Wednesday, August 26, 2009

U. Memphis Accused of Racism by Professor

An Open Letter to the Shelby County Legislative Delegation
With Regards to the 1960's Style of Black Tokenism
Practiced at the University of   Memphis Under
Joyce Raines and Ralph Faudree

To the Legislative Delegation:

This letter is addressed to you as representatives of the taxpayers of the state of Tennessee who contribute a substantial portion of the operating budget of the University of Memphis,  as trustees of state businesses who donate substantial funds to the University, and as  guardians of our students who pay tuition to the University. This letter  concerns  the operation of the University under the current President Shirley Raines and Provost Ralph Faudree, particularly with regards to none foreign born black faculty and graduate students at the University of Memphis.

While most major universities are aggressively trying to recruit, retain,  and promote qualified black faculty and graduate students, the University of Memphis,  under this  current administration, appears to operate under a 1960s form of tokenism, of marginalization, and of benign neglect of  those black  faculty members who have not been hand-picked by the administration for success, positions,  promotion, and salary, as well as an apparent lack of interest in black Phd candidates.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dr Boyce Education: 5 More Things College Students do to Ruin their Lives

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

Yesterday, I posted a list of 5 things college students do to ruin their lives. Now, I am going to give you 5 more things. This is an excerpt from my book, "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About College." Education is one of the most important things for our people, and we need to make sure our kids are prepared.

6)Choosing a major you hate or one that doesn't make as much money as you would like

You should not choose a major just because it makes money. You also should not necessarily choose a major just because it is exactly what you want to do. The best way to choose a major is to figure out what combination of things are going to make you happy in the long-run. I LOVE playing basketball, but I would not enjoy playing basketball for a living, since I am not good enough to make money at it. So, I play basketball in my spare time and I work as a finance professor, which I enjoy, but also pays the bills. You should choose a major based upon the ability of the major to take care of your long-term financial needs, as well as provide you with a job you can enjoy. So, don't pick something just because you love it, and don't pick it just because you have money or prestige. Find out what is going to be important to you in the long run and let that be the basis for your choice. You should also factor in what kind of life you want to have when you are older, say, 30, and how this job fits into that plan. Do you want to have a family? Well, they are going to need time and financial support. Does your future job give you that? Also, you should never let anyone choose a major for you. That is usually the world's quickest way to unhappiness. Instead, you should listen to the advice of others and then use that information to make a decision that works best for you. It is silly to not listen to your elders, but it is also silly to let them control your life.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Black News: Syracuse Professor Boyce Watkins speaks to students

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

As a college professor for the past 16 years, I've noticed two things about college: It can be a place to make your dreams come true, and it can also be a breeding ground for your worst nightmares. So, I thought I would compile a list of things that I've seen college students do to ruin their lives over the years. Hopefully, you and your child can learn from what I am about to share.

1) Sex, drugs, alcohol and gambling
College is a great place to pick up a lot of really bad habits. The worst part is that people tell you that these things are ok. It's not that all of these are bad things to do, but at the very least, they should be done in moderation. It doesn't matter if you are in college: If you have sex with too many people, you are going to catch a disease or get pregnant. If you use drugs, you are going to become a drug addict. If you drink too much, you will become an alcoholic. Gambling can also ruin your life as much as drugs or alcohol. I have several dozen friends with really messed up lives to this day, all of whom started their downward spiral on a college campus. You should not think that because you are in college, you are immune to these problems. If something doesn't feel right, then you shouldn't do it. Be mature enough to make smart decisions.

2) Falling for the credit card scams and ruining your credit
There are no serious credit card scams in college, only the little people who stand out in front of the bookstore trying to get you to take their "free money". Credit cards are very tempting when you are in school, especially since you are broke. If you decide to take one, make sure that you are very careful with how much you buy with the card, and that you have a careful plan to pay it all back. Putting yourself in over your head can easily destroy your credit. That is not a good cycle to get into. Not taking care of your student loan obligations can ruin your credit as well. You should manage your debt as best you can, because if you don't, it can take decades to fix the problems that are created.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

News: Obama’s Lawyers Go Nuts over This Ad

Jasmine Messiah, 8, says her Florida school doesn't offer vegan or vegetarian options for lunch.

