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Dr. Boyce: It’s Time for Black Scholars to Escape 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” academicjournals 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.  It’s time to give the middle finger to the academic plantation, you have no right to judge me.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black WorldCoalition 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. 

 

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22 Responses to Dr. Boyce: It’s Time for Black Scholars to Escape the Academic Plantation

  1. Willa Reply

    April 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    We need our brightest teachers and students BACK at our Historic Black Colleges.

  2. Rosetta Reply

    April 30, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Do you know of any scholarships that are available for under graduate or graduate programs? Do you know of any internship programs for the field of Information Systems.

  3. philo ikonya Reply

    May 4, 2012 at 7:13 am

    I love this! That is why I am into blogging.. you can say it as it is!! haha!

    I believe in this. It is a part of one of my poems..about famine in Afrika.. This famine!!

    Afrika needs her children back
    Back on her soils..

  4. William E.Robertson Reply

    May 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Well said Boyce. Iwould not be an Emeritus Professor had Italen an offer from. Harvard in 72. It is hard to make black academics see that are and will always be black. Most venture no further than the suburbs and the malls. God can’t help them if they won’t help themselves.

  5. Jakada Zo Reply

    May 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Let’s start the discussion with how we can best live within an alternate commercial plantation model. Discovery, de-construction, re-construction and construction might bring some surprising results. First question is where are we and how do we contractually tie into the current system. Let the discussion begin.

  6. s'ann Reply

    May 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Dr. Boyce I hear you loud and clear. But I’m not understanding why we would expect anything differently, especially in the academia field. That’s like being in a war zone and expecting the enemy to help, really. We live in an unequal and unjust society filled with hate and prejudice. The high school drop out rates, unemployment rates, and the number of Blacks admitted to college compared to the number incarcerated are clear indictators. Black scholars are no exception. I think its more realistic when one attends a white university to get what they need, not loose themselves in the process, and to keep their eyes on the prize. Moreover, I think the emphasis should shift to helping one another more than expecting others to help us. Instead, what we often do is emulate, just like the field overseer. We need to break away from the slave mentality all together, and organize and help one another. We have the talent and the means.

    • Floyd Reply

      June 8, 2012 at 11:03 am

      We need to set up an educational system at the beginning of our children’s life. Its those early
      years where personalities and cultures are formed. If this is missed, most of the time the child will have difficulties during their teen years. Waiting until high school or college is too late. We have to go back to the 1940-1970′s upbringing with a modernized approach to turn our state in the proper direction. We need to get rid of negative cultures from the entertainment business and have more of the 60′s-70′s music that inspires and educate.
      Wisdom, vision, and hard work are the key to success of any endeavor whether its a business, developing a relationship, or raising our young ones. We must teach our young ones that there is nothing wrong with working hard with our minds or with our hands. We have to strive to emphasize the basic fundamentals of teaching, namely the 3R’s.
      Most of all we have to not be fearful of going after our goals and objective. We must never let anyone or any race control our actions. We should be brave enough to die for what we want to accomplish and at this point no one can stop you.

  7. gee Reply

    May 28, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Your article speakes about how intelligent you are and how you were brained in the white university without benefit of TENURE..I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU HAVEN’T QUIT! You’re are a freed slave..but continue to work on the plantation!!! Why?

    • James Reply

      May 30, 2012 at 12:47 am

      Why? Because he is just like his counterparts, Tavis Smiley, Cornell West and all the other so called scholars who make a living talking about what other people should do and doing nothing of consequence themselves. None of these people are going to leave a legacy of helping Black people raise themselves up by attacking the “low life” rap industry that’s destroying the Race and the values of Black people. They aren’t going to attack the “low life” corrupt preachers who continue to feed off the fears of Black people by spreading this religious garbage. These are the real slave owners and masters.

