Monday, April 22, 2013

Dr. Boyce: Was Integration a Good Thing for Black People? Probably Not

by Dr. Boyce Watkins
This week, I took a visit to Atlanta and once again stopped by the birth home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I reached back into the life of Dr. King to understand what made him great, and what we must do to continue the extraordinary work that he and his colleagues began so many years ago. As I sat on his porch, I closed my eyes and imagined his mother carrying him to the front door. I wondered how many Sundays the family sat on that same porch after dinner, and how many days Dr. King spent wondering if it might be possible for him to fulfill his dreams and personal ambitions.
I also thought about integration. I carefully studied the old pictures of Auburn Street, where Dr. King was born. I saw images of proud black business owners, in their finest clothes, driving fancy cars. Of course not everyone was doing well, but we were certainly better at making our own money. I read about how Martin Luther King Sr., Dr. King’s father, maintained a disciplined household, where education was the highest priority and protecting the family unit was paramount.
Most importantly, I walked away convinced that one of the most valuable things that Dr. King’s father gave him was pride. Martin Luther King Sr. taught his son at an early age that inequality was entirely unacceptable, and that the terms of integration should be such that you are able to engage in fair trade without allowing yourself to be subjugated.
So, years later, we have achieved at least half of Dr. King’s dream of integration: We can shop where we want, eat where we want and get almost any job at the big fancy corporation down the street. Many of us earn more money than we could have in a segregated society and are given opportunities that are more consistent with our chosen skill sets.
The problem for our community, I humbly submit, is that we did not properly negotiate the terms of our integration. The pride that Dr. King’s father instilled in him is lost for millions of youth who are being educated by people who don’t care about them. Integration, for the most part, was simply prolonged assimilation, like moving into someone else’s home and giving up the keys to your own. You are happy to be moving into a bigger house, but soon realize that you can’t go into someone else’s house and move around the furniture. Also, while you’re renting a room, they are paying the mortgage, which means that their kids (not yours) are going to own the house when all the hard work is done.
Many of us see the golden carrot of a higher salary without understanding the risk that is inherent in allowing your family to depend on the descendants of your historical oppressors. Even the most educated among us are raised to sell our services to bidders who extract our best and brightest like oil being lifted from the soil of Nigeria. People with six figure jobs are living paycheck-to-paycheck, further heightening the economic dependency that makes you impotent when it’s time to stand up for your rights. Like an intelligent woman who marries a wealthy man, you must ensure that you still have something to hold onto in the event that your relationship turns into an abusive one. Sadly, however, many of us have thrown economic caution to the wind.
I argue that integration didn’t work in our favor because there is a difference between giving up a portion of your economic sovereignty in exchange for a true partnership vs giving up nearly everything to allow yourself to become an occupied state. For example, if I were to give up my business and “integrate” myself into the management of a large company, I would probably be a very different (and more highly paid) man from the one you are hearing from right now. In fact, I’d probably be speaking a different political language altogether because few majority white institutions would allow me to speak the way I do in public (just ask Syracuse University, where I put my academic freedom to the test).
So, the conclusion is not that integration is always a bad thing. Integration can be a wonderful thing, since white Americans have hoarded most of the nation’s resources (due to our oppression), and integrating gives us an opportunity to have a piece of the American pie. But integrating in such a way that makes you dependent on others can put your socio-economic security at risk.
Years after achieving the “dream” of integration, we have seen our poisoned and misguided financial chickens coming home to roost. When the 2008 economic crisis hit America, whites took a small hit and soon recovered, but black wealth dropped by over half. Also, black unemployment hit levels that we haven’t seen in over 30 years. The young men who should be heading our families are filling up the jails and prisons, and our public schools have become prisons with training wheels. There is nothing pretty about this form of integration, where even our best, brightest and strongest are in no position to help those of us who are struggling.
The fact is that we must critically assess the extraordinary work of Dr. Martin Luther King while simultaneously realizing that his work was not complete. He died at the young age of 39 years old, and was speaking boldly about the importance of economic sustainability as a critical component to achieving true equality in a capitalist society. As a finance professor myself, I am hopeful that we realize that this was probably the most significant part of Dr. King’s vision, and that it is the conscientious and intelligent allocation of economic resources that ultimately serves as the key to many of your most fundamental rights as an American.

