They discuss potential 2020 presidential candidates Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, and whether corporations and interests connected to foreign countries have more influence than Black voters on policy and priorities.
They discuss whether the Obamas put some Black people “to sleep” and whether Africa should be prioritized over the state of Israel in the DNC platform.
You can listen to the entire conversation right now in the audio player below. If you prefer to listen on your phone, GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin is available wherever you listen to podcasts — including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and SoundCloud.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 18: Boyce Watkins
Jamarlin talks with Dr. Boyce Watkins about the lopsided relationship between the Democratic Party and Black America. They discuss potential 2020 presidential candidates, Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Kamala Harris, and whether corporations and interests connected to foreign countries have more influence than Black voters on policy and priorities.
This is a full transcript of the conversation which has been lightly edited for clarity.
Jamarlin Martin: We have a special guest today on GHOGH. We have Dr Boyce Watkins. Let’s GHOGH! The next election in 2020. You’re independent, I assume?
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yes, I am.
Jamarlin Martin: I’m also independent. How do black people get out the mess of, you have this Republican Party, a lot of them tend to be overtly racist, right? And you keep on having a bad choice between this beast, this monster Republican Party, MAGA. And then you go over to the Democratic Party because they’re so racist, right? But these two choices are not good choices for black folks, right? And the black vote really decides who’s going to be in power. It will tip the scale of a divided white electorate, right? So what is the solution or how do we get out this mess where we don’t love the Republican Party? We don’t love the Democratic Party. A lot of us, we’re not crip-walking for the Democratic Party. We don’t want you. We want something better.
Dr Boyce Watkins: I think that the way we get out of the mess is we can do one of two things, right from a political standpoint, there is that option of having that, that party that’s just all black, that doesn’t mean that we can get into a candidate in office per se, but it becomes a block where, Jay Morrison has proposed is where we actually have our own internal process of deciding who we support almost the way labor at the way the teamsters might do in. They get together, they talk about it, they all vote or they communicate which candidate they think represents their interests the best, and then they offer an endorsement to that particular party based on that, right? That’s one option. What does that really do? I don’t know how effective that is.
Jamarlin Martin: I agree with you. But first and foremost, we need a, I believe we need a philosophical adjustment. We need to understand that the oppression, the racism, the white supremacy, that discrimination, it’s not a republican or democratic thing, right? That both parties are sub-optimal for where the black community wants to go. And the greed, listen to me, the greed that controls a lot of these politicians on right and left, in black America we need to understand how the game works, that the Democrats are being funded by, a lot of them are corporations, elites, and they are part of the power system behind the politicians and leader. So we have a greed that is embedded within the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and the entire system. The first stop on reimagining, I believe, the political landscape for Black America is to understand that corporate greed, including interests from foreign countries is coming before the black vote. I believe, when you look at Cory Booker and Kamala Harris giggling with Netanyahu, and they’re going to do all these speeches. They may do more speeches with those aligned with the interests of Israel than they do with those aligned with the interests of the black community. That’s where they draw a lot of their financial and political support. And they will prioritize, I believe, the Jewish community over the black community. And so when you think about, hey, we vote right? We have, we have a bigger population, but why do these politicians take care of these smaller groups? Why are they prioritizing this other stuff? And so what black America, I believe, needs to think about is you have to evaluate the entire system in terms of how corporations, other countries, how these people influence and control the politicians. It’s a game, right? It’s like a puppet show and who’s pulling the strings? And so the consciousness, I believe, of the black voter, really needs to bang hard politically on removing the corporate and foreign interests out of politics.
Dr Boyce Watkins: I agree. I wouldn’t say that that’s not a priority. I think that when it comes to things like that, I tend to lean to other advisors because I’ve become so cynical of the political system that I’ve seen and I just see it’s so fucked up that it’s just something where I don’t know how in my lifetime I could change this beast.
Jamarlin Martin: It doesn’t matter who’s in power and I’m gonna do my thing.