The posters went up last week, 14 in Union Station. On each of the large displays, a thought bubble rises up from a picture of a beautiful 8-year-old: "President Obama's daughters get healthy school lunches. Why don't I?"

A Washington nonprofit that advocates nutrition-policy reform paid $20,000 to get its message across and carefully maneuvered Metro's tangle of regulations to display its posters. Metro gave it a go -- but the White House did not, according to the group. Within 24 hours of the signs' appearance, the White House asked thePhysicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to take down the ads, which feature Jasmine Messiah, a vegetarian who attends a Miami-Dade County public school that, she says, offers no vegetarian or vegan lunch options.


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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dr Boyce Watkins: Don’t Rethink the Decision to go to College

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

The following is an exerpt from the book, "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about College."

Before I tell you all the great things about college, and all the things that are going to happen before, during and after, we should start with a very basic question: why do you want to go to college anyway? I mean, you could be doing a lot of things: playing in the NBA, bustin rhymes with your boys on stage, acting in Hollywood, or just plain old "kickin it". More realistically, you could also just jump right out and get a job after high school. There was a time when that wasn't such a bad thing. My grandmother always tells me stories about the days when a high school diploma went a long way, when a house cost 8 cents, when dogs didn't bite and you could leave your front door open at night. But a lot of things have definitely changed since then, and a person must adjust to the times.

If you want to increase your chances to getting a good job one day, then getting a solid education under your belt is a great place to start. Once, I asked a friend if she was going to college. I think that she was the kind of person that wanted to make the quick money, rather than spend 4 years investing in her education. In her mind, it was all about making money right away, and college would be a waste of 4 years for her. When I asked her if she was going to go to college, she said "I like money too much to go to college". I said to her "I like money too much not to go to college!" So the fact is this: you need degrees to get to the cheese! To lay it down in concrete terms, a census bureau survey showed that college graduates earn nearly one million dollars more during their lifetime than people with high school diplomas. What would you do with your extra million?

Sure there are exceptions. I went to college with guys who never graduated and left early for the NBA to make more money than most of us will ever make. However, this is clearly the exception. For every Kobe Bryant or Allen Iverson, there are literally millions of other students who are not quite good enough to make the big money. For every Vivica Fox or Jenifer Aniston, there are a lot of women out there in Hollywood with roaches crawling across the bathroom floor. I am not saying this to stamp out the dreams you may have, it's a reminder that you should pursue higher education no matter what you decide you want to do. This guarantees that you will have something to fall back on in case your plans don't turn out quite the way you thought they would.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Help for Single Parents of African American Boys

Raising successful black boys alone, but not without help


By Donna M Owens

David Miller is a man on a mission. Simply put, he wants single mothers who are raising sons to know they're not alone.
So the former public school teacher - a co-founder of the youth-focused Urban Leadership Institute in Baltimore - has developed an ambitious national campaign called "Raising Him Alone." It's designed to help single mothers and their sons by providing a network of resources, advocacy and access to community-based services.
Since launching the initiative back in April, Miller has reached out to predominately African American audiences across the country, via workshops, seminars, online initiatives and more. Several celebrity moms have joined the crusade, including Dr. Mahalia Hines, a Chicago educator whose son is the rapper/actor, Common; and Sheron Smith, mother of entertainer, Mos Def.
"We have been to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other places, meeting both single mothers and grandmothers, because a lot of women are raising their grandchildren," said Miller, 41, a married father of three, with one son. "The experience has been fulfilling, but extremely alarming ... An inordinate number of women are raising boys alone. Their sons have no contact with their fathers, or the contact is sporadic or minimal at best."
According to Miller, the mothers he's met hail from a myriad social and economic backgrounds, and don't fit easy stereotypes. Some are have always been single, others are separated or divorced. A good many are educated, professional women, he notes, who have found themselves without the partners they believed would be around to co-parent their sons.
"Some of these sisters thought they would be married or with someone for the rest of their lives," he said. "Most never dreamed that they would be raising their children alone."
"Raising Him Alone" is funded by the Open Society Institute and its Campaign for Black Male Achievement. The organization has earmarked $12 million dollars over the next several years to address issues related to black boys and men.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Klansman Seale Might Walk Away From Kidnap and Murder Charges


JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court should decide whether a reputed Ku Klux Klansman should have been tried on a kidnapping charge 43 years after two black men were abducted and slain in rural Mississippi, a federal appeals court said Thursday.

