Dr. Boyce: It’s Time for Black Scholars to Get Off the Academic Plantation

by Dr. Boyce Watkins – Scholarship in Action

When I first thought about getting a PhD in Business, I found out about the PhD Project. This ground-breaking initiative had the simple goal of creating more black professors to sit in the front of the classroom. It was established by the KPMG Foundation, and from what I understand, might have been in response to a series of complaints about racism that the organization had received in the past.

Since that time, the group has produced scores of black scholars in the field of business, an area that is in dire need of meaningful diversity. I was the only African American in the world to earn a PhD in Finance during the year 2002, and my university had never hired a black Finance Professor in its entire 130-year history. Business tends to be a very conservative field, where black people are still locked out at every turn (the Business School here at Syracuse, along with many others around the nation, has several departments that have never given tenure to an African American, which is downright racist and shameful).

I spoke recently to a friend about the PhD Project, which led to a tense discussion about how we train our black scholars. The models tend to be simple, primitive and somewhat counter-productive: Get your PhD, find a job at the best (typically predominantly white) university you possibly can, and spend the rest of your life doing research to publish in allegedly “prestigious” academic journals that almost no one ever reads.  No one tells us who decided that one journal is more prestigious than the other; we are just expected to do what we are told.

As you spend your career writing one research paper after another, you also teach classes, with many of them having only one or two black students. White folks have all the money, so the dominant paradigm in this model of academic imperialism is to disappear from the black community and use your PhD as your ticket to “Never Land.” I know Never Land very well: As a “young negro prodigy,” (folks get excited when they see a black male with straight As) I was accepted into the best programs, studied under leading scholars and have more than my share of academic publications. I was brainwashed…I mean trained very well, and I know this system better than a man knows his ex-wife.

As a result of this antiquated approach to professional development, thousands of promising careers are ruined before they even begin. Our brightest minds are extracted from black America like barrels of oil from the soil of Nigeria. Even sadder is that the system to which so many black scholars dedicate their lives often leaves them used up, frustrated and feeling professionally worthless. Most predominantly white universities are willing to consider hiring black scholars for a few years, but almost never give them tenure, like the professional athlete who gladly sleeps with black women, but then runs off to marry the white girl.

I argue that it’s time for black scholars to re-consider the manner and creativity by which they pursue their career objectives. The academic plantation offers some black scholars a false validity; part of the “mama I made it” syndrome that adds almost nothing to the communities from which they came. Many of them are convinced that they are being groomed to be a lasting part of the infrastructure of their campuses, only to find that they were part of a superficial diversity quota. For the small number of black scholars who make it through this skewed and biased system, the rewards are a fancy office, a little bit of money, a contrived sense of prestige and the validation that we are constantly seeking from those who have been historically-positioned to control our thinking.  But when real impact on the black community is measured, an endless trail of intellectual aerobics is necessary to figure out where we’ve actually made a difference.

For the majority of black scholars who are spit out by the system, there is almost no reward. After the academic honeymoon is over, scores of black scholars are kicked to the curb, like the prostitute with messy hair, smudged makeup and a rip in her stockings the morning after a late-night date. They buy into the scheme lock, stock and barrel, only to find that the platform was designed to empower the blonde-haired, blue-eyed man down the hall. Some expect to change the way things are done on their campuses, but you can’t move into someone else’s house and expect them to let you shift around the furniture.  The best you can do as a black scholar is to do a very good job of imitating the white ones – but when you are trying to be someone else, you will never be perceived as anything better than a faulty version of the original.

I argue that it’s time to break the chains and get black scholars off the academic plantation. It is perfectly fine for scholars to teach at white universities and do research in journals controlled by white males. But it is also OK for us to re-engage our communities, earn multiple sources of income and find other relevant platforms through which we can share our expertise with our communities. Our value is undeniable, even if academia rejects us, and we cannot allow self-righteous judgments by culturally-incompetent colleagues to undermine our self-esteem.

The PhD Project, and other well-intended (albeit somewhat paternalistic) organizations would be wise to open the door for other ways of thinking among young African American scholars. In my own career, I was well-prepared for the possibility that my work in the black community would be undervalued by my peers. The Whitman School of management at Syracuse University had not granted tenure to any African American in over 100 years, so I knew that an outspoken black man would likely not be their most-favored son. Letters and calls of support from Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Michael Eric Dyson and Julianne Malveaux would make little difference in a place that has been conditioned to view black scholarship through a lens that is dusty with the sick poison of curdled American racism.

So, to prepare for all possibilities and to ensure that my 10 years of hard work didn’t go to waste (getting a PhD in Finance was the most difficult thing I’d ever done), I learned how to start my own business. I knew that if I had multiple sources of income, I would not be fighting with my colleagues over a $3,000 raise, or end up thinking that getting a lifetime job via tenure was my only path to financial security.  One hilarious fact about many American business schools is that most of the faculty have never run a business or worked for one, so I also saw this as a test of whether or not I actually understand my field and have the intelligence to succeed outside the comfort of the Ivory Tower.

After starting my own business, I worked to expand the size of my classroom. The Internet and traditional media served as wonderful ways that I could re-engage my community by speaking and teaching on the issues of the day with those who respect my points of view as a black man. I also found that the appreciation I received from my community for my hard work (yes, I am a workaholic) more than compensated for the fact that my own campus always treated me like an academic leper. The teaching, research and service awards that many black scholars are conditioned to chase are not meant for us; a few of us get them, but most of us are left unrecognized for our accomplishments.

As a result of pushing outside of my comfort zone, the Your Black World Coalition has grown to over 72,000 members nation-wide. Also, over 1,000 appearances in national media during the last five years has given me an opportunity to find “students” around the world, creating a peaceful psychological escape from the petty and small-minded things happening in the faculty meeting down the hall.  I’ve had educators telling me that I am a “bad boy” since I was five years old.  Once I decided to stop being afraid to let the world know who I really am, I was able to find out what true academic freedom really means.   I am no longer a Finance Professor who just happens to be black….I am a black man who just happens to be a Finance Professor. 

Even Jesus reminded us that sometimes the church can stand in the way of truly connecting to God.  Similarly, academia can sometimes get in the way of one’s ability to pursue meaningful scholarship. By using the resources around us, thinking outside the box and letting go of our need for external validation from the descendants of our historical oppressors, black scholars can elevate our impact to levels that were previously unimaginable.

We must teach young black intellectuals what it really means to be a scholar without filling their heads with pompous, culturally irrelevant, counterproductive protocols that were designed without our people in mind. I am hopeful that the PhD Project and any other group in a position to mentor African Americans realizes that these young minds are not meant to be shepherded into a system that is designed to destroy them….they should be liberated so they might fulfill their greatest potential.

