Sunday, May 17, 2009

Black News: Dr Boyce Talks Tenure Decision

As I state on the video introduction for, “There is no one way to be black”.  This statement implies that even those in our family who don’t agree with my position have a right to express their opinions.  Such is the essence of freedom of thought, which requires discipline for us to maintain (even I get tempted to discount opinions that seem misguided, as I am learning and growing myself).  At any rate, I want to give a very sincere “thank you” to those who’ve sent emails in support of my tenure situation at Syracuse.  Again, I  must re-emphasize the following:

1) DO NOT feel sorry for me….I am fine.  I’ve never depended on some random university to pay my bills, as we should realize that it is not in the interest of our community’s “national security” to rely on our historical oppressors to provide things that we critically need (the easiest way to control another man is for that man to know that you are the reason his children get to eat every day). I built my business interests because I wanted to be a truly independent Black man and a serious scholar.  Academic bureaucracy sometimes gets in the way of true scholarship, the same way that the pettiness of church affairs can get in the way of truly serving God….hence, Jesus is killed in public with many so-called pastors cheering on his murder.  I will never be as great as Jesus, but I firmly believe in the phrase, “What would Jesus do?”  I truly believe that Jesus would do his best to do what’s right, he would stand up for the weak and he would speak for those who have no voice.  That is what I try to do every day of my life.

2) This issue is NOT ABOUT ME.  I am not fighting for my own tenure, for I’ve never needed tenure to validate me as a scholar.  Rather, this fight is for all of the Black scholars around the nation who are being denied tenure on unfair grounds.  It is for our children, who have a right to learn from Black professors without having to take African American studies as a major.  It is to break the chains off of our most brilliant Black scholars, who are locked away in their offices writing research papers that no one is ever going to read, all because they’ve been threatened with severe punishment if they choose to use their intellect to solve critical problems in the Black community.  I encourage you to do an accountability request from your alma maters and ask them why they seem to only find good Black basketball players, but can’t find any “qualified” Black faculty (using fundamentally flawed measures of the term “qualified”….you’d be amazed at what some others consider to be qualified).  Our children deserve to be educated by Black people too (I’ve never had a Black professor in any class I took in 13 years of post-secondary education.  It shouldn’t be that difficult).

3) I am not angry with Syracuse University.  While I do not agree with their decision, the truth is that many in America are socially conditioned to be frightened by uncompromising and outspoken African American men. I am from the south, so I am used to the disease of racism.  So, Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s reaction to me is no different from the reaction that the university had to Jim Brown when he was here many years ago.  I knew what I was getting myself into, as my reading about the lives of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Harry Edwards and others allowed me to see, in advance, how White America was going to react to the Dr. Boyce Watkins brand of scholarship.  Even when you try to speak in love, simply standing up for Black people in a forthright way leads others to place you as an enemy of the establishment….that’s why Dr. King was murdered.  But remember: had it not been for the sacrifices of others, I would not be here.  Now it’s time for me to make my sacrifice for our children.  I truly believe this is going to be the best year of my entire life, and I am sincerely looking forward to it. 

Thank you and God bless you for all of your support.  Your comments are below….names have been removed to protect your privacy. 

v  Dear Dr. Boyce:

Hang in there. Also, why don't you send this (or a similar missive) to Vice President Joseph Biden, a prestigious Syracuse alumnus. It would be
interesting to see if he responds. Keep up the good work. Thanks for your voice.

v  Sorry to read this. We need to find a way to harness the "leveraging power" of Black collegiate athletes." Also, can "Letters to the Editor" be sent to the student newspaper?

v  Brother,
I sit here at work and read and am I saddened – I am not as sure as to what, and how I feel. However, I know that great things are in store for you things that only the divine being can and will provide and that Syracuse cannot take away. There are situations that I can speak of that has happened to me – in the same context of this whole story- all said your issue is of a much greater fight. With mine it was my own people who turned their back on me- in the work environment when I was called all sorts of names…. Yes, names I dare not utter- I would think I was on a plantation.

For me it was a shocker and I did not know the correct procedures and steps to take- in a working environment and no one told me how to deal with this issue at work. So, I was left out in the cold by my own peers………and I will not go on. I know for a fact that prayers work wonders – and wonders never cease. I look at it like this sometimes in life in order to go forward, you have to take a step back, maybe not too far back, maybe you could and was making great waves at Syracuse- Tsunamis even, and people fear what they know not of most.

You are what people fear an educated black man! You may be down but not out, and Syracuse and all the people in powers that be who sit in their ivory towers will see you rise instead of fall, and they will look back and said “ I wish….. If only I knew…. If only I had spoken up……

On 05/14/09- you will look back at this day and thank them for letting you go, because there is greater need for you elsewhere and God has your destiny not man.

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