Thursday, July 30, 2009

Prof Boyce Watkins on Obama’s “Teachable Moment”

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Email for interviews or call (901) 413-0203

Syracuse Prof Dr Boyce Watkins Breaks Down Obama’s “Teachable Moment”

(Syracuse, NY) - Dr Boyce Watkins, a prominent Black professor at Syracuse University, offered tips to President Obama on how to truly make the case of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates into a “teachable moment.” Professor Gates was arrested last week by Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department, opening a firestorm of controversy. Dr Watkins argues that the powerful reaction was due to the fact that America continues to fear a free exchange of ideas when it comes to racial inequality.

You can make fun of me for being a “goody two-shoes”, but I’ve never finished a beer in my entire life. I am, however, willing to drink a beer with President Obama, or anyone else, if that will open the door to an honest conversation on race relations in America.”

Watkins argues that the meeting at the White House should be the beginning of the “American Racial Conversation,” in which all Americans join in on the opportunity created by Gates and Crowley to talk to one another about racial healing and honesty. “This conversation should not stop on the White House lawn,” says Dr. Watkins, author of the book, ‘What if George Bush were a Black Man?’ “The Conversation should be one that is replicated in every church, community center, and university across America.”

According to Dr. Watkins, the American Racial Conversation should be one that is laced with forgiveness and empathy, so that Whites and Blacks are not afraid to share their differences. He also says that the conversation should include courage and focus on finding solutions.

“The American Racial Conversation should be one that is without judgment or condemnation. It should be blanketed by the cloak of forgiveness and the desire to show true empathy. We should try to understand the honest fear many whites have of being unfairly labeled racist, while acknowledging the traumatic experience of being black in America. If we don’t learn how to respectfully view the world in one another’s eyes, we will be fighting forever.”

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?” For more information, please visit Call (901) 413-0203 for interviews or email ###

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