As my friend George Fraser once said, “The black community doesn’t need more PhDs…..it actually needs more Ph-Dos.” We must first elevate if we are going to properly educate.   If black scholars don’t  learn to define our own paths and gain the courage to pursue them, our wall full of credentials become as meaningless as the paint on the wall itself.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a national spokesperson for the Ujamaa Initiative to support black-owned businesses.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. 

85 Comments

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85 responses to “Dr. Boyce: It’s Time for Black Scholars to Get Off the Academic Plantation

  1. Excellent article! I am an MD, PhD, both from Johns Hopkins, and was employed for 23 years in the U.S. Public Health service, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. I understand your points quite well, but mostly in hindsight because during my tenure at the CDC, I settled into being a bit of a “golden-haired” African-American who just happened to fit right in. I was treated fairly but I could see that other qualified African- Americans rarely made it through the front halls! I convinced myself that was because others of my background (both black & white) might opt for positions in private practice or industry where their salaries likely would be much higher. Whatever, the case, I always had my own private practice & other private ventures on the side, many of which were in violation of Federal Regulations governing “outside activities”. When questioned about such activities, I always told the truth & those who gathered my information made the violations “disappear”. I retired from the CDC in 2007 at age 60, in excellent standing, and demurring a “good-bye luncheon”, in favor of spending my final day in office among the friends & colleagues who were proven to be dedicated to our work our our personal relationships. Now, after reading your treatise, I can see more clearly many things I could not see while in the position at CDC. Thanks for the enlightenment. I am now happily retired & pursuing a career as a fiction writer!

  2. Dear Dr. Boyce Watkins.
    You are brilliant and very enlightened as to most of our woes concerning this white-supremacist environment with its underlying secret society of elite pirates. Our ancestors were brainwashed and the system that has perfected brainwashing and deception has continued nurturing the whole nation and much of the world with it’s barrage of believable BS. You are a brilliant man and your mind is fairly clear, but there is one last thing you must remove that has also been constructed to sidetrack our minds. That last thing is the human concocted belief in a ‘God’ and all of the trappings that go with it! It is the final door you must pass through to true enlightenment and wisdom. Once you are past that door (if you can ever make it) You will look back at that form of brainwashing and see it as it really is and how it has affected everyone! You will probably do as I did and ask yourself how you were able to be suckered into that false belief system all of this time! This belief system “black” people are locked into is one of our worse mental enemies! It’s a blessing and a curse, in that history shows that most of the “Indians”, or Native Americans who wouldn’t accept this Eurocentric religious brainwashing tool were murdered just as most of our ancestors would have been. I think that if the black community as a whole announced today, their complete rejection of this Judeo/Christian belief structure we would see the true evil of the “white” community and it’s brainwashed cohorts come down on us like a hoard of blood-lusting barbarians. Just try to throw-off your cloak of religious belief and your eyes (Mind) will be opened even wider than they are now, and your eyes are already open wider than a great many of us as you can very well see!
    If you cannot, or will not. I understand the bio-psychological embrace this has on our people. I can also see the beauty, the wisdom, and the love you have for, not just your “black” community, but your fellow man. I thank you for all of your efforts and beg you to keep up the good work despite all of the ignorance, lunacy, threats, anger, and just plain stupidity you will encounter! Knowing the things we know the way we know them brings great depression. Your workaholic and humanitarian efforts helps you to move past the tons of depression from such enlightenment. I use music and this type of communication to to help me relieve mine. Thanks again Boyce. We love you brother!

  3. Renelda Moorehead

    Okay, I got your drift. You, Dr. Boyce, are a self-aware man. So you must
    know that you tend to be VERBOSITY PERSONIFIED. But here’s the
    line that hit me like a spray of ice water in winter: “…and I know this system
    better than a man knows his ex-wife.” I f a man knew his ex-wife so very
    well, they would not, in all probability, be divorced. He would have known
    his wife’s needs and how to meet them.

    And to where are you running? You are an admitted WORKAHOLIC?
    Slow down and live, with all that that implies. “Whether God gives me a
    little or a lot, I know how to live.” St. Paul

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  21. ulysses williams iii

    This was a brilliant, wonderfully well written article. I am not playing devil’s advocate when I say this, but I maintain that anyone with knowledge and know how in communities of color, especially where they are most needed (underprivileged) will find they will be fighting against the historical forces of slave religion. He/she who is most exalted will be the preacher who feeds off ignorance, and needs it in order to maintain the loyalties of their “flock”.
    Whether or not you share my view on “slave religion”, that communities of color are led by know nothings who are gifted orators, whose ‘place’ at the head of the table is jeapordized by people who are accomplished and intllectually superior is completely uncontroversial.

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  28. LustyFirstBlackLaddieBrett1953

    WHATEVER,DUDE….As for “Corporate America,”it’s racist,sexist,ageist,
    homophobic AND JUST PLAIN CORRUPT!!!!(Ever hear of ”The Occupy
    [originally Wall Street],buddy? As for critical thinking,NO ONE IS GONNA DO THIS BOYISHLY HANDSOME,BLACK CANADIAN LAD’S THINKING,
    SINCE MY I.Q. IS BETWEEN 147 AND 165!!!! (Genius level,pardner!!!!)

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  30. LustyFirstBlackLaddieBrett1953

    Slave rekligion,Ulysses Williams II?You mean the thuggish,murderous,
    cretinous “Fruit Of The Loon,”i.e.,The Nation Of Islam,right?(At least,I HOPE!!!!)

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  32. Lorna

    This also applies to all non-white scholars — even those “honorary whites.”

  33. dr. boyce, we in the black and global community are so very lucky to have you! I love most of your posts, however a man of your intelligence can’t possibly believe in that god nonsense! Religion is the biggest scam known in the world today. Please, brother, you’re half way there. Free your mind, and … you know the rest.

  34. Mic mecca

    Great article! While our scholars rub elbows with these whites that hate them, our communities suffer. Its easy to sell out, its much harder to stand for truth and justice. You sir, are appreciated!

  35. The Amazonian

    I am so tired of people blaming their personal shortcomings on their race. If people stopped blaming others solely based on the color of their skin then maybe racism in this country would start to die out. But clearly that’s asking too much.

