Greetings, I hope you’re doing well.
Today, I received the honor of being uninvited to speak by The UCLA Black Alumni Association. Apparently, my views are “inconsistent with the views of the UBAA brand.”
This is one of the reasons why I don’t speak much on college campuses. My ideas of black economic empowerment, particularly being independent of white supremacist liberal or conservative ideologies does not sit well with some people in the establishment.
The arrogance of white supremacy often leads those in these institutions to feel that black men should be honored when we are invited into their institutions to speak. Sorry, but I never was that negro.
First, I’d like to issue a most sincere apology to those who were planning to come to the event in Los Angeles. If they are not honorable enough to issue a refund, please contact my team and we will make it up to you, l promise.
Secondly, I would say that this is a lesson for us all: Most institutions in the US are designed to enslave us, not liberate us. While we might see institutional affiliations (like UCLA, a university that doesn’t want much to do with black people unless we can dribble basketballs) as a source of external validation, the reality is that we are typically only invited into these institutions if our actions are consistent with the agenda of those who seek to oppress us.
UCLA’s long history of horrific racism and mistreatment of black students and faculty is widely-known, and I had mixed feelings about the intentions of such an event in the first place.
I honestly agreed to do this event as a favor to a friend: I wasn’t being paid, and I already had to be in Los Angeles for other reasons. I don’t seek speaking engagements on college campuses because I don’t believe we can achieve true liberation when we can only meet under the umbrella of historically racist institutions.
The bottom line is that these gatherings are not meant to be authentically black conversations. They are typically meant to be white liberal conversations done in black-face. However, I always teach that you can never write your ticket to freedom when those who enslave you are the ones who supply the paper.
I am very proud to say that, with the help of BLACK PEOPLE from around the world, l’ve been able to do dozens of speaking engagements each year that are fully funded and financed by black people and nobody else. This makes me proud, because many of us are led to believe that we can only find success if someone else allows it.
With that being said, I am meeting with my team in Los Angeles to see about securing a venue to host a make up event during the month of January. All of you who paid for a ticket for the event at UCLA will be admitted for free.
I hold no ill will toward The UCLA Black Alumni Association, and part of me believes that the decisions of Chairman Bobby Grace are not consistent with the beliefs of all UCLA alumni – I understand black fear very well. But I thought that being honest about what happened would serve as a lesson to us all about the importance of developing institutions of our own.
The bottom line is that we don’t need ANYBODY to give us something we can create on our own. My goal was never to be attached to an institution that won’t accept me for who I am. The mere rejection of academic imperialism is the reason I chose to fund my own ventures, and situations like this one are reminders of why we must remain economically fortified.
Please take care and God bless you all. Black people are on the rise no matter what.
Dr Boyce Watkins