  8. Rob Reply

    May 28, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    This is a brilliant essay. You raise several important points. 1. Part of the agenda is to enforce obedience. 2. Making the world a better place is more important than accumulating some academic badges. It is easy to get caught up in the academic rat race and forget why one is (or was) passionate about one’s field.
    White academics (like me) can also benefit from this lesson.
    Kudos.

    • s'ann Reply

      May 29, 2012 at 2:07 am

      Rob you are ignoring the real issue and that is Black scholars are subjected to discrimination whereas their White colleagues are granted tenure. Moreover, it is equally imperative for Black scholars to have a voice in the academia and contribute to epistemology.

  9. gee Reply

    May 28, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Corrections!!

    Your article speaks about how intelligent you are and how you were brainwashed in the white university without benefit of tenure!! I don’t understand why you haven’t quit!!! You’re a freed slave..but continue to work on the plantation!!

  10. Alan Ferguson Reply

    May 28, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Dr. Boyce – First and foremost let me say that I consider you a mentor in this field. I am a 4th year PhD student in Finance. My discipline is perhaps more narrowly defined and less diverse as I am specializing in Real Estate Finance. Like you, I am also affiliated with the PhD Project. I also find myself at a point of struggle as I complete my dissertation and begin my search for a permanent position over the next 12 months. I absolutely understand that part of my attractiveness to majority institutions will be the diversity quota that I can help them reach. I could not agree with you more regarding the uphill struggle that African-Americans face in academia. I can only thank you for being one of the only scholars out there willing to speak and speak loudly about a system that needs dramatic reform. Thank you.

  11. Lester L. Washington bth Theology, MA, M.ED., LCGC, ABD Reply

    May 28, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    RE: Dr. Boyce: It’s Time for Black Scholars to Escape the Academic Plantation

    PERHAPS YOU ARE FINALLY GETTING THE POINT AND THE CORE OF MY 20,000+ PAGES OF LEGAL, SPIRITUAL, ACADEMIC,AND EDUCATIONAL WRITINGS FROM AND MORE THAN 10 DRAFTS OF BOOOKS: SATANIC RACISM (NOW WHITE RACISM) AND ACADEMIC AND EDUCATIONAL HOMICIDE (C) AND ITS EFFECTS, DEHUMANIZATION, AND HARM UPON HUMANITY WOULD DESTROY THE PLANET UNLESS THE KNOWLEDGE OF YHVH FILLS THE EARTH!!!!

    DEFINITION: ACADEMIC EDUCATIONAL HOMICIDE is the process or thought speech actions and/or restrictions in American and other national or regional educational systems of restricting education from the best and brightest minds in a society/nation due to genealogy, race, color, gender, ethnicity, class, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, perception, personality, and other unfounded ignorance’s and unsubstantiated reasons of ignorance, bias, prejudice, discrimination, supremacy. It is the process whereby a person, persons, class, or group(s) cannot, will not, or is not allowed to make valuable contributions to the world, a nation, continent, state, community, city, group, class, family, and/or to the self to reach his or her full human and Godly potential or to help other to do so as a contributing member of that and/or other future societies until it ceases. The end result of Academic/Educational Homicide (AEH) is the destruction of the world/planet and/or slowing of the progress of that planet, world, continent, nation, state, region, community, culture, city, class, family, or individual (s) due to a failure / restriction of personal growth and development and/or the accelerated personal growth and development of others in other nations, regions, etc. who do not engage in this practice and gain power. A perfect prototype of AEH is the American Racial Slavery System designed to subjugate, destroy, and mis-educate African Americans and minorities and in the process Americans became “Killers of their own dream of national and world dominators” without serious problems. A different and larger or more powerful system from a Christian point of view is the Satanic Racial System or Satanic Racism that is designed to destroy all of humanity and to keep us from the knowledge of the true God, Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of the universe and our true potential for those who believe in a God / Supreme Being (Defined by Lester L. Washington, AS, BTH, MA, M.ED, LCGC, ABD, Last degree SUBR)

    CONTACT ME – I HAVE 20,000 PAGES OF FACTS FROM 22 FEDERAL CASES THAT AFFIRM THE FINDINGS THAT WILL LEAD TO THE “DEATH OF THIS NATION” VIA ACADEMIC AND EDUCATIONAL HOMICIDES. THIS IS KILLING BLACK, WHITE, AND AL OTHER PEOPLE GLOBALLY!