    There were many points in this article that seemed to be pointing a finger at “the white man” for the lack of black men getting tenure. You pointed out yourself that you were the only black man to receive a PhD of Finance at your university the year you graduated. How is that the fault of a white person? Since you pointed out that you were the only black man to receive a PhD in your field at your school then we can assume that there are fewer black men than white men receiving a PhD in general. If we all agree with that then it’s understandable why there are fewer black men receiving tenure. So whose fault is it really? It seems that it’s just the way the cards are falling and until there are as many black PhD holders as white PhD holders then it’s understandable that the white man dominates the tenure market. Universities shouldn’t be expected to hand out tenure to every black man that asks just because they’re black. (I do realize I’m saying this without knowing all the facts and without knowing each tenure candidate individually. But you also didn’t provide any reasons they should be receiving tenure other than the fact that they’re black. How many white people get declined for tenure each year? You’re in finance so run some statistical analysis to back up the claims you’re making and then maybe I’ll agree.)

    What makes this whole article so funny to me is that any minority group, basically everyone except a white man, qualifies for special scholarships and grants solely based on their skin color or heritage. This would imply that minorities, including blacks, are given more opportunities to advance their education than white people. And don’t go around saying that white people are in college because they’re rich. I am not rich, I just work full time to pay for my college. I also find this article totally laughable because a white family member of mine applied to several Ivy League colleges and was declined by all of them. She is a white female who ranked 5th in a class of nearly 3,000 and was still declined while other students who weren’t ranked as high as her were accepted because they were a minority. So if you want to talk about being discriminated against because of skin color just realize that it goes both ways. But you know what she never blamed it on her skin color she sucked it up and figured maybe she just wasn’t what they were looking for. Did that ever cross your mind? Maybe the few black people asking for tenure aren’t what the college is looking for and it has NOTHING to do with the fact that they’re black! But accepting that there is something wrong with you is much more difficult than taking the easy way out by playing the race card.

    And finally this lovely quote. “Most predominantly white universities are willing to consider hiring black scholars for a few years, but almost never give them tenure, like the professional athlete who gladly sleeps with black women, but then runs off to marry the white girl.” Do you realize that Tiger Woods, a black athlete, married a white woman and still ran around cheating on her. Given the tone of your article you probably find this surprising since nothing bad could ever happen to a white person.

    Now before you start saying I’m being prejudice against minorities realize that I myself am also a minority because I am a 6ft tall woman. Though you might not think so, I struggle with issues almost daily because of my height.

    Anyway, if you want to play the race card then back it up with some actual evidence. Maybe there really is a problem but who is going to listen when, to the average reader, you seem to be making unfounded claims.

  36. A great article sir.I had to respond to it,but you covered so much that needs to be looked into,that I find it hard to locate a starting point.I,ll start with Mic Mecca,s coment above.

  37. @Renelda Moorhead- You’re assumng that husbands wants to stay in the marriage with the woman he knows so well. He knows her so well. Get it?

  38. Hi am an artist by categories ll, like to meet with serious buyers , on stone sculpture.

  39. thats been our sad….story for hundres of years leting others develop, dictate …and ultimately profit off their curricul;ums….mostly to our detriment…..it,s a war…..we definately are losing…..so now what…..talk. hold meetings….do workshops ….and plead with the powers that are….to give us some slack?!?

  40. Lorna

    @Amazonian you will be the minority by 2050 shining my shoes.

  41. Ph.Diva

    @Amazonia I never understood why hostile white people spend their time reading materials written by African Americans with other African Americans as the target audience. If you don’t like hearing about the realities of institutional and individual discrimination and that all African Americans are not happy, smiling and tap dancing over the little bit ‘o freedom that massah has “given” us, then simply don’t read it. No one wants to hear your color-blind, “I’m not racist, but…” arguments.

    And, of COURSE you have a family member who got turned down by several Ivy Leagues! This is clearly an indication that these universities are over run by unqualified African American students and we need to over turn the admissions criteria at these schools to ensure that white folks are guaranteed admission, because any other way would simply be unimaginable. Give me a break. Boo hoo for your cousin. Are you really trying to compare your cousin’s misfortune with the legacy of the racial genocide on all populations of color in this country? Of course you are, because you also believe yourself to be oppressed because of your height. To make such a comparison reveals you as the uneducated closet racist you really are. Find another place to spew your racist venom and to seek sympathy for yourself.

  42. Playrighter

    I would like to know Dr. Boyce’s explanation for precisely why he was the only African American on earth to earn a PhD in finance in 2002. Was it the system, or those in the system who chose not to do the same?

  43. The Amazonian

    @ Ph.Diva tell me what part of my comment came off to you as hostile? I never called anyone any names unlike you. I just pointed out that what he said about tenure wasn’t backed up by any evidence. And that if you look at the situation logically it makes sense that there are less black men with tenure because as he referenced there are fewer black men with PhDs.

    And if you’re wondering I read this article because someone posted it on FB and we all know to be a more well rounded person you have to look at different points of view. And it’s so interesting that I make the same claim for my white family member as Dr. Boyce made for black colleagues and now I’m a racist when I clearly pointed out that my family member had higher academic achievements than other students and she still wasn’t accepted while they were. Do you realize that Dr. Boyce never stated why the black candidates he was referring to were any better than any other candidate? He only based his point on skin color.

    And I never said I was oppressed because of my height you just assumed I thought I was like you assumed my family member was my cousin and just like you assumed that I’m a racist because I would like actual statistical evidence to back up a claim. Last time I checked the way to get people to believe in what you’re saying it to back it up with evidence. So how does that make me a racist?

    Do you even see what I’m trying to say? I’m saying that if you feel like you’re being discriminated against today then have proof. Don’t just go around tossing the race card and give no logical evidence to back up your claim. He says “The Whitman School of management at Syracuse University had not granted tenure to any African American in over 100 years, so I knew that an outspoken black man would likely not be their most-favored son.” While that sounds like evidence he never said how many African Americans applied for tenure to prove that he’s actually being discriminated against. If he was the only one in 100 years and he didn’t get it then maybe he’s not being discriminated against because of the color of his skin, maybe they didn’t want him because as he pointed out he’s outspoken. If he is being discriminated against who is going to agree when he doesn’t actually support his claim?

    And if you respond can you please not lash out at me for being white and questioning the view point of an African American. I can’t change the color of my skin. And I don’t see where anything I said deserved such a response. Also I was never looking for sympathy about my height, just pointing out that everyone deals with issues they have no control over whether the issues are major or not. Oh and I’m not a racist, not even an uneducated closet racist that spews venom like you think I am. But I’m willing to bet you’re not going to believe me.

    @Lorna I don’t and probably won’t shine shoes. I do taxes. In 2050 I may be a minority but I guarantee there will still be taxes for me to do.

  44. Mary S. Northington

    This essay, the responses to it , and our everyday experiences evidence that racism is deeply ingrained in American life. One can easily agree with Derrick Bell that it is permanent. It certainly will not be overcome in our life time. So, let us be about dealing with it in every way possible. Be alert to its many guises. Whenever and where ever we see it, call it. Come to the aid of your brother or sister whom you see suffering because of it. No one will be dedicated to saving us, but us.

