Friday, December 24, 2010

Dr. Boyce Video: Black Economic Empowerment

Dr. Boyce Watkins on AOL Black Voices: Economic Prosperity

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Zachary Rinkins is serious about money. He's been running a very popular financial blog for the past several years, and has positioned himself as one of the most respected financial bloggers in the black community. I love what Zachary is doing because he reflects a generation of young people who are interested in seeing themselves empowered through economic success.


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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Julianne Malveaux: Surviving and Thriving During the Holidays


by Dr. Julianne Malveaux, President – Bennett College

When I look at the data that define the reality for African Americans in the economy, I am often alarmed and discouraged. One in four African American lives in poverty. Nearly one in three is out of work, according to unofficial data (official data says one in six). African Americans have lost billions of dollars worth of wealth in the foreclosure crisis. We aren't alone in our pain - our nation is hurting. But our pain is more pronounced, more acute, more debilitating.
This is hardly the first time African Americans have experienced disproportionate pain. Indeed, the story of our presence in this nation has been a story of us shouldering more than our share of economic pain. When people ask me about the wealth gap, I remind them that black folks used to be the wealth white folks accumulated. Under those circumstances, it is difficult to imagine that the wealth gap will ever be closed.

And yet we rise. I wrote my latest book, Surviving and Thriving: 365 Facts in Black Economic History, to remind me, to remind all of us, that even in harsh times African Americans have been more than survivors, we have been thrivers. We have made it despite horrible conditions, despite unfairness, despite racism. The playing field has never been level, and yet we have played on the slanted field, returning, returning, and sometimes winning. In the middle of a week of running around, talking about the book in Detroit and in Chicago, I had to smile at myself with air of satisfaction and acknowledge a job well done.


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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wells Fargo Says It Plans to Be Nicer to Black People: Oh Really?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I got a call not too long ago. It was from Wells Fargo, the bank that has been sued by one county after another for engaging in predatory lending toward the African American community. My first question to my business manager was "What do they want? I'm probably not going to be interested." My personal negotiations with Wells Fargo didn't go very far. I had no interest in being associated with the company that many believe to have ripped billions of dollars in wealth from a community that has such little wealth to begin with. Also, after watching my grandparents lose the home they'd lived in for over 40 years, it was personal for me. I also applaud Tavis Smiley for ending his affiliation with Wells Fargo after the predatory lending allegations surfaced during the financial crisis.

You can imagine my dismay when the NAACP made a deal with Wells Fargo that led to the company immediately becoming the title sponsor of the organization's national convention this year. I spoke with NAACP President Ben Jealous about the matter, and I was ultimately left unsatisfied with the degree of transparency behind the deal. It's one thing to say that you're going into the demon's house to clean it up, but you must provide proof that you're not simply entering the house to enjoy the spoils of colluding with the demon. To date, the NAACP has not done an adequate job of describing the nature of its financial deal with Wells Fargo, and the group has also not made clear exactly how Wells Fargo is going to make up for the billions in losses that have been caused to the African American community. Having the most powerful civil rights organization in America as a "partner" effectively releases Wells Fargo from the threat of any significant criticism for their activities in the black community (other than conversations that occur behind closed doors). If this partnership is not clearly defined and empowered, Wells Fargo could hire thugs to rob old ladies in the hood and the NAACP wouldn't be able to say a thing.


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Friday, December 3, 2010

Should You Be Able to Sue Someone for Taking Your Fiancee?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Former NBA star Antoine Walker is being sued for $5 million dollars by a man who claims that Walker stole his fiancee. Kevin Jenkins says that he caught Walker and his fiancee in an "intimate moment," and confronted Walker about it. He said that Walker laughed in his face to deliberately cause him emotional distress.
Jenkins then says that he became so emotionally distressed that he thought about killing himself.
To date, I haven't heard of anyone being sued for cheating with another person's fiancee. However, I do know that in some states, you can be sued for cheating with someone else's spouse. These "alienation of affection" lawsuits are legal in several states: Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.

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Dr. Boyce: Black Unemployment Keeps Going Up

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Today's release of November unemployment data is not good news for President Obama. Unemployment rose nationally to 9.8 percent, after holding steady at 9.6 percent for the previous three months. The jobless rate jumped for nearly every racial/gender demographic. White women still have the lowest unemployment rate of both genders, when comparing African Americans and whites. Black males have the highest.

Black unemployment rose again from 15.7 percent to 16 percent. This number is slightly lower than the high of 16.3 percent experienced back in August. When scaled with the white unemployment rate of 8.9 percent, the black unemployment rate is 79.8 percent higher than that of white Americans.


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