Thursday, April 30, 2009

Black News: Obama Breaks Promise to Black Farmers

As a senator, Barack Obama led the charge last year to pass a bill allowing black farmers to seek new discrimination claims against the Agriculture Department. Now he is president, and his administration so far is acting like it wants the potentially budget-busting lawsuits to go away.

Black Farmers


The change isn't sitting well with black farmers who thought they'd get a friendlier reception from Obama after years of resistance from President George W. Bush.
"You can't blame it on the Bush administration anymore," said John Boyd, head of the National Black Farmers Association, which has organized the lawsuits. "I can't figure out for the life of me why the president wouldn't want to implement a bill that he fought for as a U.S. senator."
At issue is a class-action lawsuit known as the Pigford case. Thousands of farmers sued USDA claiming they had for years been denied government loans and other assistance that routinely went to whites. The government settled in 1999 and has paid out nearly $1 billion in damages on almost 16,000 claims.

Click to read.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

White House Stunt Petrifies NYC


A jet flew over NYC this week and scared people on the ground.  Witnesses thought there would be another 9/11 incident, and the entire city was in a panic.  Click the image to watch!

Black News: The World Preps for Swine Flu

Cases of swine flu were confirmed early today in Israel and New Zealand, the first definitive proof that the dangerous new virus has spread to Asia.

The World Health Organization, which yesterday raised its pandemic threat level from 3 to 4, two levels below a full-scale pandemic, will not meet today to consider another increase, a spokesman said at a news conference.

While the agency said people should think carefully before traveling to or from areas known to be affected by the flu virus, spokesman Gregory Hartl said it considers formal travel restrictions and border closures ineffective because people who would be screened could be infected but not yet showing symptoms.

"Border controls don't work. Screening doesn't work," Hartl said, according to Reuters news service, describing the economically-damaging travel bans as basically pointless in public health terms.



Click to read.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

President Obama Gets Good Reviews for first 100 Days

The reporters assembled Thursday morning to hear the results of a new poll measuring public attitudes toward President Obama did their best to ferret out nuggets of bad news. How durable is the president's high job-approval rating (63 percent) and higher-yet personal rating (73 percent)? One bit of bad news and the rainbow disappears? asked one scribe. What about the narrative Republicans are advancing that Obama is a weak president who can be pushed around? Another wondered how much of Obama's "halo effect" could be attributed to the nation's "historic self-congratulations" over the breakthrough his election represented.

But voters aren't in a self-congratulatory mood. They're worried about the economy, and the Obama that emerges in the data is a strong leader with convictions who has held up despite the battering he's gotten in the three months since taking office. Pressed to point to red flags for Obama in the numbers, Pew Research Center president Andy Kohut pleaded, "I'm trying, I'm trying.


Click to read.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dr. Christopher Metzler: The Decision Made While America Slept

by Dr. Christopher Metzler, Georgetown University

As we worried about whether Michelle Obama should have touched the Queen, whether Bo (the White House dog) will be as famous as Barney and whether Levi Johnson of Sara Plain fame practiced safe sex all of the time, the Supreme Court of the United States was wading into the racial water with an American public that is now ensconced into "post-racial" cocoon because of the election of Barack Obama.

This week the Roberts court heard the case of Ricci, ET Al. In this case, several white and one Latino firefighter in New Haven Connecticut asked the Court to decide whether the city violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the United States Constitution by throwing out a promotion test in which the plaintiffs but no blacks scored high enough to be promoted. The rather clinical legal questions are:

  • Whether the city's failure to certify the results of promotional exams violated the disparate (or different) treatment provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Whether the city's failure to certify the results of the promotional exams also violated Title VII since Title VII makes it unlawful for employers to "adjust the scores of, use different cutoff scores for, or otherwise alter the results, of employment tests on the basis of race."
  • Whether the city's failure to certify the results of the promotional examinations violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

As clinical as these legal question are, they have significant real life political ramifications. Although the plaintiffs in this case are firefighters, the decision will affect employment law, affirmative action, diversity and they way in which employers and others seek to remedy the lingering effects of discrimination. The reality is that not everyone believes that discrimination still occurs in America since slavery has been outlawed, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been implemented and President Obama occupies the White House. Regardless of the position one takes on these issues, the significance of the Court's decision cannot be underestimated for many reasons, a few of which I have outlined below.

First, the Roberts court has not spoken on race in any significant way and is eager to do so. Of course, it is Justice Kennedy who will ultimately decide this case and both the liberal and conservative blocs of the Court will work to craft a decision which he can sign onto. The difficulty for the liberal wing of the Court is that this case is as much an ideological case as it is a legal one. Good old fashioned liberal ideology will require a decision which reaffirms the need for government to be zealous in forming race-conscious decisions. In order to uphold the city's decision, the liberal wing will have to convince Kennedy that the city's decision to refuse to certify the test results was based on the fact that the test impacted Black fire fighters negatively and worse because it ensured that none of them would be promoted.

Click to read from Dr. Metzler and other Black Scholars by clicking here.

Your Black News: David Duke Kicked out of the Czech Republic

A former US Ku Klux Klan chief, David Duke, seen here, arrested ...

A former US Ku Klux Klan chief arrested here on a speaking tour was freed during the night but will be forced to leave the country later Saturday, Czech police said.

David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Louisiana-founded Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, arrived in Prague on Friday at the invitation of a local far-right group, Narodni Odpor (National Resistance).

The 59-year-old US citizen had been due to give three lectures in Prague and Brno in the east of the country and present the Czech translation of his 1998 book "My Awakening."