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  46. Ph.Diva

    @Amazonian I found your whole post to be hostile in that you feel as though you are entitled to proof that racism in this country exists. Even if you had the numbers that you so badly want to see, I have the feeling you would still find a way to contest them. Which is fine. My apologies for referring to your family member as your cousin, it wasn’t an assumption, just a mere failure to put enough stock into my response to your hostile post to remember the correct title for that individual.

    In your post, you said: “Now before you start saying I’m being prejudice against minorities realize that I myself am also a minority because I am a 6ft tall woman. Though you might not think so, I struggle with issues almost daily because of my height.” How could one not assume that you felt the need to mention your height as a way of saying that you too experience oppression? You don’t use the term “oppression”, but you should not assume that African American readers are unable to decipher your poorly veiled attempts to distance yourself from “real” white racists by mentioning your height.

    Since numbers are of extreme importance to you, did you know the GPA’s and exam scores of all of the African American students that you ASSUME were less qualified than your family member? I highly doubt it. The selective importance of quantitative evidence is astounding, but not lost on me. How unfounded these sorts of claims of reverse discrimination are is even discussed in my intro level sociology texts that I use (which are written by white men by the way). Check out the article below. It analyzes the exact discursive moves you are making in your posts.

    Bonilla-Silva, E & Forman. 2000. “I’m Not a Racist But…” Discourse & Society,11:50

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  48. The Amazonian

    @Ph.Diva I’ll try and remember that asking for proof of racism is hostile. And I’m entitled to proof of anything if you actually want me to agree with anything you ever try and persuade me of. Sorry I guess the teachers that taught me to back up what I say if you want people to understand where you’re coming from were all wrong. And you don’t even know me so you can’t assume that I “would still find a way to contest them” after I saw proof that African American tenure candidates were being turned down solely based on the color of their skin. Clearly you don’t require any actual evidence from the author of this article to prove they are.

    “In your post, you said: “Now before you start saying I’m being prejudice against minorities realize that I myself am also a minority because I am a 6ft tall woman. Though you might not think so, I struggle with issues almost daily because of my height.” How could one not assume that you felt the need to mention your height as a way of saying that you too experience oppression?” How about the fact that I never even mentioned the word oppression anywhere. You did.

    “but you should not assume that African American readers are unable to decipher your poorly veiled attempts to distance yourself from “real” white racists by mentioning your height.” So are you saying that since I’m white and I point out that I’m a minority because I’m tall and since I’m questioning the evidence behind this article that happens to be written about African Americans I’m a racist. You know that’s what’s wrong with this country. I’m automatically branded as a racist because I disagree and I’m not the same race as you. If I were Asian I’d probably still be branded a racist for asking for evidence. I agree with Mary S. Northington racism will never end because no one is allowed to ask questions about anything from anyone of another race without being branded a racist. I’m not going to call you a racist because I don’t actually know you. But to the average white person you come off as a “real” black racist just like I come off to you as a “real” white racist. And whether either one of us really is the other will never know.

    And as for my family member. As I said, she was ranked 5th out of nearly 3,000 which means her GPA was higher than those students who were accepted that ranked below her. “The selective importance of quantitative evidence is astounding, but not lost on me.” I made ONE claim and provided her rank as quantitative evidence. This article was written and made MANY claims and provided NO quantitative evidence. Clearly it IS lost on you.

    Well it’s been nice chatting but I can see that evidence of a claim is only required of me and not of the man who wrote this article. It might surprise you that I’m actually currently dating a black man and he doesn’t think I’m racist, neither do any of his friends for that matter if they did we probably wouldn’t still be together after 3 years. But anyway I’m done posting. And I’ll look into the article you posted after I get back from my class tonight.

  49. Ph.Diva

    @Amazonian Thank you for confirming everything I said earlier. And, for the record, the fact that you are dating a Black man does not mean that you get it or that you are not racist. Why even mention such a thing? I’ll leave that one alone.

    I agree with Derrick Bell, Joe Feagin, Juan Perea, and all of the great critical race scholars out there, racism will never end because white people will never openly acknowledge their privilege at a societal level. Thus, I understand your opinions and assumptions.

  50. Lorna

    White Privilege rears its ugly head.

  51. DaTruth

    I simply luv u Dr. Boyce for all the good work that you do to enlighten our ppl. What a wonderful insightful article! You could have taken all your knowledge & hard won successes & moved into an Ivory Tower like others who have achieved what you have, but you chose to stay around & find ways to give back & help our community. You stick around & endure all the barbs & insults from those who hope to silence & diminish what you say. You don’t have to do that but you do. Thank you!

    @Ph. Diva:
    Your responses to The Amazon are soooooo right on! I applaud you! Too many whites think that we don’t have the intellect to see thru their little “I’m not a racist, but ” snipes. Her equating being tall to knowing what discrimination is about is so preposterous, farfetched, & insane. She keeps talking about facts / statistics / nos. How about this country’s history of oppression & discrimination against ppl of color (300 yrs of slavery + 100 yrs of Jim Crow + the genocide of the Native Americans). Is that quantitative enuf for you Amazon, & thats just a start! Keep bumpin the knowledge Ph. Diva. We will be ok if your type of consciousness prevails.

  52. @Amazonian,

    I am glad you read the article. I actually think it is essential for white people and black people to talk about race. But i think that when it is not done in an effort to understand the perspective of the other it is useless and damaging. With that being said, I am actually interested in engaging you in a conversation about your perspectives and ideas related to this post. If you are interested in engaging let me know. I have some tenets that I like to use when having these conversations so as not to end up tossing around insults and accusations that do not further the discussion. I do think that you are missing some key points in this article and viewing it through a lens that seems more concerned with disproving it than understanding the perspective of the writer. Again, i am totally interested in having a rigorous but mutually respectful dialogue with you about it but I felt it respectful to ask you first so let me know.

  53. Dr Brandon Gamble

    Thank you Dr. Boyce for validating my sentiments here at Long Beach State. I go up for tenure Fall 2012. I have come to a place as the late Dr. Amos Wilson said, “to be a man according to your oppressors definition is to be sick”.

  54. Pingback: Are Black Scholars on the Wrong Track? : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

  55. Sharon

    i comprehend boyce…

    you have always been a “bad boy” , therefore you’re well aware massa will never give you tenure so you figured out a way to make money to ensure personal and financial security by starting your own business. i can respect that…no black man should have to kowtow to the man.

    but If pimping the black community by being a race baiter to make money, than you’re no different than the pimps in the pulpit….

    just saying…..