Dr Boyce Watkins: It’s not that I’m saying it doesn’t matter. It’s more like in terms of what matters most in my life, who’s in power doesn’t have the dominant impact on what occurs in my existence as a black man or if I were a black woman. I think that, um, you know, to your point though, this idea that you got these black politicians, Kamala and Cory Booker that are kissing up to the Jewish community more than they kiss up to the black community. It does make you say, okay, well why is that? And obviously it’s money, right? The Jews are able to make financial contributions that are disproportionate to their percentage in the population and black people. We feel that we’re going to have an influence because we all voted. And so at the end of the day, black people lose because we don’t have the massive numbers to really swing, and we can influence a vote to a point, but we don’t have like Hispanic level numbers, right? So we can only influence that so much, and then financially we can only do so much. So I think that when you talk about where you’re putting your energy, I do agree with you that if it were possible to find some way to support a candidate that wants to get the money out of politics, fine, do it. I don’t think there’s going to be doable. I just don’t. I just think that sometimes you get to a point where the beast has become so bad, so deadly, so infected that you can’t pull the virus out of the beast. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe somebody can prove me wrong.
Jamarlin Martin: Why do you think the Black democrat establishment, the congressional Black Caucus, why haven’t black democrats required the Democratic Party in their platform, they have like paragraphs written on Israel, for example. Why do you think Black democrats have never pushed for prioritizing our brothers and sisters in Africa in terms of tree, in terms of cultural exchange, in terms of support? Why haven’t the Black democrats demanded that the Democratic Party has to prioritize the entire continent of Africa over Israel? Israel has a big bullet point of priority in the Democratic Party platform. Africa does not have that priority. They started talking about wildlife, but why wouldn’t the Black democrat require the Democratic Party to say in terms of foreign aid, a economic development, military support, that the country of Israel cannot get more support than the entire continent of Africa where we are descendants of?
Dr Boyce Watkins: Because the members of the congressional black caucus aren’t really there to represent the interests of even the black people who voted for them. I think they see their base as being relatively unsophisticated, incapable of seeing the big picture. So if I’m a congressman or senator and I was elected by black people, I can go back and I can make them happy by just putting a statue up in the park or opening up a little league football team. They’re not going to really necessarily be concerned about the weight of global politics. Why are you doing more things for Israel than you are for Africa? You’re going to have some of those black people who will say, yeah, who are smart like you, who are going to see that whole big picture. But what happens is in our community, ignorance is winning. So people like that get marginalized. There will always be fewer black people listening to me that there are who will listen to Cardi B, right? And so let’s just think about that, right? Cardi B is this influential person who is very talented, but she became famous by going on Instagram and talking about how well she can suck a penis. Right? And so that just kind of speaks to where we are as voters. Wer’e not, at this point, a very sophisticated voting base. Now, maybe in 50 years we can be more sophisticated. That’s why I think the educators have to fight the good fight and elevate the community’s consciousness level. But it’s going to take a while.
Jamarlin Martin: Well, the Democratic Party, the corporate democrats, there’s different segments in the Democratic Party, but the corporate elites who love Bill Clinton. They love Barack Obama. They love Hillary Clinton. They don’t love Bernie Sanders. They don’t love some of the more progressive candidates, right? The more socialist candidates, the more populous candidates. So the corporate elites have made up their mind, at least, in my view, is that we want to run either as vice-president as president, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris. And here’s my theory on this. If I run a black clean black politician, you know, Ivy Lee, great credentials, super clean. If I run a Barack Obama, if I run a Kamala Harris, if I run a Cory Booker, these are people white folks are comfortable with and I don’t need to negotiate much with that black voter because so many black voters are going to go on the optics of, ‘we got a black person on the team, we’ve got a black president, we got a black vice-president’, that in the value exchange, if I put a black person out front, in terms of how democratic strategists are thinking, these elites, I can offer the black community less. If I have a white candidate, I may have to offer them more. I may have to do more. So in the perverse two-party system that’s really centralized on greed and different sides of that greed landscape, corporate landscape, that the cheapest way to get a black voter in terms of what type of policies do I have to offer them, is to run a clean black candidate, because I don’t have to offer that much. You guys are happy with the black face.
Dr Boyce Watkins: That’s true. It’s very easy to get over on a person or group of people when they value flash over substance, very easy. The Obama campaign mastered that. They knew that if they just had pictures of the family on the cover of Ebony magazine, that that will go a long way, or if he sang the Al Green song, when he’s giving a speech, little things like that. They have Michelle Obama rapping, like she was Beyonce or something. These are the things that they give to black people because black people, we’re not necessarily ready to play hardball politics. Whether that changes or how fast it changes, I don’t know.
