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Barack Obama Held Accountable by Black Scholars

by on July 13, 2008

Syracuse, NY. – Syracuse University Professor Dr. Boyce Watkins has gone out of his way to remind the American public that Rev. Jesse Jackson’s relevance to the black community remains in tact. Watkins, who speaks on racial issues on CNN, CBS and other national media outlets, said that he feels the need to stand up in support of Rev. Jesse Jackson in the midst of his controversial comments.

“Jesse Jackson made a mistake by allowing his private disagreement to be aired to the public,” said Dr. Watkins, who is part of a BET special on Barack Obama to be released this summer. “But the truth is that he has shown support for Obama throughout his campaign and continues to be relevant in our struggle for equality.”

Dr. Watkins makes the clear point that Senator Obama has not yet been proven to be a Black leader. He also notes that racial inequality in America implies that Black leadership is still critical to the progress of the Black community.

“The question about black leadership is whether or not a person is going to show up on the front lines of the next Hurricane Katrina or Sean Bell shooting,” says Watkins, author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?” “Jesse Jackson has stood front and center, putting himself in harm’s way for decades, long before Senator Obama came on the scene.”

Dr. Watkins, who has taught at the college level for 15 years, reminds the public that he endorses Senator Obama. He does, however, remind African Americans to be sure that their cultural pride is not compromised so that one man can get elected.

“Barack Obama’s implication that black males are less moral or responsible than other ethnic groups feeds into other stereotypes,” says Dr. Watkins. “If he wants to see immoral behavior, he can also point to the culture of alcoholism that exists on college campuses. If you are going to condemn bad behavior, at least be fair about it. Rev. Jackson was correct that critique without context is only degrading.”

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?” He does regular commentary in national media, and is the founder of For more information, please visit ###

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