  56. What is race-baiting? Talking about race? Discussing the inequities that are apparent in institutions? Why is this race baiting?

  57. channeit

    Amazonian, why did you mention your height? Am I suppose to be compelled to understand that your height has been a factor in your everyday life that has prevented you from living a equally fulfilled life? I’m sorry but you really sound stupid to even throw that in as a comparison or a factor. You could have said ” being a women” at the least, because I doubt very seriously that your height has been a discriminating factor in you pursuit of the American Dream. As for racism, it is the belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.I.E. SLAVERY! We as black people never had the problem with our skin until we came to this country. You want proof? White American citizens i.e.(possibly some of your family members) gave my family members nicknames that became universal (meaning throughout the world and historical in America. My grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins, were called monkeys, porch-monkey’s niggers, coons, apes, aunt jamima, buck wheat, blackie, buck nigger darkie, jiggaboo, nappy head, nigglet, pickaninny, sambo, sub human I’m a black 47 y/o women. Do you think that bit of history is disturbing to know? Or maybe it’s been so long ago. If that’s the case…why are we still dealing with explaining? You can’t and won’t simplify how this country is and have been. I’ll just simply say from my own little 12th grade education that white actions and attitudes towards blacks as a whole have always been a deliberate, diabolical vice in the everyday lives for the majority of us. Through efforts of political, economical, legal and mental means. Now, just think about this… DO YOU TELL YOUR KIDS (if any) THE HISTORY OF YOUR NEATLY PACKAGED FAMILY TREE that my ancestors may have been lynched from? Do you have to hold your heart and pray as you tell your 10y/o why white citizens hate the president or explain to him why he is in a cartoon as a monkey? See, your tall butt don’t have to think of things as such because you never experienced them from a ancestrial point of view. My son is taught history in school and I have to explain it to him in the correct way at home. Do you? Oh, I forgot, you’re tall. You have to teach not to hate short people Any historical signs anywhere that says Tall only/Short only? have you ever been prevented from going to a any restaurant, fountains, bathrooms because of your height?? They have historical signs that said Black only /White only. You may have been discriminated against but not in a manner that has any significance. It’s like my feet are wide, and all the cute shoes are size 61/2 but I wear a size 81/2 White citizens call us lazy and lack ambition, when it was us who built this country. Slaves don’t get paid, and they were not allowed to learn to read. Then, after being freed, whites are angered when my grandparents/relatives try to compete for the same job as white citizens but can’t get it because of the color of their skin. has this happened to you because of your height? Then white citizens get angrier when they are taxed to help pay for the unemployment of the same ones that were discriminated against. Hence, Affirmative Action! Affirmative action is a set of public policies and initiatives designed to help eliminate past and present discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. White American citizens were happy to see lynchings(tea party) and disgusted by the outcry from blacks wanting fairness, disgusted by black ignorance and resentful of us wanting improved schools, ridicule black irresponsibility and fear black people’s assertions. Look at the laws that are still on the books. When we, as black people say anything pertaining to white folk, we are using it generally to mean this purposely racist U.S. goverment. Not you or white folks personally. Now, for some strange reason, white people seem to hate the goverment than black people do!!!!! One would have to be a complete fool to not realize how this country have treated black citizens and not understand or have any compassion on why we feel the way we do. YOU WANT FACTS? You and your black mans mother and father should talk and read our history in this country…(if she’s not mixed or bougie) She’ll help you understand facts! facts about LYNCHING, EXPERIMENTS, BURNING CITIES, MOBBING lynching, HANGING FROM BRIDGES AND THE MENTAL EFFECTS OF RACISM. Yeah, it still exist ..notice the voting act laws? do you watch more than one news source? I hope you understand where we coming from!

  58. Pingback: Dr. Boyce: The PhD Project « black is the new black

  59. saywhat?

    By continuing to respond to amazonian we allow her to divert our attention from wonderful black scholarship. Let us discontinue our commentary in this vein. We did not/are not work diligently just to school privileged white children. This discourse allows her to perform whiteness in the same vein as her ancestors. Suckling black breasts for nurture and then asking the slave to explain why it tastes so good. No more. If she wants to learn about racism let her enroll in a class and whine there. For now, I love your artilce Dr. Watkins!

  60. Vashti Levinson

    Spoken like someone who did not get tenure.

  61. risunshine

    as a black female, and a burgeoning scholar, if i had to grade your post, with constructive comments, it’d go a little something like this. . .

    dear dr. boyce,

    your commentary is laced with much paternalism and more than a bit of sexism, which undermines your argument. however, you make a number of valid points. i think your sentiment would be better received if you dialed down your verbosity and sweeping allusions to black intellectualism within predominately white institutions as a form of enslavement and prostitution (trite tropes).

    ultimately, i agree with your final analysis that black scholars, early on, need to develop an entrepreneurial spirit of self-help and community engagement, inside and outside of academe. but your message was hard to receive. therefore, i give your latest blog a C+ for effort. your thesis is strong, but i think you missed the mark with style and delivery.

  62. risunshine

    Hello again. I posted my comments (above) to this post on my FB page and rightly received criticism. Below is my reply to a recent comment. I hope it helps clarify my opinion. Thanks for reading.

    “I challenge you to put down the cup [of kool-aid] for a moment and really think about it…”

    I respectfully disagree with your disagreement with my opinion. LOL. First, I don’t yet consider myself an academic as I’ve only just begun my journey in higher education and I’m not quite sure when/where it will end; but I value the experience and opportunities to share exchanges like this nonetheless.

    For the record, I didn’t call Boyce himself, or his body of work, sexist and paternalistic; I said that his opinion, within the context of this particular blog post, contained sexist allusions and had an heir of paternalism–yes, the very things that he aims to disrupt.

    Boyce is writing from a privileged space as an accomplished Ph.D. in a corporate field (business), dominated by men. His only mention of women was in reference to prostitution and marriage when he alluded to black academics [read male] being misguided–knowing the system better than a man knows his ‘ex-wive’ (an unfortunate price that many pay for professional success)–and their being used up–conjuring the image of a disheveled prostitute.

    His sentiments were also geared toward youth, burgeoning black scholars–many of whom are women of color based in the arts and humanities–in a way that I don’t think will resonate deeply with this demographic. Dictation from a distance, in my opinion, isn’t an affective way to promote change.

    Don’t get me wrong, I admire Dr. Boyce and all that he aims to accomplish in shaking up the academy and inspiring folks in the community to think and act differently. I simply took issue, as I said initially, with his delivery, which again, in my opinion, clouded his argument–one that I see as extremely valuable.