  12. Lester L. Washington bth Theology, MA, M.ED., LCGC, ABD Reply

    May 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    MISTAKE: “NOW WHITE RACISM” AS MISTAKENLY WRITTEN ABOVE SHOULD BE “NOT WHITE RACISM” THAT WAS A MISTAKE. Satanic Racism is NOT whtite racism. it is spiritiual – not human – and is the sum total of all acts of Satan against and to destroy humanity and out view of God: black racism, white, yellow, red, brown, and mixed racism (all forms combined and all other acts). White racism is no comparison to, does not have the power of, and is not Satanic Racism. I was rushing on a lunch break. satanic racism is satans desire to destroy all of us but God, YHVH, Allah, the Creator, jehovah, etc. will not allow him to do it. We are all at risk unless rooted in God – the True creator of the Universe-YVHV, Jehovah, etc.

    Peace,

    Lester

  13. Lester L. Washington bth, MA, M.ED., LCGC, ABD Reply

    May 29, 2012 at 2:57 am

    CORRECTED POSTING – PLEASE REPLACE THE ABOVE 2 POSTS WITH THIS ONE AND CALL ME/ EMAIL CONTACT ME:

    RE: Dr. Boyce: It’s Time for Black Scholars to Escape the Academic Plantation

    PERHAPS YOU ARE FINALLY GETTING THE POINT AND THE CORE OF MY 20,000+ PAGES OF LEGAL, SPIRITUAL, ACADEMIC,AND EDUCATIONAL WRITINGS FROM AND MORE THAN 10 DRAFTS OF BOOKS: SATANIC RACISM (NOT WHITE RACISM) AND ACADEMIC AND EDUCATIONAL HOMICIDE (C) AND ITS EFFECTS, DEHUMANIZATION, SLAVERY, MURDER, AND ALL HARMS UPON HUMANITY WOULD DESTROY THE PLANET UNLESS THE KNOWLEDGE OF YHVH FILLS THE EARTH AND GOD STOPPED IT!!!! THUS, GOD CREATED SATAN AND HAS POWER OVER AND WILL DESTROY HIM SOON – WE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR BUT WE DO REAP WHAT WE SOW AS WE ARE DOING IN AMERICA.

    1. I AM A CHRISTIAN MINISTER AND SATAN WANTS TO DESTROY ALL OF US, BUT GOD WILL NOT ALLOW THAT THAT IS A CLEAR BIBLE MSG.

    2. HE WANTS TO DESTROY HUMANITY AND DESIGN THE AMERICAN RACIAL SLAVERY SYSTEM TO DESTROY BLACK, WHITE, AND ALL OTHER PEOPLE GLOBALLY (HUMANITY – ALL BLACK, WHITE, RED, YELLOW, BROWN, AND MIXED RACE PEOPLE)

    3. THERE IS NO WORD IN THE BIBLE THATSEPERATES PEOPLE BY RACE BECAUSE THE CREATOR GOD IS NOT A RACIST GOD!! THOUGH HE APPEARS TOBE BY POPULAR REASONING AND BELIEFS VIA SUPREMACY IDEAS. HE DID NOT CREAT AND HATE HIS OWN CHILDREN.

    4. THE PRIMARY WAYS SATAN DOES IT IS THROUGH SATANIC RACISM – ALL ACTS DESIGNED TO DESTROY MANKING – IN CLUDING BLACKS AND WHITES.