Jamarlin Martin: But you do agree with that kind of disconnect and the political marketplace where when you play out the scenario of the Democratic Party and how things work, that when you run your scenarios, the cheapest way to get that black voter turnout is to run a black one. And so actually when you play this stuff out, a white democratic candidate, you probably gonna get more criminal justice reform, more stuff, if they run white people, they got to do more. You do believe that generally, obviously there’s exceptions?
Dr Boyce Watkins: I do think there’s a tradeoff. There is a tradeoff in the sense that if you look at the Obama presidency for example, I’ll use that as a good example because it illustrates the point you’re making right there. We gave up something for the fact that we got the chance to look at somebody in office who looks like us, because everything you do, everything the politician does is he’s trying to send a message to you that I’m on your side and I deserve your vote. So if it’s a white guy, he’s actually got to deliver something, a policy, some money or whatever, if he’s black, he’s always got to do is say, well look, I’m black
Jamarlin Martin: After Trayvon Martin happens, and some of these other police shootings, is there less push towards the federal government in terms of calling for justice for the kids that are being killed by the police? The black men and women here in America, they hold back some because it’s Barack Obama. If it’s a white man, you guys are in the streets. You guys are in the streets banging against the president and you’re banging against America hard.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. Well, I think that what’s interesting is that the Obama presidency set the tone for Donald Trump to feel comfortable ignoring black people because a lot of what Trump has said is actually what Yvette Carnell actually said, and she was very right. Trump basically came back and said, what did Obama do for you? Why are you getting mad? I did this, he didn’t do this. Right? And I remember her saying, this is back when we used to work together more, but she said, if you don’t ask this black president to help you or to do things for you, then the next white president’s going to say, ‘well, why are you asking me to do stuff? The black guy was in office and he didn’t have to do half of this.’ So I think that we have to be very cautious about getting heavily involved in identity politics because it makes us look stupid.
Jamarlin Martin: If you’re interested in advertising on the GHOGH podcast, you can go to www.moguldom.com/ghogh. Once you’re there, click on the advertising link. Let’s get back to the podcast. So last month the Israeli government murdered 20 Palestinians. Just murdered them, 20 Palestinians and they murdered them. You did not hear Kamala Harris, who’s been to Israel, you did not hear Cory Booker, who has been to Israel. Why won’t these Negroes say something? Because now they’re at the national level, right? Kamala Harris is in the Senate. Cory, they’re speaking from a national foreign policy perspective. Now they’re at the heights of the political system. These are the Democratic Party stars. Right? But why won’t they, if they’re really committed to justice and they talk about international issues, why do you think we haven’t heard them condemn the Israeli government for killing 20 Palestinians?
Dr Boyce Watkins: I think that you asked that question because you know the answer, right? We know that their owned, they’re bought and paid for. The anti-defamation league and these Jewish organizations pretty much control a lot of politics. I think black people can learn a lot from the Jewish community in terms of how to have a lot of power that’s disproportionate to your representation in the population.
Jamarlin Martin: Someone on the global stage in terms of when I look at some of the messaging that comes out from these corporate democrats, they’ll say little things to get black people kind of, ‘Yay, yay, yay.’ They’re very strategic in the messages they put out to the community that make the community think they’re really for them, that they come first. So can you trust your politicians? Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, these types of politicians, who white folks just love. Corporate democrats, they just love those. They’re positioning them for 2020? Can you trust a politician on justice for our people here in the United States where, are they going to do the right thing in terms of, our kids and black men and black women being shot down and police and there is no justice. Can we trust them to do the right thing by the community and prioritize us if they’re on the international stage and they won’t even say anything about 20 innocent people being killed by Israel, meaning that they may speak a few things here because they’re going to get your vote, but you want to judge people in terms of their consistency, right?