    I’m honestly not sure how many people will take a second look at this particular blog post, which is sad. That’s what I was speaking to. Perhaps I should have been more explicit, but for the sake of brevity, I left it out.

    Ultimately, I think Boyce needed to be more sensitive to difference in this piece (age, sex, gender, class, etc), even though on the surface he tried, and I think he needed to be particularly sensitive to black women and young black scholars negotiating their place in academia. I honestly felt uninspired to continue on my path toward earning a Ph.D. after reading this. Granted the truth hurts, but there’s a way NOT to crush the aspirations of others when keeping it real.

  63. oh my. never give up on education!

  64. Dr. Boyce, the most important thing to remember in regard to your post is the implication that many African Americans who receive doctorate degrees believe they have somehow ‘made it’ and that everything will be uphill from then on. How wrong they are. First, we have too many Blacks that are getting doctorate degrees in areas where we are over-represented in academia. This includes areas such as education, communication, black american studies, and political science. Second, we have too many Blacks that are getting doctorate degrees at schools that have little to no prestige. For example, obtaining a Ph.D. from the one of the many Public Universities of Nowhere does not compare to getting a similar degree at a private, ivy league, or big 10 public university. Finally, though there are many Blacks getting doctorate degrees, some of them can’t compete in the job market and don’t know how to. They have not published, presented at conferences, taught courses in their field, nor worked on any research that is creditable, yet they think a university will hire them. Getting a Ph.D. is not a golden ticket. It does not prove that you are smart enough to be employed at a university nor worthy enough for tenure. You have to produce results that illustrates that you succeed compared to others in your field, and your research must be innovative as well as relevant.

  65. Icon

    A few months ago I read the autobiographical profiles of a few Nobel Prize winners in Economics at the Nobel website. While many of them were exemplary students GPA-wise quite a few of them got C’s. For example, Robert Lucas the famed macroeconomist wrote about some of his struggles in his early years in the University of Chicago PhD program in economics. The autobiography of Vernon Smith, the ‘founder” of experimental economics, revealed a man born and shaped by hard times in the prairies of Kansas during the Great Depression. He was a C-student whose grades were so poor that he had to take remedial classes to prepare for an entrance exam in lieu of grades. Almost all had what later turned out to be their seminal work repeatedly rejected. The moral of the story is that even the best white academics are repeatedly rejected at some pointed during their careers. There is no white monolith. A PhD degree is a research degree. It is not a “teaching degree”. Moreover, he who pays the piper calls the tune. Despite the best efforts of the PhD Project there simply aren’t enough black business PhDs to make an impact on the research agenda in the academy—even if all were tenured. The numbers appear to be worse in the field of economics. What black scholars across all disciplines should do is engage their subject matter with the research mantra: (1) What has been done; (2) What has not been done; and (3) Why should we care. Strive to add to the body of knowledge in one’s chosen discipline—regardless of what others think. I would like to pose this question: How many black scholars at black business schools are pursuing an active research agenda on black banks and black owned business? The latter would fall under rubric of entrepreneurship—one of the hottest multidisciplinary subfields around. By the way, the current Dean at Syracuse University is black, and as far as I know he is no shrinking violet when it comes to diversifying faculty, staff, and student body. Lets just get out there and kick some ass. Let the quality and body of our work speak for us.

  66. Dear Dr. Boyce,

    If you really want to do something enduring about the inequality in the system and to improve outcomes for Black America, then there is “Nation Formation.” We have sent you an invitation to a BlackEconomics.org’s “2012 Afrodescendant Congress on Nation Formation,” July 18-19, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

    If you are really serious, then contribute to a process that can grant Black Americans total freedom to develop as we desire. We have the power, intellects, and resources to make Nation Formation a reality.

    Very respectfully,

    BlackEconomic.sorg

  67. Leonard Sturdivant

    Excellent article! It buttresses my newly coined terminology: “White Validation Syndrome”… the pathology of assimilation. We love white validation because black validation only exist in the pulpit of a church… we rely on it to define who we are based on the reflection we get from whites along with the subsequent pat on the head. Getting off the academic plantation will require a 180 degree paradigmatic shift in how we think, that shift will require return to collectivism. Every immigrant that comes to this country keeps two things: their language and their name… critical for any group of people to survive and thrive, for it bonds the collective efforts of the group. I spend my days thinking about the return to collectivism for Africans of the diaspora.

  68. Mr.

    @Amazonian

    [I am so tired of people blaming their personal shortcomings on their race. If people stopped blaming others solely based on the color of their skin then maybe racism in this country would start to die out. But clearly that’s asking too much. ]

    Given your desire to have evidence before believing someone, please provide direct quotes from Dr. Boyce’s article which support your claim that this article is an example of Blacks “blaming their personal shortcomings on their race.”

    What is your definition of racism? Based on your response, it seems that you do not have a clear understanding of what racism is, how it operates, and why it persists. I am so tired of people ignoring and/or denigrating commentary that incorporates the role that race/racism plays in producing social outcomes. Racism is designed to prove one group’s superiority over other groups and to perpetuate this group’s definition of reality, such as what characteristics are valued in defining beauty (e.g. blond hair, blue eyes, White skin, straight hair), and merit (e.g. publishing in obscure journals for a limited group of esoteric professionals).

  69. Mr.

    @Amazonian

    [I also find this article totally laughable because a white family member of mine applied to several Ivy League colleges and was declined by all of them. She is a white female who ranked 5th in a class of nearly 3,000 and was still declined while other students who weren’t ranked as high as her were accepted because they were a minority. So if you want to talk about being discriminated against because of skin color just realize that it goes both ways. But you know what she never blamed it on her skin color she sucked it up and figured maybe she just wasn’t what they were looking for. Did that ever cross your mind?]

    I guess my response to your story about your family member who was denied admission to the Ivy League would be to use your own words: “It seems that it’s just the way the cards are falling.” Perhaps you could also give your critique of Dr. Boykins to your family member: “I am so tired of people blaming their personal shortcomings on their race. If people stopped blaming others solely based on the color of their skin then maybe racism in this country would start to die out. But clearly that’s asking too much.”

    The story of the well-qualified White person who was denied admission, while unqualified minority applicants matriculate is so played out at this point. If you want to look at the “evidence,” one can clearly see that White Americans predominate at all the Ivy League educational institutions. Your argument would have more merit if the racial balance was going in the opposite direction; that is, if there were more minorities on this campus than White Americans your story would be more believable. Furthermore, your story assumes that you have the details on all the minority applicants who were admitted to these institutions. If you do not possess this information, how are you (or your White family members) qualified to evaluate the quality of the other students? Please provide us with the evidence indicating that the other students who were admitted were less qualified than your family member.