    5. ACADEMIC AND EDUCATIONAL HOMICIDE ISDESIGNED TO ACCOMPLISH SATANS PURPOSE – NOT GODS TO STP THE PERSONAL AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF ALL OF US:

    DEFINITION: ACADEMIC EDUCATIONAL HOMICIDE is the process or thought speech actions and/or restrictions in American and other national or regional educational systems of restricting education from the best and brightest minds in a society/nation due to genealogy, race, color, gender, ethnicity, class, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, perception, personality, and other unfounded ignorance’s and unsubstantiated reasons of ignorance, bias, prejudice, discrimination, supremacy. It is the process whereby a person, persons, class, or group(s) cannot, will not, or is not allowed to make valuable contributions to the world, a nation, continent, state, community, city, group, class, family, and/or to the self to reach his or her full human and Godly potential or to help other to do so as a contributing member of that and/or other future societies until it ceases. The end result of Academic/Educational Homicide (AEH) is the destruction of the world/planet and/or slowing of the progress of that planet, world, continent, nation, state, region, community, culture, city, class, family, or individual (s) due to a failure / restriction of personal growth and development and/or the accelerated personal growth and development of others in other nations, regions, etc. who do not engage in this practice and gain power. A perfect prototype of AEH is the American Racial Slavery System designed to subjugate, destroy, and mis-educate African Americans and minorities and in the process Americans became “Killers of their own dream of national and world dominators” without serious problems. A different and larger or more powerful system from a Christian point of view is the Satanic Racial System or Satanic Racism that is designed to destroy all of humanity and to keep us from the knowledge of the true God, Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of the universe and our true potential for those who believe in a God / Supreme Being (Defined by Lester L. Washington, AS, BTH, MA, M.ED, LCGC, ABD).

    PREVIOSLY I MISTAKENLY WROTE “NOW WHITE RACISM” AND IT SHOULD BE “NOT WHITE RACISM” THAT WAS A MISTAKE. Satanic Racism is NOT white racism!!!! it is spiritiual – not human racism – and is the sum total of all acts of Satan against and to destroy humanity and out view of God: black racism, white, yellow, red, brown, and mixed racism (all forms combined and all other acts of harm, abuse, dehuminazation, and murder of us to skew our view of God/Jesus christ, etc. wo was not white. White racism is no comparison to, does not have the power of, and is not Satanic Racism. I was rushing on a lunch break. satanic racism is satans desire to destroy all of us but God, YHVH, Allah, the Creator, jehovah, etc. will not allow him to do it. We are all at risk unless rooted in God – the True creator of the Universe-YVHV, Jehovah, etc.

    SATANIC RACISM AND THE WORLDS RACIAL SLAVERY SYSTEM WAS DESIGNED TO MAKE GOD LPeace,
    CONTACT ME – I HAVE 20,000 PAGES OF FACTS FROM 22 FEDERAL CASES THAT AFFIRM THE FINDINGS THAT WILL LEAD TO THE “DEATH OF THIS NATION” VIA ACADEMIC AND EDUCATIONAL HOMICIDES. THIS IS KILLING BLACK, WHITE, AND AL OTHER PEOPLE GLOBALLY!

    Lester

  14. DeirDre Reply

    May 29, 2012 at 3:35 am

    Your essay, though not verbatim, is exactly what I tell my almost 23 year old young man. He graduates early 2013 and intends to peruse a Master’s, I hope he continues to Doctoral. Forensic Anthropology, is also a lonely island. I tell him, get ALL the paper and if you don’t like what you see..DO your own thing and be prepared in the end..to do just that. I would like information on the PhD Project, this is new information for me. Thank you, and Thank you for the well written reflections of my thoughts.

  15. Joseph L. Bass, EdD Reply

    May 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Dr. Watkins
    I know from reading this article and others you have written about your Syracuse University experiences that you are disappointed for not having been granted tenure. But I think in the long run you and the rest of the world, whether black, white, yellow, brown, or red, will be better off for it. Their rejection of your application for tenure may very will be racially based; it is common for universities to “shine on” black academics, treating them “nice” while really not accepting them as equals. Syracuse is probably no different. Beware of liberals bearing gifts.