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. I think that what they’re going to probably do from a foreign policy perspective is they’re going to represent the best interests of that segment of the United States that controls their actions and writes their checks, right? So, I would say the best interests of the United States, but I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the United States. I think a lot of our foreign policy is connected to corporate greed, is connected to a type of arrogance, where we’ve done a lot of bad things all throughout the world in the name of the United States. And it’s given us a lot of enemies. Right? So, I would say that I’m in that situation. I think that what Kamala Harris might be thinking or Cory Booker is thinking is, ‘well, yeah, it is sad that they killed these Palestinians, but there’s nobody in the United States that is paying me to represent the interest of the Palestinians.’ Almost like a lawyer saying, well, I’d like to represent you, but you’re not paying my fee. I represent him because he’s paying my fee. So the Jews are paying their fee. The Jews are the ones who are controlling damn near everything. And they got the game on lock because they got it to the point where they have the ability to label you as antisemitic just because you point out the fact that they’re running the whole game. And so I think overall at the end of the day it tells you a little bit about how politics works. It ain’t about these people trying to do the right things. It’s not even about these people really having any real control or a real say in what happens out of their office. If they don’t do what the machine behind them is telling them to do, then the machine will replace them. It’s like a CEO. If I’m the CEO of a corporation and in my job I’ve agreed I’ve signed on to this job to maximize the wealth of the shareholders by engaging in a specific strategy. I have only so much space to deviate from their strategy. If I deviate too much then what’s going to happen is the board of directors, the shareholders and the board of directors is going to get rid of me. They’re going to replace me with somebody who plays ball the way they want you to play ball.
Jamarlin Martin: Did you vote for Barack Obama?
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yes.
Jamarlin Martin: Both times?
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. I don’t have any issue of Barack. I had people that got upset with me because I told black people they don’t have to vote for him. I told black people they should vote for whoever the hell they want to, and then I told them they don’t even have to vote, that your ancestors didn’t die for you to vote for a democrat. They died for you to have the right to choose.
Jamarlin Martin: What would you say to the Black democrat who would say, look, we get what you’re saying, but if you do not vote more and more of our people are going to be locked up? There’s gonna be more privatization of the prisons, that there’s real consequences of you telling black people not to come out and stop Donald Trump, stop MAGA. That if you do not vote black man and woman, don’t be crying when Donald Trump stops all the positive stuff Obama was doing as it relates to criminal justice reform in the prison system.
Dr Boyce Watkins: I say, you know what, anytime you take a stand on anything, there’s always a consequence. I flipped that on the Democratic Party. Do remember Cory Booker blamed black people for Trump being elected? He said we brought it on ourselves. Okay?
Jamarlin Martin: Yeah. That’s just pure sickness.
Dr Boyce Watkins: My thought is, no, I put that on the Democrats. Maybe if you had done more, black people would have felt incentivized.
Jamarlin Martin: Who’s more loyal than the Black democrat? You guys shouldn’t be voting at 95. You go tell white folks that, right?
Dr Boyce Watkins: Right. Or I think they’re saying even though we support the democrats, more of us should have just come to the polls, right? It’s one thing….
Jamarlin Martin: It’s like that sense of entitlement. It sounds like what you’re, what you’re saying is that democrats are just entitled to the Black vote.
Dr Boyce Watkins: There is an entitlement and I think ultimately you’re right, the Trump presidency has stunk up the place. It’s not a fun thing to watch. It’s a tough consequence for us to pay as a country for making a bad decision. Whatever happened. Right? But I will say this, if you notice, there’s actually talk right now for the first time ever, that the Democratic Party might include reparations as part of their platform. And why do you think that happened? That happened because the Democrats have said, we need black people to show up to this election. What do we need to do to be more sensitive to their needs so they’re going to show up?
Jamarlin Martin: A small group of democrats.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Those who want it to do what was necessary to get black people out there. Right? So my position on it is, the only reason people are so focused on with the consequences of abstaining or the consequences of us taking a stand against democratic tyranny is because they’re shortsighted. All they see is, ‘oh my God, if we don’t vote, then Trump will get elected, it will be all your fault’. And I had black people, they got mad at me saying, ‘no, you should have told black people to vote democrat because…
Jamarlin Martin: I gotta be honest, brother. I had a thought. I saw one of your messages and you know, I was really thinking about specifically certain policies that as soon as Trump got into office, he was going to pull back a lot of the positive stuff Obama was doing, in that there would be consequences of a low black turnout.