He was arrested Friday afternoon in the Black Eagle restaurant in Prague's old town and questioned for several hours on suspicion of promoting movements seeking the suppression of human rights, police said.



Click to read.

Legal Profession Not Very Diverse

Glance at the Daily Business Review's annual yearbook of new partners at South Florida law firms and the dearth of minorities and women is quickly obvious. Only three black lawyers were promoted to partner by area firms who responded to the DBR's survey.

One black woman was promoted to partner at Holland & Knight and another two at Greenberg Traurig.

Undeterred by the economy and the racial and gender barriers, minority and women lawyers press on.

Detra Shaw-Wilder, a black litigation shareholder at Coral Gables-based Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, says she can see progress in the representation of women and minorities in the partnership ranks at South Florida law firms -- but it has been gradual.

Click to read.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Black Politics: Barack Obama Goes After Credit Card Companies

Ramping up his campaign to crack down on credit cards, President Obama met Thursday with more than a dozen executives of card-issuing companies to press his case for new consumer protections.

Obama, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and others met with executives of leading financial institutions like Visa (V, Fortune 500), American Express (AXP, Fortune 500), Mastercard (MA, Fortune 500), Capital One (COF, Fortune 500), and several big banks like Citigroup (C, Fortune 500), JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) and Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500).

The White House meeting came a day after credit card legislation opposed by the financial services industry moved forward on Capitol Hill. The House Financial Services Committee voted 48-19 to approve a bill to clamp down on rates and fees; nine Republicans joined the panel's Democrats in voting for it.

Click to read.

Black Politics: Somalia PM Speaks on Pirate Problem

Somalia's prime minister told CNN Thursday that the international naval patrols in the Gulf of Aden are not solving the problem of piracy in the region.

Somalia's prime minister says the international naval patrols are having little effect on the piracy problem.

Somalia's prime minister says the international naval patrols are having little effect on the piracy problem.

Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke pointed to the recent increase in pirate attacks as evidence, and called for the U.N. arms embargo on Somalia to be lifted so the government can fight back against the pirates and local militant Islamist groups.

"One of our biggest problems is that al-Shabaab has AK-47s, and the pirates have AK-47s, and the government has AK-47s," the prime minister told CNN's David McKenzie in Nairobi, Kenya.

"You can't expect the government to win against such a problem. The only way is to have sufficient capability, and it starts with lifting the arms embargo. You know, we have been handicapped by those sanctions." Video Watch more from Somalia's PM »

The arms embargo on Somalia has been in effect for more than 16 years. Most serviceable weapons and almost all ammunition currently available in the country have been delivered since 1992, in violation of the embargo, according to the U.N. Security Council.


Click to read.

Dr. Ron Walters: Pres. Obama Skipping Racism Conference Not a Good Idea

by Dr. Ronald Walters, University of Maryland

I am missing something here.  President Barack Obama just went to Europe and Iraq and made speeches saying that he would be deferential to Communist China,  that he would meet without conditions with the leadership of Iran and that he wanted to open up a new relationship with the Islamic world.  Then he went to the Conference of the Americas in Trinidad and shook the hand of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela who has said some devilish things about America and the Bush administration.  But the key issue that took the conference over was the American overture to Cuba to talk, in response to Raul Castro’s statement that he would talk with the U. S. and that everything would be on the table.  Moreover, the Obama administration has said that it wanted to open up a new chapter in its relationship with the United Nations.  To that end, it has appointed an African American  Ambassador and put in its application for a seat on the Human Rights Commission.  Against this background, the decision of the Obama administration not to go to the United Nations Conference On Racism in Geneva, Switzerland April 20-24 would appear to be a powerful refutation of this relatively liberal approach to the international community it has established.

Click to read.

Black News: NY Pastor Gets $600K Pay Package

Reverend Brad Braxton.

Dr Boyce Watkins

I read today about the financial compensation package of pastor Brad Braxton of the New Riverside Church in Manhattan.  Here is the breakdown of Braxton’s compensation:

  • $250,000 in salary.
  • $11,500 monthly housing allowance.
  • Private school tuition for his child.
  • A full-time maid.
  • Entertainment, travel and "professional development" allowances.
  • Pension and life insurance benefits.
  • An equity allowance for Braxton to save up to buy a home.
  • On top of that, Braxton immediately hired a new second in command at more than $300,000 a year.

    The total value of the package is estimated to be $600,000 per year. 

    All I can say is “wow”.  No disrespect to this man or his congregation, but he would NOT be preaching at my church.  What was most problematic about the church’s decision to give Braxton such a ridiculous compensation package was that they didn’t seem to clear it with the membership, many of whom are filing suit over Braxton’s pay. As a Finance Professor, I must admit that I personally become uncomfortable hearing men and women of God talking about money more than I do.  I must disagree with Rev. TD Jakes, who said that “Jesus is a product”.  Sorry brother, Nikes are a product.  Cheeseburgers are a product.  Jesus is a spirit that should lead us to pursue a good that is greater than our bank accounts.  I am not sure if many pastors agree with that assessment. 

  • Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    Black Politics: Al Sharpton Hit with Massive Fine

    The Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network have reportedly been fined $285,000 for violating federal election rules during his 2004 bid for president.
    The Federal Election Commission, in a decision to be made public next month, found Sharpton's Democratic primary campaign accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from private sources, according to the New York Post.

    Click to read.

