation into the civil rights abuses of unequal funding for inner city public schools. It seems that when civil liberties of a broad Latino base were attacked, the whole country went up in arms. But when black folks have been getting abused, our needs have been put at the bottom of the to-do list.

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