Dr Boyce Watkins: There are always consequences if you want a long-term gain. There will always be short term consequences, and the problem, the reason black people can’t move forward is because everybody wants to go to heaven, but don’t nobody want to die. Everybody wants to lose weight, but don’t nobody want to go through the pain of being in the gym.
Jamarlin Martin: You’re saying that Trump, in terms of you were thinking this then, that maybe if Trump gets into office, the system is so bad and so messed up, that this would actually turn out to be a positive long-term.
Dr Boyce Watkins: My belief was that if we let the democrats know that we know we got a choice, we always have a choice. We don’t have to show up and vote for you. I don’t care if you tell me that, oh, I’m going to die…
Jamarlin Martin: Then give the democrats Trump?
Dr Boyce Watkins: Right. Fuck it. You said fuck me. Well fuck you too. That’s my whole position. Right? Seriously think about this.
Jamarlin Martin: Assuming that there’s no nuclear war or nothing really pops off, honesty, it could be net-net for the black men and women specifically in America because Obama put a lot of you guys to sleep. You saw a black president, you saw Michelle, you started thinking MAGA. You start thinking America was great. We’re beyond race. Man America, these people have woken up. They’re treating black people differently. America’s different. Obama and Michelle, they pretty much said the same thing in terms of some of their speeches about, America’s so fair. I can’t believe that the descendants of slaves are in the White House. America’s so gracious. America is MAGA. And I believe that Obama and Michelle, not intentionally, not intentionally, but they put a lot of black people to sleep in terms of this beast here in America.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Oh, let me tell you a story. I gave a speech right when Obama got inaugurated in a church in Long Island and the choir director was leading black people to sing the song ‘We Shall Overcome’. It was a Martin Luther King Day speech and instead of singing ‘We Shall Overcome’, they changed the words to ‘We Have Overcome’. That’s where they have people, and then when I was in the lobby, a lady came out with this beautiful portrait of Barack Obama and his old lady and I said, that’s a beautiful picture. Where’d you get that? She said, I just bought it in the lobby and I’m going to take it home and I’m gonna put it right next to my pictures of Martin Luther King and Jesus. That was the mindset of black people. It’s some coonish backward slave-thinking, and you’re right, we put ourselves to sleep and Trump woke you up and…
Jamarlin Martin: You’re better off woke.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Absolutely. Think about this. I asked black people, I said, so tell me, so Trump got elected, I know this upset you, but I need you to tell me exactly what has changed in your life on a day to day basis as a result of Trump being in the White House or the results of Obama getting elected. What has changed in your life? Did your kids suddenly go to a better school? Did you get a better job? Were you making more money? Were you happier with your life? And the answer is no. There’s nothing that they can point to tangibly that shows that Obama being in office or Trump being in office affects their life. The only way it affects your life is it affects your life almost like you’re watching a movie. You know, it’s like if you have a favorite character…
Jamarlin Martin: I can say it has impacted their life in a positive way because a lot of you are more woke. A lot of you have all of a sudden developed consciousness. A lot of you guys were getting money and you started thinking America was this and that, and America was never this in that when Obama, Michelle were in office, so when you really analyze it, if Hillary Clinton went into office, a lot of you guys, particularly the negroes getting money, negroes who believe we’re beyond race, you guys would still be asleep. Trump came, I believe, and he woke you up. You should’ve been awake before when Obama was in office, but just started thinking America was a lot better, a lot more fair, a lot less racist because Obama, Michelle were president and that was a lie.