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    Obama’s Boycott of the Racism Conference

    by Dr. Christopher Metzler, Georgetown University

    As President Obama shook hands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, he was willing to take the political heat. He said that he was not concerned about the politics of the hand shake and more concerned about extending an open hand to nations hostile to the U.S. The open hand, it seems, is not so open after all. The President announced that, like the Bush Administration, the United States will boycott the world anti-racism conference (Durban II), which opens in Geneva today. According to the President, "I would love to be involved in a useful conference that addressed continuing issues of racism and discrimination around the globe. We expressed in the run-up to this conference our concerns that if you adopted all of the language from 2001, that's not something we can sign up for. "Hopefully some concrete steps come out of the conference that we can partner with other countries on to actually reduce discrimination around the globe, but this wasn't an opportunity to do it."

    obama-rice.jpgHe is not willing to take the political heat in this case because there is language criticizing Israel and the West in the final document. As the world celebrates the election of the first Black President, the United States boycotts the world conference against racism. Symbolism, it seems has met political reality.

    On this issue, it is difficult to reconcile the President's rhetoric with his actions. The President has repeatedly said that his policy is to talk with those with whom he disagrees. He is talking to Chavez, to Ahmadinejad, to Medvedev and Kim but cannot talk to human rights defenders about the best way to address the continuing significance of racism world wide? Surely the message cannot be that the United States does not believe that the right to be free from racism is not a basic human right.

    Click to read more from our Black Scholar’s Blog.

    Your Black News: Oprah Cancels her Columbine Show

    Cassie Sadusky, 25, left, and her sister Jetta, 22, visit the gravesites of Columbine students Corey DePooter and Rachel Scott at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens near Littleton, Colo., on Monday.

    Cassie Sadusky, 25, left, and her sister Jetta, 22, visit the gravesites of Columbine students Corey DePooter and Rachel Scott at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens near Littleton, Colo., on Monday. (Ed Andrieski/Associated Press)

    U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey cancelled Monday's taped show marking the 10th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings, saying she felt it focused too much on the shooters rather than the victims.

    "I decided to pull the Columbine show today. After reviewing it, I thought it focused too much on the killers. Today, hold a thought for the Columbine community. This is a hard day for them," Winfrey wrote on and her Facebook page.

    Winfrey's action came amid muted commemorations of the massacre in the Denver, Colo., suburb of Littleton that claimed the lives of 12 students and a teacher. Another 26 people were wounded.

    Click to read.

    Black Politics: Cop Under Fire for Joking about Killing a Black Man

    The NAACP is telling the police department in Erie, PA to fire an officer who was caught on camera making jokes about shooting a Black man in the head.  Click the image to watch.


    Monday, April 20, 2009

    Your Black Money: Russell Simmons Defends the RushCard to Dr. Boyce Watkins, New York Times


    To the YourBlackWorld family:  Some of you saw my recent critique of the RushCard, the new prepaid debit card issued by Russell Simmons.  Some took my article about the RushCard and interview about the Rushcard on BBC World news and The New York Times to imply that I have serious problems with the way Russell Simmons does business.  While I do not feel that Russell, nor anyone else, is above being critiqued by the Black community, it should be made clear that I respect much of Simmons’ work, especially what he has done to reduce the severity of the drug laws that incarcerate so many Black men across America. 

    I must admit that I’ve been disturbed by the recent trend of African American urban role models lending themselves out to companies such as Rent-a-Center to encourage people of color to participate in arguably one-sided financial transactions.  But I must be clear when I say that the RushCard is not necessarily a bad deal for those who need it.  My greatest challenge to President Obama is to find ways to ensure that all Americans have access to basic services, such as bank accounts, so they are not forced to pay high fees in order to access their own money.  I cannot endorse an argument which states that Russell is necessarily a philanthropist (as his ads claim) because his company provides an option that improves upon the horrific options already in place.  So, while I agree 100% that the RushCard is better than check cashing venues in the Black community, my greatest concern is that many members of the urban poor are still paying the high cost of poverty in America.  It is my hope that Russell sincerely fulfills his role as philanthropist, leader and financial enabler by genuinely working to solve critical liquidity and financial literacy problems in urban America.  I have complete faith that he can accomplish whatever he puts his mind to.

    So, out of fairness to Russell, I want all of you to see his response to the New York Times piece, which is written below.  My goal is not to think for you, it’s to encourage you to think for yourself.

     Click to read.

    Sunday, April 19, 2009

    Black Politics: Condi Asks for Same Speaking Fee as GW

    Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is charging the same fee — $150,000 — per speech as does former President George W. Bush.
    So, as Bush emerges again into the public eye — he threw out the first pitch of the season at the Texas Rangers’ home opener — he’s finding that he’s not the biggest star of his own administration.

    Information about the speech fees Rice and Bush charge comes from a corporate political adviser who asked the Washington Speakers Bureau about their speaking fees.
    Bush spoke last month in Calgary at a private event hosted by tinePublic Inc. He is scheduled to speak before the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan on May 28, his first domestic post-presidency speech.

    Click to read.

    Black News: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Subject to Ethics Investigation

    A congressional ethics panel is investigating Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) after allegations last year that some of his associates had discussed helping then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich with fundraising if Blagojevich agreed to appoint Jackson to the seat vacated by then-Sen. Barack Obama.

    In a statement, Jackson's office said the congressman was contacted last week by the Office of Congressional Ethics, a panel established last year and made up of non-lawmakers that looks into possible ethics violations by House members. Jackson denied any wrongdoing, as he did last fall when a criminal complaint against Blagojevich said that supporters of "Senate Candidate A" had offered to raise the embattled governor $1.5 million if he picked a certain Senate aspirant. Jackson has acknowledged he was the person being referred to.