As a community, each of us has a responsibility to teach our children entrepreneurship as an important part of their long-term economic survival. Learning to run your own business is as important as knowing how to grow your own food. We must embrace educational excellence as if our lives depended on it, but ensure that our children are taught black history and family values that they are not getting in class. We must target our spending to black-owned businesses whenever we can, and embrace the importance of saving, investing and ownership. Finally, since many of us spent $200 last month at Walmart without blinking, this means that we can certainly afford to give $15 to our favorite black-owned organization.
It’s time for a new way of thinking as it pertains to money and education. Ownership, wealth-building and self-sufficiency should be part of the consistent black national discourse. By re-inventing ourselves in a productive way, we can turn our darkest hour into one of the greatest periods in black American history. The time for us to do this is NOW.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Any Teacher Cheating with Our Children Must Go To Jail!!!!!!

Should a Group of Teachers Go to Prison for Cheating? Atlanta Protesters Yelling Racism

The city of Atlanta has been rocked by a cheating scandal that has ripped the city to its core. Dozens of teachers and administrators face years in prison for cheating on a standardized test, a punishment that is unprecedented in the American school system. Now, if you’re a teacher that is even remotely connected to a cheating scandal, you could end up behind bars with killers, drug dealers and other people who’ve done terrible things.
But there are residents in Atlanta who are standing up in protest of the incident, saying that sending teachers to prison for cheating is the kind of example that would only be set in a racist state that seeks to incarcerate African Americans. Georgia governor Nathan Deal is also the same governor who recently announced that he would not support an integrated prom in the state.
“The community is saying this is wrong. We’re treating these educators like they’re criminals, like they’re drug dealers, like they’re gangsters,” said Timothy McDonald III, pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church and a member of Atlanta’s Concerned Black Clergy. “Yes, fire the ones who cheated. But this is over-reaching.”
A grand jury has indicted 35 educators in the Atlanta school district, including former Superintendent of the Year, Beverly Hall. The conspiracy reached a total of 58 schools, and because state money was involved, the group has been charged with the kind of racketeering activity that is normally used to convict gangsters. Even a secretary has been indicted. Hall is being hit with an additional theft charge because her salary rose as the tests scores improved.
“I think a lot of people were fairly neutral on (the cheating scandal),” said Nathan McCall, an Emory University lecturer and writer. “And once they began to see the visuals of these educators as criminals, the history of strained race relations between blacks in the city of Atlanta and whites in the rest of the state, began to resurface.”
The state spent years investigating Atlanta public schools after determining that the rises in test scores were “statistically improbable.” Former Governor Sonny Perdue then appointed two special investigators to look into the alleged discrepancies. Former Georgia Attorney General Michael Bowers was part of the committee, which reviewed 800,000 documents and conducted 2,100 interviews. He says that he was in tears after hearing about teachers being forced to cheat on exams.
“We had teachers faint in our interview room,” he said. “The thing I remember most was talking to some of the teachers who had been mistreated, mostly single moms. And it’s heartbreaking. They told of how they had been forced to cheat. One told me, ‘Mr. Bowers, this is a big joke. You can’t imagine how badly I feel. I cheated. I was forced to cheat. I had no choice. I spent my days as a teacher combing hair, brushing teeth, making sure children had something to eat….I taught third grade, and I cheated. If my father were alive, he would be so ashamed he wouldn’t know what to do.’ “
But the Atlanta cheating scandal is not unique. In an education space that is now determined by high-stakes testing, cheating appears to be rampant. In 2011 USA Today studied test scores across six states and found 1,600 cases of improbable test gains.
All of the educators who’ve been indicted are African American. This was shortly after Georgia Governor Nathan Deal suspended six elected school board members, five of whom are black. Some say that the real theft is occurring in the governor’s mansion.
“They’re all connected,” McDonald said. “If you look at Clayton County, DeKalb County, Atlanta, these are overwhelmingly majority African-American school districts. This is not about the children. This is about money. Every school system has contracts. This is about folks getting their hands on those contracts.”

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The N word is still alive and well!!!!


Kansas GOP Official Apologizes For “N!gger Rigging” Comment
A Republican county commissioner says he won’t resign over racist remarks he made during a public meeting last week.jim gile kansas

Saline County Commissioner Jim Gile (R) used the term “n!gger rigging” when discussing hiring an architect to work on a local building. Although Gile has apologized, he refuses to leave his position.

From the Salina Journal:

In a recording made by County Clerk Don Merriman of the study session, Gile, who is white, can be heard to say the county needed to hire an architect to design the improvements rather than “n!gger-rigging it.”
His comment brought laughter from others in the room. Salinan Ray Hruska, who attends most commission meetings and study sessions, asked Gile what he said.
“Afro-Americanized,” Gile replied.
“He’s like that congressman from Alaska,” Commission Chairman Randy Duncan can be heard to say of Gile’s comment.