Dr Boyce Watkins: That’s true. I think that complacency sets in when you’re comfortable. Anytime any group of people has achieved progress is because the pressure of their situation, the pressure of the persecution led them to say, we can’t live like this anymore. Black people…
Jamarlin Martin: Meaning more revolutionary. We can’t keep on doing this Liberal Democrat Incremental Hillary Clinton. We need a revolution. There needs to be something that can shake this shit up.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. Well, the thing about black people is that we are very good at finding a way to be comfortable in oppression. We’re a little bit like those different creatures that can survive in extreme temperatures, extreme heat or extreme cold. We’re kind of like that. It takes a while to put so much pressure on black people as a community that we decide to activate and actually do something. Whereas there are some people where they’re used to living at a certain level. If you take one little thing away, like a billionaire, if you increase his tax rate by half a percent, he’s outraged. He’s trying to sue you. He’s trying to go and fight you. He’s mad as hell because he’s accustomed to a certain level of treatment and reward. Black people are accustomed to almost nothing. We’re accustomed to zero. So anything you give us, we compare it to zero, which means that it takes a while for us to get so rock bottom that we say, okay, I’m not living like this no more. And the reason that that’s important, the reason that you have to have that pressure that leads to progress is that, it makes me think about when I became an entrepreneur. I was a comfortable Negro. I was making six figures, I was highly educated. There was a space for me in the system, but the racism on the job had become so unbearable that I said, I don’t even care if I’m homeless and broke, I’m quitting this job. I’m getting the fuck up out of here. And then that led me to develop the skill to build a business that I wouldn’t have developed if they had treated me better. You see, if they had been nice to me, gave me the raises and the promotions I wante, I wouldn’t have left. Like in a relationship, how often are you madly in love with somebody and they’re not treating you right and you’re putting up with this and putting up with that and you’re tolerating a whole bunch of shit and then you hit that point where you hit rock bottom and you’re like, I got to go. Either that or maybe they even put you out against your will, they dump you and you’re begging this shitty person to let you back in because you don’t have anywhere else to go. But then what happens? Right? You’re forced to adjust. Now they’re not an option for you anymore. Now you have to look and see what else the world has for you, and then next thing you know, six months later you meet somebody, you’ll fall in love and you look back and you say, oh my God, if I had never been forced out of that other situation, I wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in now. Hallelujah. So you realize that you have to go through the discomfort of change to experience a better reality. Black folks don’t like that. They don’t want to hear that, so that’s why when I speak about half of the black people in the room get offended because people don’t want to go through the pain that leads to the gain.
Jamarlin Martin: You teach a lot of financial literacy and you’re taking it to the masses. Do you touch on, you know, one thing that I feel like culturally our community needs a lot of education on, there’s room to optimize the culture in terms of how we think about something as simple as autos. Particularly a lot of folks a thinking they need a quality of car that they probably don’t need. Just in terms of growing up, that black consumer, I want a BMW, I want a Mercedes, I want an Audi, and in contrast to, for example, one of my friends, he used to say, I want to own my car. I’m going to get a Honda Accord or Toyota, something that has a low repair and maintenance cost in the United States, and I’m going to own it. I’m not going to have a car payment. So that’s one side. I’m going to get a used car that doesn’t cost a lot of money. Either I’m going to buy it or I’m going to finance a small amount to pay off this $3,000 Honda Accord, at least at the time. This is my friend. And so it’s very different from let’s say nine other guys, right? Nine other guys. They want the Audi, they want the nice car, right? That’s at a five or six x multiple of what my friend would buy his car for. So, with the black consumer as it relates to autos, how much do you talk about eliminating the whole idea that you need a car payment in your monthly budget?
Dr Boyce Watkins: In The Black Business School, one of the things that I think that we do very well is, we talk about life more than we talk about straight money management, right? Because we believe money is life and that your whole life is an investment or an investment opportunity anyway. Right? So we talk about investments that you make in terms of time, investments you make in terms of love. Anything that happens in a love relationship can actually be analogized to an investment transaction. All the concepts, diversification, risk, return, all that stuff can be actually linked to the things that we experience on a daily basis. And it’s easy to convert that over into money because money is one of the things that people think about the most in their lives. So with that said, to your point, when we get into a conversation about whether or not you feel like you need a car or what kind of car you choose to buy, that’s really done kind of within the broader conversation of saying, what are your goals? What are you trying to do? Where are you trying to get to? How are you trying to find freedom in your life? The goal is not money. The goal is freedom, right? And to get freedom, you don’t always need a lot of money, right? There are poor people who are freer than some rich people, right? But money can be a tool for freedom if you apply it in the right way. I’m not big on condemning a choice.