    Click to read.

    Saturday, April 18, 2009

    Barack Obama Boycotts Meeting on Racism

    The Obama administration will boycott "with regret" a U.N. conference on racism next week over objectionable language in the meeting's final document that could single out Israel for criticism and restrict free speech, the State Department said Saturday.

    The decision follows weeks of furious internal debate and will likely please Israel and Jewish groups that lobbied against U.S. participation. But the move upset human rights advocates and some in the African-American community who had hoped that President Obama, the nation's first black president, would send an official delegation.

    The administration had wanted to attend the April 20-25 meeting in Geneva, although it warned in late February it would not go unless significant changes were made to the draft text.


    Click to read.

    President Obama Demands Budget Cuts

    President Obama said Saturday he will ask all of his department and agency heads for specific proposals for cutting their budgets at his Cabinet meeting early next week as he searches for ways to streamline government spending.

    Obama, who is attending the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad this weekend, said in his weekly radio and Internet address that he would make the request for cuts Monday at a Cabinet meeting.

    "In the coming weeks, I will be announcing the elimination of dozens of government programs shown to be wasteful or ineffective," he said. "In this effort, there will be no sacred cows and no pet projects. All across America, families are making hard choices, and it's time their government did the same."

    While discussing the need for more efficient government, Obama announced he was filling an administration position that caused him trouble on the last try. Obama said Jeffrey Zients, a CEO, management consultant and entrepreneur, will join the administration as the government's chief performance officer and will also serve as deputy director for management of the Office of Management and Budget. He will work to streamline processes and cut costs, Obama said.


    Click to read.

    Friday, April 17, 2009

    Black Entertainment News: Why CNN Got Rid of DL Hughley

    Remember the short-lived show “DL Hughley Breaks the News”?  Well, it turns out that CNN ditched Hughley because thousands of Americans, black and white, found his humor to be offensive and pathetic.  Read some of the comments that appeared on the New York Times blog:

  • CNN please remove D.L. Hughleys’ new show! There is no space in this evolving society for such baffonery! Please seek to have ethnic diversity without embrassment! Why not a counter-part (African, Asian, Latino etc.) such as a Bill Maher. Let’s view someone and something where we can sit with our diverse friends and neighbors and not feel the need to flee ! Thank you, in advance for considering prompt action is removing this show.

    — Julie Everett

  • 2. October 25, 2008 10:35 pm Link

    I am absolutely appalled at the content of this show. Why must we continue to revisit old stereotypes for the sake of “comedy?” This is truly an insult and a slap in the face. Where is our dignity? Senator Barak Obama does not need this type of connection. D. L. Hughley is very talented and can be funny and continue to succeed without the derogations.

    — Judith Augustus

  • 3. October 25, 2008 10:47 pm Link

    CNN’s D.L. Hughley Show is a disgrace. D.L. Hughley is a Uncle Tom. We are trying to move this country in a new direction away from derrogatory comments and stereotypes. Hughley has made it possible for other cultures to look at African-Americans in a negative light. Just because Hughley is an African-American does not make it OK. CNN has masterfully accomplished what it has been itching to say but couldn’t because they don’t have any African-American anchors so they hired a Uncle Tom to do the lynching for them. There is nothing funny about calling Senator Obama a pimp. We have serious issues facing U.S. and if Senator Obama is elected President, we need ALL Americans to take him seriously.

    — Theresa

  • Click to read more comments on DL Hughley

  • Genma Holmes: Tea Parties, Obama and Fox News

    Genma Holmes,

    I attended several tea parties yesterday. An informed consumer makes a better a tax payer in my book. Paying taxes is not a Democrat or Republican issue to me. It is an issue that everyone in this country should be paying attention to, especially during this time of economic chaos. As I listened to the crowds yelling about the President, I think the message of why they were gathering in the first place was lost in the screaming.

    One of the top grievances of the organizers was the hundreds of billions of dollars in recent taxpayer subsidies to automakers, banks and Wall Street investment giants. This was a grass roots movement that started in Tennessee. Many concerned citizens, black and white, red and yellow, were disgusted by executive bonuses and the lack of accountability to the taxpayers who are now "investors" in these global companies. Being investors in companies that many Americans do not consider good investments should have been a time for not only educating taxpayers but elected officials as well.

    Click to read more from Genma Holmes and other Black authors.


    Black News: Black Male Unemployment Through the Roof

    A recent study indicates that of the major ethnic groups impacted by unemployment during the current U.S. recession, Black men have experienced the greatest job losses since the crisis officially began in November 2007.

    "What's missing from national media coverage of this recession is plainly a great deal of [honesty] about who's losing their jobs. This is overwhelmingly a blue-collar, retail sales, low-level recession," said Andrew Sum, professor of economics and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., which published the study.

    "The Impacts of the 2007-2009 National Recession on Male Employment in the U.S. through January 2009; The Massive Concentration of Job Losses Among Males Especially Black Men and Blue Collar Workers" tracked employment losses in the recession across gender groups of workers overall, and in the four major ethnicities— Asian, Black, Hispanic and White. Thestudy found that:


    Click to read.

    Your Black News: DC, Michigan Unemployment Among Highest in the Nation

    Unemployment rose in 46 states and Washington, D.C., in March, with Michigan leading the way at 12.6%, the government said Friday.

    The most dramatic increase was in Oregon, which went from 10.7% to 12.1% - the second-highest among the states.

    Oregon was followed by South Carolina, at 11.4% in March, and California, at 11.2%.