    Another problem with your story is that these institutions are highly selective. Harvard, for example, received over 30,000 applications in 2011. Of these, they accepted just over 2,000. This suggests that merely being in the top 5% of one’s class may not be enough to gain admission. Quit playing the race card and work harder. Maybe her extracurricular activities weren’t strong enough or her interview didn’t go so well. Perhaps she just wasn’t qualified and they were looking for more qualified White women. If she spent a little more time focusing on building her skills rather than focusing on how “the Black man is keeping her down” she may be able to find more success. Life is tough for everyone; that’s just how the cookie crumbles.

  70. Mr.

    @Amazonian

    I concur that it would be nice to see statistics on the number of Black assistant professors declined for tenure in comparison to those numbers for White assistant professors. I am not sure if universities keep this information though. It would be interesting to see what would happen if universities were more transparent in these decisions since they seem to involve some individual discretion on the part of the other faculty members.

    If anyone has data on this concern, please feel free to share it with us.

  71. Mr.

    @Amazonian

    [What makes this whole article so funny to me is that any minority group, basically everyone except a white man, qualifies for special scholarships and grants solely based on their skin color or heritage. This would imply that minorities, including blacks, are given more opportunities to advance their education than white people.]

    Please provide evidence that “any minority group, basically everyone except a white man, qualifies for special scholarships and grants solely based on their skin color or heritage.” Also, if “minorities, including blacks, are given more opportunities to advance their education than white people,” why are there still more Whites in college than other groups? Wouldn’t this unfair advantage be evidenced in the statistical make-up of universities? Please share your evidence with us that will support this claim.

  72. Mr.

    @Amazonian

    [What makes this whole article so funny to me is that any minority group, basically everyone except a white man, qualifies for special scholarships and grants solely based on their skin color or heritage. This would imply that minorities, including blacks, are given more opportunities to advance their education than white people.]

    Your claim that there are no special scholarships or grants for White Americans based on their racial/ethnic status is void of evidence. Maurice Dyson, in his article available through scholar.google.com, titled In Search of the Talented Tenth: Diversity, Affirmative Access, and University-Driven Reform, lists the following scholarships for individuals who are classified as White:

    Association of Italian American Charities (Dr. Frank C. Marino Memorial Scholarship); Education and Scholarship Trust of the Trans-Canada Alliance of German-Canadians; Walter N. and Frances Hnatiuk Scholarship-Ukrainian; The Kosciusko Foundation Tuition Scholarship Program-Polish; Marinelli Scholarship-Italian; Deutscher Bruderliche Bund Scholarship–German; Petryshyn Memorial Scholarship–Ukrainian; National Italian American Foundation (Merrill Lynch Scholarship); National Italian American Foundation (Alexander Defilippis Scholarship); Vincent Viceglia Fellowship-Italian; George L. Graziado Fellowship for Business-Italian; Norman R. Peterson Scholarship-Italian; Augustus Society Scholarship-Italian; National Italian American Foundation (Assunta Luchetti Martino Scholarship for International Studies); National Italian American Foundation (Bolla Wines Scholarship); National Italian American Foundation (F. D. Stella Scholarship). Abraham Fellowship-Jewish; Jewish War Veterans National Scholarship Program; Starkoff Fellowship-Jewish; Ethel Marcus Memorial Fellowship-Jewish; Anna and Charles Stockwitz Fund for Education of Jewish Children; Charles and Louise Rosenbaum Scholarship Loan Fund-Jewish; B’nai Brith Women of Greater Hartford Scholarship; Jewish Social Service Agency of Metropolitan Washington; Levie Educational Fund Scholarship-Jewish; Marcus and Theresa Levie Educational Fund-Jewish; The Rothbert Fund-Religious; Jewish Foundation for Education of Women Scholarship; Jewish War Veterans of the USA Scholarship; Jewish Welfare Board Scholarship; Amelia Greenbaum Scholarship Fund-Jewish; Encouragement Scholarship-Jewish; Free Sons of Israel Scholarship; Frank L. Weil Memorial Scholarship-Jewish; Adele Kagen Scholarship Fund-Jewish (pg. 46-47).

  73. Mr.

    @Amazonian

    Do you also believe that women are given an unfair advantage because of the following scholarships and grants available to them or are you reservering your moral outrage for “colored only”? The following list comes from the same article by Maurice Dyson:

    University of Arizona Women in Science and Engineering (WISE); University of Arizona WISE’M UP Mentoring Undergraduate Program; University of California, Davis Women in Engineering (WIE) Programs; Clemson University Women in Science & Engineering (WISE); Cornell University Women’s Programs in Engineering; Dartmouth College Women in Science Project; Michigan Technological University Women in Engineering (WIE); Northeastern University Women in Engineering (WIE) Programs; Ohio State University Women in Engineering (WIE) Program; Pennsylvania State University Women in Engineering (WIE) Program; Purdue University Women in Engineering Program (WIEP); Purdue University Women in Science Programs (WISP); Rochester Institute of Technology Women Intent on Success in Engineering (WISE); Stevens Institute of Technology Lore-El Center for Women in Engineering and Science; Texas A&M Women in Engineering, Science, and Technology (WEST) Program; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Women in Engineering (WIE) Program; University of Texas at Austin Women in Engineering Program (WEP); Agnes Kujawa Scholarship; Mary L. Frymire Scholarship; Mildred Cater Bradham Social Work Fellowship; Amelia Earhart Fellowship; Association for Women Veterinarians Scholarship; BPW Loan Fund for Women in Engineering Studies; Massachusetts State Federation of Women’s Clubs Scholarship; College Women’s Club of Montclair Scholarship; Juniata College (Anna Groninger Smith Memorial Scholarship); Association for Women in Science Educational Foundation (Ruth Satter Memorial Award); Business and Professional Women’s Foundation (AVON Products Foundation Career Empowerment Scholarship Program); Women’s International Science Collaboration (WISC) Program; Eleanor Roosevelt Teacher Fellowships; Association for Women in Computing Scholarship (pg. 46-47).

    Do you also have problems with special money set aside for those with physical disabilities or should we only be concerned with the aid granted to minority applicants? If so, read the following list and be outraged:

    Frank Walton Horn Memorial Scholarship for the Blind; Ann PeKar Memorial Scholarship for the Blind; Howard Brown Richard Scholarship for the Blind; Ezra Davis Memorial Scholarship for the Blind; Howard B. Rickard Scholarship for the Blind; American Foundation for the Blind Scholarship; Kuchler-Killian Memorial Scholarship for the Blind; Delta Gamma Foundation Memorial Scholarship for the Blind; Rudolph Dillman Memorial Scholarships for the Blind; H. B. Fiebelman, Jr. Award for the Hearing Impaired; Maude Winkler Scholarship for the Hearing Impaired; A. G. Bell Scholarship for Deaf Adults; Volta Award for the Hearing Impaired.