Jamarlin Martin: Not really condemning a choice, but if negroes are going to say, our community doesn’t have any money, we don’t have this, we don’t have that. White man is doing this, white man is doing that, and that person is driving around in a BMW, paying a high finance charge. And to the point that I get what the white man is doing, I get what America is doing, I’m going to bang against them when justified. But what can we be doing in terms of being smarter, being disciplined in terms of our own behavior? Meaning, how many black people do you know, who had the ability to pay for low-cost car but chose to pay for a high-cost car so you could feel good, you want to floss, you want to look good. And essentially we start sending the money to communities who are going to invest in and most likely who are going to oppress. And so whether it’s the finance company that will take advantage of your lack of discipline in terms of, they probably love to see a lot of black consumers who stretch themselves, maybe more than other consumers. But I feel like on a consumer level, there’s a lot of room for improvement in terms of how we think about just something as basic as of car and transportation in our budget. Just to clarify, I’m not against having a nice car, but I do know that a lot of smart and wealthy people, they’re going to buy a used car, right? I’m not going to use that money. They’re going to own a car, even if they have to finance initially, and they’re going to use the excess money to invest.
Dr Boyce Watkins: My position on the car is that it’s harder for me to just tell you that that’s a bad decision because I don’t know what your taste is. I don’t know what trade-offs you’re willing to make.
Jamarlin Martin: You can’t say that, hey, if you’re making a certain amount or you don’t own a home, you don’t have a brokerage account, you don’t own a home, you don’t own a piece of a business, you can’t say that, hey, it’s probably unwise for you to be driving around in a $70,000 Benz.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. I don’t use that particular approach. Right? It doesn’t mean that I don’t agree. It just means that I want you to at least understand the trade-offs. Just like when Kanye West was talking about having a choice, right? And people got mad because it was slavery and I said, well, actually, technically, anything that happens in your life, you have a choice. Right? So what I mean by that is you have a lot of people who might be driving the expensive car, living life on the edge financially, not making good financial decisions, and you say, well, you’re on five medications now because your stress level is so high. And they say, well why are you going through that? And you say, well, because it’s my job. It’s the racism of my job, man. White man got me down. He’s doing this and doing that to me. You said, well, why don’t you quit your job? He’ll say, I don’t have a choice. And you say, well, why don’t you have a choice? Because I got to make the car payment. I got to pay for this and pay for that. I got to pay for the beach house. I got to pay for this. And you know, all these other things, right? I got to pay four baby mamas, all that. And so what you’re really saying is you’re not really telling me you don’t have a choice. You’re telling me that you locked yourself into a situation where you don’t have a choice, you chose to constrain your life by deciding that you want it to drive that Mercedes for $600 a month when you could have got you a car for one $50 a month, right? You chose to sleep with those women and create those baby mamas and all those child support payments, when you could have chose to put a condom on your ass. Right? So my point at the end of the day is that, I think that that conversation can be had where I can say to their brother, I can say, look, I’m not gonna tell you what to choose. I just need you to know where you’re pulling all the levers so you don’t go through life thinking that you’re in this box and it’s a box that somebody else created, because some people do that. People will ruin their own life and then act like somebody else did it. Because why? Well, because that victimhood, that victimology is taught at an early age, and so the hardest thing to explain to black people in general, I think for a lot of people, not even just black people, it’s true for a lot of people is that your life is something that you made. It’s something you chose is something you create it, you have a lot of say in this and, and people don’t really want to hear that. They want to kinda hear you tell them no, it, all of these bad decisions, you’re making all these bad moods, you’re making, it ain’t your fault because you’re oppressed is the white man’s fault. That’s why I don’t think liberals are helping black people when they do that. Right? So that’s the conversation I would have. But I agree with you though.
Jamarlin Martin: Do you believe the masses of our people here in the United States, they believe millionaires drive fancy cars? Do you believe that, that the mass is believed that net-net?
Dr Boyce Watkins: I believe the masses believe that. Yes.
Jamarlin Martin: Do you believe that that’s true?