    The Michigan job market has been hit hard by the battered auto industry. The Big Three carmakers have shed tens of thousands of jobs because of giant corporate losses and waning demand for vehicles.

    In Oregon, employment is heavily reliant on the lumber industry, which has suffered from the decline in homebuilding in California and elsewhere.


    Click to read.

    Your Black Politics: Tea Parties, Obama and Fox News

    by Genma Holmes,

    I attended several tea parties yesterday. An informed consumer makes a better a tax payer in my book. Paying taxes is not a Democrat or Republican issue to me. It is an issue that everyone in this country should be paying attention too, especially during this time of economic chaos. As I listened to the crowds yelling about the President, I think the message of why they were gathering in the first place was lost in the screaming.

    One of the top grievances of the organizers was the hundreds of billions of dollars in recent taxpayer subsidies to automakers, banks and Wall Street investment giants. This was a grass root movement that started in Tennessee. Many concerned citizens, black and white, red and yellow, were disgusted by executive bonuses and lack of accountability to the taxpayers who are now "investors" in these global companies. Being investors in companies that many Americans do not consider are good investments, tea parties should have been a time for not only educating the stockholders but elected officials.
    When Fox News signed on to the project, the messages became more Palinish vibe in its delivery and context. Fox's nightly commentators started puffing air into the grass root movement and it suddenly became a national event.

    Click to read.

    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    Morehouse Professor Writes Open Letter to Barack Obama

    Dr. Henrie M. Treadwell

    I applaud your recent creation of the White House Council on Women and Girls to help ensure we are treated equally in public policies, by employers and in every other aspect of American society. I must also urge, however, that you place a similar emphasis on men and boys, particularly young men of color, who face some of the steepest hurdles in American society.

    The reasons cited in forming the new council are just -- throughout our nation's history women have often been treated as second-class citizens when it comes to earning a livelihood, climbing the corporate ladder and even exercising the delayed right to vote. Let us not forget that the Equal Rights Amendment was first drafted in 1923--and has yet to be ratified.

    To be sure, the new council will focus attention on continuing the progress that has been made through the decades as women have crashed through the glass ceiling.

    But I would argue that young men of color face even more daunting circumstances. Young men of color face challenges ranging from a justice system that disproportionately incarcerates them to media and entertainment industries quick to portray them as worthless, violent and criminal. Even before the recession, our young men of color faced a bleak job market where discrimination, globalization and structural change made it difficult for them to find good jobs and succeed in life. With the nation's economy in a tailspin, the unemployment of young men of color has been spiraling out of control.

    Consider this sampling of data:

    * High school graduation rates for males of color--African Americans (42.8 percent), Native American/Alaska Natives (47 percent) and Hispanics (48 percent)--are far lower than for whites (70.8 percent).
    * Minority youths are disproportionately in the juvenile justice system: African Americans (1,004 per 100,000), American Indians (632 per 100,000) and Latinos (485 per 100,000) compared with whites (212 per 100,000).
    * More than 29 percent of African-American boys who are 15-years-old today are likely to go to prison at some point in their lives, compared with 4.4 percent of white boys the same age.
    * The mortality rate from homicide for African-American boys ages 15-17 is 34.4 per 100,000, compared with 2.4 per 100,000 for non-Hispanic white boys.

    Click to read more from Dr. Treadwell and other Black scholars.

    Does the Economy Reflect a Bankrupt Culture? Meet Lawrence Summers….Harvard University

    Frank Rich, The New York Times

    "I am pronouncing the depression over!" declared CNBC's irrepressible Jim Cramer on April 2. The next day the unemployment rate, already at the highest level in 25 years, jumped yet again, but Cramer wasn't thinking about the 663,000 jobs that disappeared in March. He was thinking about the market. Mad money. Fast money. Big money. The Dow, after all, has rallied in the weeks since Timothy Geithner announced his bank bailout 2.0. Par-tay! On Wednesday, Cramer rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, in celebration of the 1,000th broadcast of his nightly stock-tip jamboree.

    Given Cramer's track record on those tips, there's no reason to believe he's right this time. But for the sake of argument, let's say he is. (And let's hope he is.) The question then arises: What, if anything, have we learned from this decade's man-made economic disaster? It wasn't just trillions of dollars of wealth that went poof in the bubble. Certain American values also crumbled and vanished. Making quick killings by reckless gambling in the markets - rather than by investing long-term in new products, innovations, technologies or services that might grow and benefit America and the world - became the holy grail in the upper echelons of finance.

    Click to read.

    Black Politics: Texas Gov. Says Obama Might Make Texas Secede from the Union

    Per the New York Post, "Tens of thousands of protesters -- some dressed in colonial wigs with tea bags hanging from their eyeglasses -- staged boisterous protests modeled after the Boston Tea Party all around the country yesterday, rallying against financial bailouts and the Obama administration's tax and spending plans."
    “The hundreds of grassroots events staged around the nation to protest America's tax burden showcased successful efforts by conservatives to mobilize thousands of participants via Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. Liberals once dominated that realm,” the Washington Times adds.

    The New York Times: “It was hard to determine from the moderate turnout just how effective the parties would be. In Philadelphia, a rally in Center City drew about 200 rain-soaked participants… In Pensacola, Fla., about 500 protesters lined a busy street, some waving ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flags and carrying signs reading ‘Got Pork?’ and ‘D.C.: District of Corruption.’ In Austin, Tex., Gov. Rick Perry energized a crowd of about 1,000 by accusing the Obama administration of restricting states’ rights and vaguely suggesting that Texas might want to secede from the union.”