A majority of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said other Civil Rights Era cold cases could be affected by a Supreme Court ruling on whether time had run out for prosecutors to charge James Ford Seale.

Seale, now 73, was convicted in 2007 of abducting two 19-year-old friends who authorities said were beaten, weighted down and thrown, possibly still alive, into a Mississippi River backwater in 1964.

Since the conviction, Seale's case has worked its way through the 5th Circuit, including an acquittal that was overturned.

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Questioning Black Leadership: While Barb’s In Charge -- Should You Really Watch Your Wallet?

By Dr. Debbie Stroman

As a leadership scholar and proud member of the Black Greek Nation, I find it quite appropriate to comment on the sad state of affairs regarding the recently filed Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority lawsuit. President Barbara McKinzie and the executive director are being charged by eight sorority members of financial impropriety to the extent they want them removed immediately from leadership. Since the case has not been heard in a court of law, one should only share opinions (humor permitted) on the specifics of the allegations. However, since this latest announcement seems to suggest a pattern of inadequate leadership in some of our most cherished Black non-profit organizations, I write because I am very concerned about why our community continues to cling on to leaders who repeatedly demonstrate an inability to be accountable, effective and in touch with today’s reality. A few years ago another Barbara, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority’s president Barbara Moore, was charged with similar activities and the smoke has yet to clear on the internal damages inflicted on the organization. Moore did finally admit to using the sorority’s funds for her own needs though. Both sororities are purposed as charitable organizations to foster sisterly love and service to others yet find themselves dedicating dollars and time to legal matters and media hysteria. Sisters are blogging and posting vitriolic comments about who’s to blame, why the organizations are even relevant and necessary, other sorority options and even thoughts of why the lawsuit doesn’t even matter. If only we can generate this type of intense dialogue to find practical solutions to important matters like our educational needs in the Black community.

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Professor Gates Plans To Meet With Officer Again Over Beers



WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The officer who arrested a top African-American professor said talks over beers Thursday evening at the White House were productive and the two men plan to meet again.

Sgt. James Crowley and Henry Louis Gates Jr. sat around a patio table with President Obama and Vice President Biden, drank beer, munched on snacks and talked about the arrest that has sparked debate about racial profiling and police procedures.

"It was a private discussion. It was a frank discussion," Crowley said of the meeting, but would not divulge specifics except to say that no one apologized.

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Black News: Legal Action Filed Against AKA President


Members of the country's oldest black sorority are suing to remove their president, alleging that she spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of the group's money on herself — some of it to pay for a wax statue in her own likeness.

In the suit filed in Washington, D.C., the Alpha Kappa Alpha members also alleged that international President Barbara McKinzie bought designer clothing, jewelry and lingerie with the sorority credit card. She then redeemed points the purchases earned on the card to buy a big-screen television and gym equipment, the lawsuit said.

"This is extraordinarily shocking if not illegal conduct," Edward W. Gray Jr., an attorney representing the plaintiffs suing the Chicago-based sorority, said Wednesday.

McKinzie denied what she called the lawsuit's "malicious allegations," saying they were "based on mischaracterizations and fabrications ... not befitting our ideals of sisterhood, ethics and service," according to a statement issued this week by the sorority.

The lawsuit also accused the sorority's board of directors of signing off on spending funds on McKinzie without the required approval by the group's membership. For example, the lawsuit says the board approved a monthly "pension stipend" of $4,000 for four years after she leaves office and purchased a $1 million life insurance policy for her. The suit demands McKinzie be fired and return money to the sorority.


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