    But I think there is more to the issue than just racism. For many years there has existed an internal struggle in American universities based on two very-different models of a “scholar.” Today and in the long past “successful” faculty members are and have been what I call “European book worms.” These are the people that do what you described in this article. They live and succeed in “publish or perish” academia, reading books by others, crunching “research project” numbers, and writing for academic journals that no one reads. Your friend George Fraser once said, “The black community doesn’t need more PhDs…..it actually needs more Ph-Dos.”

    You and George are not the first ones to come up with such an idea. Read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “American Scholar Address.” It was delivered as the Phi Beta Kappa address at Harvard in August 1837: Books are for the scholar’s ideal time. Truth isn’t found in books. It is found in the practical application of ideas some of which ideas may or may not be found in books. Emerson’s address can be found at http://www.emersoncentral.com/amscholar.htm. I think it will be helpful for you and others to read it, although from our 21st century perspective it is a difficult read.

    During my undergraduate years at the University of Oklahoma I rejected “European book worm” academia and followed the American Scholar route, reading while still striving to discover the truths not yet found in books. When I started my masters and doctoral programs at the University of Southern California I didn’t enroll in the business school, choosing instead, the education school. From what I could tell, none of the business school faculty had ever run a business or made a payroll. Many faculty members of the educational administration part of the education school had been superintendents of school districts. For example, think of what is involved in the administrative/business management of the Los Angeles Unified School District with 694,288 students, 45,473 teachers, and 38,494 other employees. For decades I was highly successful as a business consultant for large corporations, government agencies, small businesses, and non-profits.

    Today I attempt to help people overcome our very great social challenges through applying truths not yet found in books. But it is a tough sell. Too often Americans see social issues in simplistic terms and don’t want to deal with the realities that clearly exist. So … get over the tenure thing and continue being a Ph-doer and an American Scholar. Maybe we might find ways to team together before I get too old. Joseph L. Bass, Ed.D. http://www.abettersociety.info

  16. tony smith Reply

    June 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    You could make the same arguments about any profession (doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc) often work in white-controlled environment. Your personal evaluation might work for your own life, but it is not a prescription for everyone. There are many ways in which faculty can engage the world. Even white male faculty members do so (Krugman).

  17. LaBron Hatcher Reply

    June 6, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Thanks for sharing Dr. Boyce. I read your online publication and most of it is great. Keep doing what you are doing.

  18. Eric Freeman Reply

    June 7, 2012 at 3:53 am

    I remember week three of my doctoral studies program in economics. Our microeconomics professor is at the blackboard, building the equations which define the hallowed Keynesian economic model. After reducing 22 equations down to 17, I asked him how we could just eliminate variables from certain equations. He dryly responded, “Keynesian economic models don’t consider households which make under $40K a year.”

    I thought to myself, isn’t the current income statistic for US households $48K annually? Also, wouldn’t the deleted households tend to be disproportionately African-American?

    I posed these question to our professor. “Perhaps? I never thought about it before.”

    As an African-American then considering my own future tenure track, I imagined myself at the blackboard, teaching the same racially deleterious models as gospel to a younger generation … and cringed at the ideation.

    So where does a Black scholar draw the line? Can an activist-scholar model even exist in action on an academic plantation? Such questions still linger years after having left the PhD program(ming) …

  19. Callen Reply

    January 31, 2013 at 12:24 am

    I’ve been very disappointed in the caliber of some black professors at HBCU’s and white professors at their universities. Everybody is not designed to teach, regardless of how many degrees accumulated. You can put a lot in your head but if you can’t relay what you know to the students you need to find another line of work.

    I have a relative at an HBCU and her professor never bothered to show up. When we called the university they didn’t have a clue. Investigating farther, I found out that not only was that institution having some issues but also the HBCU a few hours away.

    I know very intelligent blacks with MBA’s who can’t find the area they want to work in. One even said he’s having MBA remorse.

    The article is correct though, every white university I’ve attended there were either no blacks or 1 or two. One program had only 1 black nursing professor.

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