Gile says that he made a mistake when he used the term and intended to say “jury-rigged”, which makes even less sense because “jury rigged” has a totally different meaning than “n!gger rigged.”

“I am not a prejudiced person,” Gile told the Salina Journal. “I have built Habitat homes for colored people.”

Gile apologized for his comment prior to a Tuesday commission meeting. Understandably, Democrats in the area are questioning on whether Gile should resign from office.

Kansas Democratic Party spokesman Dakota Loomis thinks that Gile may not be fit to serve. .

“It’s shocking in this day and age that he would use this type of language and find it to be such a non-issue,” Loomis said. “He needs to take a real hard look at how he represents the people in Saline County. This demonstrates a complete and utter lack of awareness. It calls into question his fitness to serve.”


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wow Antoine, Are You Serious!!!!

Dr. Boyce: Director Antoine Fuqua Says Hollywood isn’t Racist? OK, I’m Confused

Director Antoine Fuqua is one of the most talented people in all of Hollywood. His films, including “Training Day” and “Olympus Has Fallen” have done quite well at the box office, and he deserves tremendous credit for his accomplishments.
Of all the roles that Antoine might have played in his life, I never expected him to play that of a racial apologist. The director was asked about well-documented Hollywood discrimination, and he seems to think that it’s all a figment of our imagination.
Speaking with The Voice, Antoine said the following:
“I wouldn’t use the term racist, as much as I would say the playing field is not even in Hollywood,” he said. “But ultimately, you have to put in the work.
“It’s very easy to cry racism when you’re not qualified to do the work or your work isn’t transcending to where you want it to be. Hollywood is a business and you have to look at it that way.”
Antoine’s comments should probably be refined and clarified just a bit, largely because that’s just the kind of remark that rich white people love to pay black men to make. It’s the typical, “white guys have nearly all the opportunities because most black people aren’t qualified” comment, which serves as continuous validation of white supremacy. Millions of black people hear similar remarks when corporations and universities swear that they can’t find qualified minorities, even as thousands of hard-working black people apply for the job. It reminds me of when a well-trained colleague of mine applied for a faculty position at Syracuse University in an all-white department, and was rejected while being given no explanation for why she wasn’t “the right fit.” Workplace racism almost never has to explain itself, since the reason for rejecting qualified black people typically comes down to the fact that we are not perfect, while no one takes the time to point out the obvious imperfections of all the white guys who got those same opportunities.
Statistically speaking, when you see so many black people being shut out of an institution, particularly one that has been proven to be undeniably racist, it’s largely because there are long-term systemic factors that continue to keep black people out. Yes, Hollywood is a business (as Mr. Fuqua notes), and as a professor of business myself, I can say that African Americans have a difficult time competing with the shear economic power that white America has accumulated by keeping us from being able to build wealth for the last 400 years. This leads to Hollywood studios controlling the landscape of black opportunity in ways that are nothing short of sad, sick and embarrassing. No matter what we do, this disparity isn’t going to disappear overnight.
Antoine, who is a smart man no doubt, continues to explain Hollywood Racism 101 by admitting that not every white guy in Hollywood has a firm grasp on black culture.
“I do see other things – like people who don’t understand or are ignorant to our culture. But I wouldn’t call them racist. If anything, it’s our job to expand their minds to our experience,” he said.
Here it appears that Mr. Fuqua is confusing racist intent with systematic racism. You see, systematic racism doesn’t exist in America because every white man wakes up in the morning choosing to racist. Instead, it exists because for hundreds of years, America was built with a set of norms, patterns and constructs that lead to white men controlling nearly everything in our society. Therefore, these long-evolved power and wealth disparities allow whites to have a greater ability to promote their own values and expectations over those of black and brown people.
So, the fact is that systematic racism can exist even when you don’t have a single racist person in the building. Mr. Fuqua’s friends probably do love him in spite of the color his skin. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to fund his next project. But he has to realize that he lives in a world that has trained him to believe that as “the chosen negro,” it is now his job to align his values with those in power and to undermine the efforts of those who seek fairness and equality in our society. He doesn’t have to lead the charge against racism, but I am hopeful that he won’t continue to blindly obstruct it.
Personally, I would prefer that Antoine continue to make good movies, and judge talent fairly (I can’t wait to see his latest flick). He’s done a great job of creating compelling roles for talented black actors and actresses. The fact that he has access to a large microphone does not qualify him to become Hollywood’s version of Dr. Cornel West. He’d be better off leaving this kind of analysis to the scholars.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Why did it take so long for this injustice to be corrected??????????