    The AP has more on what Perry said. “Later, answering news reporters' questions, Perry suggested Texans might at some point get so fed up they would want to secede from the union, though he said he sees no reason why Texas should do that. ‘There's a lot of different scenarios,’ Perry said. ‘We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot.’”


    Click to read.

    Dr Boyce Watkins: How Bill O’Reilly Got me….Sort of

    The New York Times wrote an interesting article about how Bill O’Reilly does his ambush interviews. I am not a fan of O’Reilly and many of you saw the times he chose to come after me last year in response to our protests against his racist tactics.  I personally don’t mind the existence of journalists like O’Reilly and never let him bother me too much.  But I thought that some of you might want to know a bit more of the background behind how he attacks people he has personal beefs with.  I actually find his existence to be a bit enjoyable….like watching a drunken frat boy urinating in the front seat of his car.  O’Reilly is paying the bills in the best way he knows how, and I actually give him credit for his ability to take advantage of the racism that exists within our nation.  In most countries around the world, O’Reilly wouldn’t have any viewers.  But in America, he has the #1 cable news show in the country.  I can’t even hate on that. America built O’Reilly and for the amount of money he’s making, he will probably continuing playing this role forever.

    The article is below:


    When Bill O’Reilly’s camera crew ambushed Mike Hoyt at a bus stop in Teaneck, N.J., a few months ago, the on-camera confrontation and the microphone in his face reminded him, oddly enough, of the “60 Minutes” interviewer Mike Wallace.

    Fox News

    Michael Hoyt, left, of The Columbia Journalism Review is interviewed by Dan Bank of “The O’Reilly Factor.”

    Mr. Hoyt, executive editor of The Columbia Journalism Review, was well-versed in the venerable art of the on-camera, on-the-street confrontation, perfected by Mr. Wallace and other hard-charging television journalists in decades past. Now, in an appropriation of Mr. Wallace’s techniques, ambush interviews have become a distinguishing feature of Mr. O’Reilly’s program on the Fox News Channel.

    Mr. Hoyt, one of more than 50 people that Mr. O’Reilly’s young producers have confronted in the past three years, said the interviews were “really just an attempt to make you look bad.” In almost every case Mr. O’Reilly uses the aggressive interviews to campaign for his point of view.

    Mr. O’Reilly, the right-leaning commentator who has had the highest-rated cable show for about eight years, has called the interviews a way to hold people accountable for their actions. “When the bad guys won’t comment, when they run and hide, we will find them,” he said on “The O’Reilly Factor” recently.

    Click to read.

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    Missing the Point: Fed Chairman Bernanke Says Blacks Lack Financial Literacy

    American minorities need to "strengthen their financial literacy," Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told students and faculty at Atlanta's historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta today.

    On a day when President Obama delivered an Economic Crisis 101 lecture to students and faculty at Georgetown University, Bernanke was doing the same thing in Atlanta.

    During an expansive Q-and-A session with Morehouse students after his speech, Bernanke was asked about the household wealth gap between whites and blacks in America.

    "It’s absolutely right the difference between minority and white wealth is very significant, and part of that is related to income levels where whites have a higher average income," Bernanke said. "But even if you control for income level, you find minorities have gathered less wealth."


    Click to read.

    Financial Expert Dr. Boyce Watkins Talks Predatory Lending on the BBC

    Dr. Boyce Watkins, one of the world’s leading Financial experts and Black Social commentators, spoke with BBC World news about the RushCard, which has been heavily adopted in Black communities.

    Watkins wrote this commentary about the Rushcard and you can click the image below to listen in on the interview.  Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and Financial Writer for America Online.

    Black Politics: Numbers Drop for Black Men in Prison for Drugs

    For the first time since the war on drugs became a national law enforcement obsession in the mid-1980s, the number of African-Americans in state prisons for drug offenses has declined, a criminal justice reform organization said.

    The number of whites in state prison for drugs rose 42.6 percent since 1999, while  blacks dropped 21.6 percent.

    The number of whites in state prison for drugs rose 42.6 percent since 1999, while blacks dropped 21.6 percent.

    A study released Tuesday by the Sentencing Project found a 21.6 percent drop in the number of blacks incarcerated for drug offenses, a decline of 31,000 people, from 1999 to 2005.

    The corresponding number of whites in state prisons for drug offenses rose 42.6 percent, or by more than 21,000 people, while the number of Hispanics was virtually unchanged, according to "The Changing Racial Dynamics of the War on Drugs."

    The study, authored by Executive Director Marc Mauer, found that the differences between black and white imprisonments for drug crimes are partly because of how police target suspects and court sentencing guidelines, which vary by state.

    Also, there has been a decrease in the use of crack cocaine in predominantly minority urban neighborhoods and an increase in methamphetamine abuse in many primarily white rural areas, Mauer said Wednesday.

    Click to read.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    For the Obamas, It’s All About the Dog

    The First Dog made his debut on the South Lawn of the White House Tuesday afternoon before at least 60 members of the press.

    "Here he is," President Obama said as he and his family walked out of the house.

    "I've finally got a friend; it took some time," the president joked at one point when a reporter made a reference to President Harry Truman's famous advice that "if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."

    Bo Obama, a Portuguese water dog, frolicked with his new owners before a herd of cameras and scribes, before the president, first lady and the Obama daughters took him for a walk down the hill toward the fountain and the first lady's new garden.

    "He's a star; he's got star quality," Obama said. "He's a rock star."