  74. Mr.

    @Amazonian

    [And don’t go around saying that white people are in college because they’re rich.]

    But, wealth is an important factor in the college admissions game. Based on the unequal distribution of wealth in this country, legacy status is another important factor that gets included in admission decisions. The wealth disparities favor White Americans in this country, so most of the individuals highlighted below by Maurice Dyson are White. And you said that White men don’t have a chance. Please consider the following information before you post your opinions on this particular topic in the future. I’m going to allow Dyson to speak for me. This information is culled from the same article referenced in the above posts.

    “Development admits are students of wealthy parents who are admitted to selective universities. Officials at Duke University recently told the Wall Street Journal that between three and five percent of Duke’s students are development admits. The end result may be higher contribution yields for universities, whose presidents are subject to increasing pressures to meet capital campaign goals. As the Wall Street Journal reported:
    [In recent years, Duke says it has relaxed these standards to admit 100 to 125 students annually as a result of family wealth or connections, up from about 20 a decade ago. These students aren't alumni children and were tentatively rejected, or wait-listed, in the regular admissions review. More than half of them enroll, constituting an estimated 3% to 5% of Duke's student body of 6,200.

    Daniel Golden, Extra Credit. At Many Colleges, the Rich Kids Get Affirmative Action, WALL ST. J., Feb. 20, 2003, at Al. Other top schools from Stanford to Emory report that they also occasionally consider parental wealth in admission decisions (pg. 47)."

    Legacy admits are a wonderful example of “playing the [White] race card,” but I don’t see you complaining about this issue. Maybe one of these legacy admits nudged out your family member. You should yell at them, too.

  75. Patrick

    Truthful and courageous (and powerful) words. I sometimes wonder if there’s any real progress happening with regards to racism and the whole system being designed to elevate white people over everyone else. There are some clear milestones (the end of overt slavery, civil rights), but sometimes it seems as if the sickness has just gone underground and manifests in more subtle but in the end equally destructive ways. We definitely have a lot of stuff to work through… and I’m not sure we’ve even sincerely started addressing it, except in superficial and artificial ways.

  76. Charles McGee

    Interesting notions. My goal is to gather folks who embrace Black culture to talk to each other and strategize. If you do not embrace Black culture you would not want to attend this gathering tentatively planned for the weekend of February 11, 2012, in either Atlanta or Los Angeles. The opportunity to discuss our fate has nothing to do with the White power structure. It has all to do with understanding our culture, if you are a Black aficionado. Under the guidance of the spirit of Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson we will work for a better understanding. Attendance does not require a doctor’s degree.

  77. Yohan

    I was always hoping Dr. Boyce and Dr. Cornell West would spend a year or two (of more) at a HBCU it would be a great way to give back and experience that side of teaching. It would be a win win relationship in my eyes.

    Peace & Love

  78. Pingback: Dr. Boyce: It’s Time for Black Scholars to Escape the Academic Plantation | Your Black Bloggers

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  80. Sue DeNymh

    I highly suggest that Black scholars, or any other scholars get out of the USA, at least for a time. It even worked for Malcolm X. I am a non US Black. Seems to me you guys have no idea how racism has skewed your ability to see humanity in a holistic way, and thus poison your lives, your work, and the enjoyment of it all. Race is an artificial construct that your whole country treats as true. It’s not unique to the US, but the manifestation of it is unique in its ability to completely blind you to other ways of seeing and other ways of knowing. Stepping outside your culture will help you to see it better and be better prepared to find ways of managing this ridiculous polarity of black and white that exists in the USA. Good luck.

  81. SteadyState

    I want to start out by saying this: I am a white man, but I grew up outside of DC in Prince George’s County, Maryland. I went to college at a school that is graduating a high number of black scholars to graduate schools in STEM fields. I am friends with a good number of these scholars (note: not in a “I can’t be racist, I have a black-friend” kind of way) and linked via scholarship to a larger number of them. I empathize with them (note: not sympathize because that would imply I have completely walked in their/your shoes) and I am aware of their struggle to be recognized for their talents.

    Dr. Boyce, sir, I am appalled at the suggestion that the collective group “the white man” has intentionally set up an institution within which people “of color” cannot thrive. Are there select bigots? Absolutely. Do some of them selectively (sometimes unknowingly) treat black people unfairly? Absolutely. But just as the black community does not want to be characterized as a monolith, I don’t think it’s fair to do so to white people. I understand that it’s somewhat of a false equivalency, but were you to flip your article, replacing “black” with “white” and the color of the author, you’d likely be appalled at the suggestion that white scholars actively self-segregate themselves from scholars on the whole.

    Sir, black scholars have an advocate in me; as I suspect that as the years go on, you’ll find to be the case in a number of other white people. This is not intended as a condescension but as a recognition that we could be colleagues and that I could look to black scholars for advice, wisdom, and knowledge.

    It’s said that time heals wounds. And while part of that is true, there’s also the deeper knowledge that conditions need to be right in the body for wounds to heal. Biochemical signals, proteins, and the like work TOGETHER to heal those wounds. I want to be part of that process. Healing the wounds of hundreds of year of forced segregation will not be solved by self-segregation. We may view the American Experience differently on some levels or varieties of levels but I still consider you a fellow countryman. Correct me where I’m wrong, but understand that I want all Americans to prosper, regardless of color or creed. Perhaps I’m blinded by idealistic naivete still, but I’d like to think we can prosper together in all institutions of learning.

  82. SteadyState

    Might I add, that I do not echo the sentiments of the Amazonian who I feel embodies a bit of the “angry white man” mentality that doesn’t seem to understand that until the 60′s in this country, white people had the CLEAR advantage. When I say things such as this, as a white man, people often accuse me of “white guilt” to which I often retort that reality is not guilt. The system WAS skewed disproportionately for many years. Gains have been made in that time. Enough gains? Certainly not; nor do I think we (as human beings) should ever be satisfied by the status quo. As such, many of our institutions do not appear to reflect the people, but I have faith that they will, in time, begin to reflect America as a whole. Will it happen everywhere all at once? No. It is bound to happen in urban, more-liberal areas first. While the hold-outs to the changing winds will inevitably be the Southeast/South and “Flyover” states.

  83. Reblogged this on prudishlyfrank and commented:
    YES.

  84. Pingback: It’s Time for Black Scholars to Escape the Academic Plantation | drsafiyahoskins

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