Alabama Pardons Scottsboro Boys 82 Years After Injustice
Alabama Officials Pardon Scottsboro Boys 82 Years After Injustice - Atlanta Black Star
Eighty-two years ago, all-white juries in Alabama imposed the death sentence on eight black teenagers falsely accused of raping two white women, setting the stage for a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Now, the Scottsboro boys are poised to be pardoned.
Jeremy King, a spokesman for Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, said he expects the bill to be signed this week allowing the posthumous pardons, reversing convictions that became a symbol of racial injustice in a case that led to the end of black exclusion from juries in the South.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Can Our Children Do Better? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS


Honors Classes: A Need for More Diversity

| Heather Wolpert-G...
Photo credit: iStockPhoto
I'm going to talk about a tough subject today, one that I'm sure might set off some folks. But it's a snapshot from a school site reality that is not ideal. I'm going to talk about race, culture, and educational opportunities. Scary topics, right?
I work in a middle school that many would call diverse, if you were looking at nationalities rather than race. The student body is 49 percent Latino and 49 percent Asian. The Asian demographic is, however, divided into many different countries, from China to Vietnam.
So it should go without saying that our honors classes, those classes helping to move students beyond simply meeting the standards and into more rigorous, pre-AP level discussions and material, should reflect that same break down, right? Wrong.

The Imbalance

Currently, our honors classes reflect a more 98 percent Asian and 2 percent Latino breakdown, and the adults in the school have been stymied. For despite the fact that students from every demographic are capable, the data forces us to reflect on the system overall in which we work. As a result, we found ourselves asking some very difficult questions:
  • Is the educational system set up to discriminate?
  • Is this discrimination being supported, if not encouraged, by many stakeholders, even the students themselves?
We complain that a business model is taking over education. But I would argue that we already function in a competitive system, a system that defines success in a very specific way, complete with winners and losers, and race seems to define one's place on the fence. The need for a bell curve seems very alive and well. Unfortunately, in many ways, it is dictated by the students themselves.
Case in point, I've heard it every year when I've asked certain achieving Latino kids why they aren't in honors: "I didn't try out. Those classes are for the Asian kids."
Case in point, I've heard it every year when I've suggested to certain struggling Asian kids that they apply for AVID classes: "No way! It's for Latinos."
The trodden paths created by many stakeholders as well as through students' misperceptions seem to start as early as third and fourth grades, and these pathways prove neigh impossible to leave. However, I would argue that in education, schools are not encouraged to be anything but competitive, and an alternative model is branded as progressive. In general, we work within a system where people expect to see a hierarchy in achievement because it's a familiar model to them. As a result, many districts' hands are tied in that they must offer honors classes, not just differentiate within the mainstream to both address an honor's student's needs while granting exposure of higher level work to mainstream students.
Then society complains when there is a gap.
But the fact is that many times these "gaps" are not about ability gaps. They start as morale gaps or gaps based on the misperception by the students or families that certain tracks are for certain kinds of students. It's why we seem to rarely see high-achieving Latino students applying to our honors classes while we often have even low-achieving Asian students applying without any expectation of acceptance. It's just what they feel is expected. And by demystifying the process of applying for honors classes, the Asian students have given themselves not only practice but the skill of persistence, and those prove most valuable to future tracking.
But I think this problem is reversible.


Here is another instance of over zealous Police!!!!!!!!!!!

New York Police Allegedly Pepper Spray a Five-Month Old Baby and Entire Family
The New York Police Department has caught a great deal of heat lately for hurting its citizens, especially minorities. This incident, however, might take the cake.
Police are accused of pepper spraying a woman along with her entire family, including a five month old, a four-year old and a two year old baby. The woman was being accused of trying to get onto a subway without paying, according to a lawsuit.
Marilyn Taylor claims that she was getting onto the subway with her children and their father. When she took the stroller through the service entrance, police accused her of trying not to pay the fare. She says that when she stopped her, they were incredibly aggressive.
The woman says that she knelt down to comfort her older child when the officer pepper sprayed the entire family. The children screamed and the two-year old started to vomit. The woman says she was then handcuffed. She also says that she and all of her children suffered serious eye injuries and emotional distress.
This incident will do nothing to reduce tension between the black community and the NYPD. A recent shooting of 16-year old Kimani Gray, which led to riots and allegations of police corruption.