    The long-awaited and much-talked-about arrival of Bo, perhaps the most famous dog in America, fulfilled a promise Obama made to his daughters during the election.

    "That's a good-looking dog," the president added. "The only concern we have is apparently Portuguese water dogs like tomatoes. Michelle's garden is in danger."


    Click to read.

    Monday, April 13, 2009

    Black News: US Now the “Number One Enemy” for Somali “Pirates”

    The rescue of an American ship captain held at gunpoint in a daring operation that left three pirates dead and ended a five-day standoff drew threats of retaliation from angry pirates Monday.

    Those threats raised fears for the safety of some 230 foreign sailors still held hostage in more than a dozen ships anchored off the coast of lawless Somalia.

    "From now on, if we capture foreign ships and their respective countries try to attack us, we will kill them (the hostages)," Jamac Habeb, a 30-year-old pirate, said from one of Somalia's piracy hubs, Eyl. "(U.S. forces have) become our No. 1 enemy."

    A Mogadishu airport staff member said mortar shells were fired toward the airport as a plane carrying U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., took off safely from the Somali capital on Monday.


    Click to read.

    Your Black Health: Blacks Less Likely to Get Best Lung Cancer Treatment

    Black patients with lung cancer are less likely than white patients to receive recommended chemotherapy and surgery, a new study finds.

    Disparities in lung cancer treatments were as large in 2002 as they were back in the early 1990s, even though there have been efforts to decrease those inequalities in treatment, the study said.

    "This study shows what most of the previous research has shown -- that disparities in treatment patterns [still exist] between blacks and whites," said Katherine S. Virgo, director of health services research the American Cancer Society, who was not involved in the study.

    The findings were published online April 13 in the journalCancer.

    For the study, Dale Hardy, of the University of Texas School of Public Health, and colleagues collected data on 83,101 people 65 and older with non-small cell lung cancer -- the most common form of lung cancer -- between 1991 and 2002.


    Click to read.

    Sunday, April 12, 2009

    Africa News: Zimbabwe Stops Using Its Own Currency


    Zimbabwe will not use its own local currency for at least a year, a state newspaper reported on Sunday, while it tries to repair an economy which critics say was destroyed by President Robert Mugabe.

    The southern African state has allowed the use of multiple foreign currencies since January to stem hyperinflation which had rocketed to over 230 million percent and left the Zimbabwe dollar almost worthless.

    The state-controlled Sunday Mail said the unity government of Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai decided the Zimbabwe dollar should only be reintroduced when industrial output reaches about 60 percent of capacity from the current 20 percent average.

    "The Zimbabwe dollar will be out for at least a year. We resolved that there will be no immediate plans to (re)introduce the money because there is nothing to support and hold its value," the newspaper quoted Economic Planning and Development Minister Elton Mangoma as saying.

    Click to read.

    Fox News Still Getting Attacked by Black Students

    Fox News is not off the hook just yet.  A video criticizing Fox News’ portrayal of African Americans has received tens of thousands of views on Youtube.  Click the image to watch!


    Black Political News: Obamas Choose the First Puppy

    US Senator Ted Kennedy and his Portuguese water dog, Splash (27/11/2006)

    Who let the dog out?

    That's the Washington mystery du jour.

    The identity of the first puppy — the one that the Washington press corps has been yelping about for months, the one President Obama has seemed to delight in dropping hints about -- leaked out yesterday. This despite White House efforts to delay the news until the big debut planned for Tuesday afternoon.

    The little guy is a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog given to the Obama girls as a gift by that Portuguese water dog-lovin' senator himself, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts. The girls named it Bo — and let it be noted that you learned that here first. Malia and Sasha chose the name, because their cousins have a cat named Bo and because first lady Michelle Obama's father was nicknamed Diddley, a source said. (Get it? Bo . . . Diddley?)

    Click to read.

    Saturday, April 11, 2009

    Black Politics: The Great Johnny Cochran


    In case you didn’t get a chance to see the great Johnny Cochran in action, you really missed something.  Johnny is no longer with us, but we are YourBlackWorld wanted to pay tribute to one of the most respected Black attorneys of all time.  Click the image below in order to see Johnny Cochran’s closing argument during the OJ Simpson Trial!


    Who Are the Top 10 Public Scholars in America?


    by Dr. Boyce Watkins

    I wake up with strange thoughts on my brain. This morning, I woke up thinking about which Black scholars I feel have given the most to the Black community. My respect and appreciation for all Black scholars (even those who do not have PhDs) is without limit. But there are some that I feel have gone out of their way to be progressive enough to think outside the box and to have a true and real impact on the Black community.

    I do not believe that scholarly contributions to the Black community are defined by writing a bunch of research papers that no one ever reads (although I’ve done plenty of that in my own career as part of my job description). I don’t think your contribution is captured by whether or not you have a chair at Harvard University (interacting with 4 or 5 privileged Black students a year) – although it’s okay to have a chaired position at Harvard. Much of the elitism of academia has always been a turnoff to me, since I believe the proof is in the potato salad. If your work is affecting real Black people and changing real Black lives, then you have my respect. If you are sitting in the ivory tower, claiming the masters house and hiding behind artificially constructed, racially-biased historical privilege which allows you to presume that you are better than everyone else, then you will have to be on someone else’s list. My belief is that a scholar should have SCHOLARLY IMPACT – which can be measured by the breadth and depth of impact your work has had on your target audience, as well as the size and scope of that audience. A journal with 50 readers per year does not possess sufficient breadth, depth or quality of impact to merit a meaningful career, in my opinion. Sure, it’s fun to publish in those journals, but after that, you may want to get out here and make a difference in that scary place called “the real world”.

