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Your Black Men: Russell Simmons, Dr. Boyce Watkins on BET

by on August 31, 2008

Dr. Boyce Watkins

Hey peeps,

I wanted to mention that Jesse Jackson and I are going to be on the radio Sunday morning at 9 am EST discussing the DNC and John McCain’s “interesting” VP choice.

– BET did a good job on the election special last week. Most of my words were on Economics, Education and Politics. I thought it was interesting to hear from other people I respect: Al Sharpton, Russell Simmons, Hill Harper, Nas, Marc Lamont Hill and David Banner. We don’t all agree, but I like the idea of us coming together to find solutions to American challenges.

– There is another BET special we’re doing very soon comparing Barack Obama to Martin Luther King, Jr. I love Barack Obama and I love Martin Luther King Jr., but I do not consider them to be similar.

– Thank you to Rev. Jackson, Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson for backing my fight for tenure here at Syracuse. I am in the process of explaining how Financial Activism in the Black Community is a necessary step in the Civil Rights struggle. I consider Black Public Scholarship to be one of the most significant and meaningful academic endeavors in America. If you wish to make a comment on my tenure case, please click here.

– Congrats to Senator Obama for holding it down at the DNC. He is a great inspiration and a first-class human being. My 24-year old brother looks like Senator Obama and even carries himself the same way. That’s actually kind of weird. Also, they both attended Ivy League schools. When my respected mentors Julianne Malveaux and Cornel West critiqued the DNC this week, I think it is important to realize that they are not criticizing Barack per se. Actually, they are critiquing America and the fact that Barack Obama must exercise the will of those who do not love Black people. This effect is similar to the fact that Osama Bin Laden may not get angry at every American who pays taxes to a government with destructive foreign policy. But truth be told, when you are reaching for one target, you end up taking out all that lies in front of it. That is what you see with Obama challengers, and even with Osama hurting innocent Americans. In both cases, the outcomes are unfortunate, even when the intent is legitimate. Similarly, we must recognize the need to still have constructive critical dialog in our national discourse: I will support Barack, but I will never be on the Obamamania Train. In other words, never fall in love with a politician (people in love are blurry eyed, irrational and blind to the flaws of the target of their affection)….just vote for Barack Obama and then tell him what you need him to do.


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