    Of course my opinion is not the only one out there. But I must confess that I was shocked at how many of our intellectual leaders aren’t leading anyone: many of us are quick to follow and promote the questionable norms created by our academic predecessors. We in academia are not much different from politicians who forget to serve their constituents, or pastors who, in their own quest for personal power, neglect to serve their Lord. Such small thinking is incredibly dangerous in Black America, since we really need our scholars to solve vital problems in our communities. We must accompany our capacity with sufficient courage to speak openly and honestly about the issues that affect those we love. In physics, force equals mass times acceleration, which means that we must connect our scholarly mass with social acceleration to create the necessary force to solve real and meaningful problems.

    My dissertation chair (Rene Stulz at Ohio State University), is one of the leading 3 non-Black Financial scholars in the world (as measured by the number of publications in our so-called premier academic journals). He thought I was insane for choosing the career path that I picked, especially since he seemed to believe that he'd laid out the golden path for me as a Financial scholar (you know, all that Ivy League professor, top journal stuff that makes a small group of people think you’re special). But what I had to explain to Rene was that God has given me a different path: one in which I had to disengage from the pettiness of academia and pursue a more powerful purpose. The challenges of Black America call for active, interdisciplinary thought that is not afraid to challenge ideas created on an undeniably skewed racial foundation….we can’t afford be like everybody else – the waste is just too great. Rene still looks at me like I’m crazy when we see one another, but I respect his choices and I think he respects mine.

    Now, onto the list of my favorite Black scholars – the list is in no particular order and if a certain scholar is not in the top 10, that doesn’t mean I don’t respect that individual. But there are some prominent names missing from the list, and I’ll let you guess why they aren’t there:

    1) Dr. Marc Lamont Hill (Columbia University) – Marc impresses me as the brightest young mind of the 21st century. Marc is not just as sharp as a butcher knife, he is also a true brother who really understands the problems of the Black community. I cannot tell you how much Marc struggled to build his career, it was tough to watch. But Marc is not just brilliant, he represents the essence of that concept called “Survival of the fittest”. The best is yet to come.

    2) Peniel Joseph (Harvard University/Brandeis University) – Peniel, who wrote a book on Barack Obama recently, is not just a brilliant scholar, but a great person. His work is second to none and his analysis on PBS is right on point.

    3) Cornel West (Princeton) – Who can forget Cornel? Our great academic father deserves respect for opening the door to the possibility of pursuing true Black scholarship that is relevant to the world around us. Cornel’s battles at Harvard prepared me for the challenges I would encounter here at Syracuse. This man will be in the history books and he deserves to be there.

    4) Michael Eric Dyson (Georgetown University) – Michael (we call him “Mike”) was the reason I became a publicly engaged scholar in the first place. I remember watching him on BET in the 90s with my jaws dropped, saying, “Damn, I wanna be like that guy!” While I eventually developed my own style (Mike and I differ in many ways), I can say that Michael’s commitment to hip hop culture and his amazing swagger simply cannot be stolen or emulated.

    5) Dr. Fritz Polite (U. Tennessee) – Fritz is one of the leading advocates for Black male athletes in America. He also carries the kind of strong and assertive style that should embody all progressive Black male intellectuals. Many of us have the ability to be strong, but we choose to walk in fear and silence. Fritz does no such thing.

    6) Dr. Billy Hawkins (U. Georgia) – Billy’s recent commentary about Black male athletes was one of the most powerful and poignant statements I’ve seen in a while. I love it when Black men attack an issue head-on, instead of skirting around it for fear of losing our jobs. In order for there to be progress, men must be willing to take the lead. The fight is not with our muscles, it is with our minds. Intellectual athletes like Billy Hawkins are far more impactful than Black male professional athletes, who have unfortunately relegated themselves to psychological and financial slavery.

    7) Dr. Juan Gilbert (U. Auburn/Clemson University) – President of the Brothers of the Academy (the largest group of Black male PhDs in America), Juan is an amazing visionary and a powerful guide to young Black students. He is also one of the premier computer scientists in the world and a highly impactful scholar.

    8) Dr. Julianne Malveaux (President – Bennett College) – The only thing you can say about Julianne is “deeyamm”. She, along with Michael Eric Dyson, were the two greatest reasons for my becoming a publicly engaged scholar. Also, as the only other publicly engaged scholar who deals with Financial issues, I have learned a lot from Julianne as a mentor, colleague and friend.

    9) Dr. Wilmer Leon (Howard University) – Wilmer is the host of “On with Leon”, an XM satellite radio show. As an expert in Black Political History, Wilmer has been highly impactful when it comes to educating the Black community on critical socio-political issues. His meticulous, educational style of information sharing should be given a larger platform.

    10) Dr. Christopher Metzler (Georgetown University) – Chris wrote an article about Academic Imperialism that simply knocked my socks off. I called Chris on the phone to talk with him, and found him to be the kind of Black scholar we need in America today. Educated at Oxford, Chris has exactly the type of global perspective that we need from African American intellectuals.

    Ok, that’s “Boyce’s Top Ten”. I put together this list based on the scholarly impact of my colleagues, rather than how many publications they have in specific journals or the university with which they are affiliated. This is the kind of list that is built on courage. In my opinion, if you’re not out there doing YOUR thing, then you’re not out there doing ANY thing. We’ve spent all of our time doing THEIR thing, and now it’s time to start doing OUR thing.

    Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?” For more information, please visit