Dr Boyce Watkins: I haven’t seen studies on it. I do know that there are millionaires who drive fancy cars. Right? I do know a lot of millionaires who don’t drive. Right? Because of what you were…
Jamarlin Martin: Yeah. One study that was conducted and it was highlighted in a book called The Millionaire Mind, I believe, and my friend brought this to my attention several years ago. They did a study of millionaires and the study came out and said that most millionaires drive used cars and what’s going on there is that they wanted to wait for the depreciation of the car to not go down as a fast. Right? So after two years, that’s the period that at least the people in this study, they were going to go in and buy the car. They’re going to let the person that kind of, drive off in your fancy car, look all great. Have your emotions kind of really going on emotional high. But after two years when that car is used, then I would go in and buy in, at least according to this study. He said that most millionaires have used cars and buy used cars. But in terms of growing up in the black community, being around black people, I think, and when you look at the media, it looks like a hey, if you got a little extra money, you got to have a nice car. Millionaires, they’re buying luxury cars, that’s something wealthy people do and I want to look wealthy.
Dr Boyce Watkins: That goes back to an idea that we talk about sometimes that I would call financial efficiency, right? That study doesn’t say millionaires don’t drive luxury cars. It says millionaires don’t buy new luxury cars. Right? So efficiency says if you spend 30K on a car, you’re going to get a car that’s brand new and spend 30k. I’m going to get a nicer car and spend the same 30k, but it’s going to be two years old. So I’m not paying for bullshit. Right? I’m not paying that money you lose just by driving it off the lot, all that depreciation that occurs in the first year or two, I’m going to take all of that out and I might still spend the same as you, but I’m going to be driving a much better car.
Jamarlin Martin: But they’re millionaires though. So I guess the big picture as I see it, is that, that millionaire is probably spending the same amount on cars as you making maybe 40 or 50 in their approach in terms of targeting used cars at least two years old, that the ratios are out of whack in terms of ratio to income ratio for wealth. Meaning that when you run those numbers, a lot of the auto-related consumer behavior is, is out of whack. Many in that a lot of us are getting into consumer financing, consumer leasing, getting into cars, that we probably shouldn’t be in. So why does this matter? Because when you think about the financial stress that our people are under in terms of how do we get out of this mess, and you break down that individual’s budget, that auto budget is consuming a lot in the black wallet, the black budgets. And so that’s something that you don’t need another man to change. You don’t need America to change. You don’t need Donald Trump to do anything. You don’t need the democrats to do anything. But when you look at that budget, that auto expense, that’s something that I feel like we can optimize within our culture.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. I think that at the end of the day, I don’t think we want to get to a point where we want everyone to believe that the reason that we have some of these issues is because we want nice cars, because I used to have a different opinion, for example, on the purchase of Air Jordans…
Jamarlin Martin: In terms of how do we get out of our mess? What can we optimize that’s in front of us, that’s financial, that’s involved with the budget and what can we attack ourselves and you’re looking for excess, right? So if you’re a business, the revenue’s not coming in as I had forecasted it. What are we doing that is like, we have a surplus?
Dr Boyce Watkins: Well, let me tell you a secret. I spend like a fucking bull when I want to. I don’t give a fuck. When I want something, I go buy it and so I’m not going to have anybody telling me I can’t have something. I wouldn’t buy $200 Jordans, but if I wanted to buy $200 Jordans, I would do it. Why? Because I don’t think that you have to think about wealth building all the time just from a scarcity sort of standpoint where it’s like, okay, we got to cut this and cut that and this is where we’re wasting money. What I think people want to know is it goes back to choice, right? So when I was looking at my budget back when I was working on the plantation and I was making a certain amount of money and I said, my budget is stretched, I don’t have any money to save. I said, okay, I can cut this. And I was like, but I don’t want to cut this. I can cut that one. I don’t really want to cut that. And then I said, wait a minute, I don’t have to just cut what I spend, I can increase what I make. Right? So that means that I said, okay, I’m going to make an investment. I’m going to make an investment to go read books on how to make extra money, how to be an entrepreneur, how to get a side hustle. Remember spending say $7000 a month is a lot of money if you’re making $7,000 a month, but spending $7,000 a month is not a big deal if you’re making $12,000 a month. Right? What I think that we can do, and I agree with you though, I think that in terms of spending, if you hold everything constant, if the income stays flat and you’re on the plantation and you’re getting whatever the plantation gives you, then yes, you’re stuck in a scarcity mindset. Like you’re in a jail cell and you have to make space so you gotta take something out to in order to have more room. But why not get you a bigger space to operate in so you have a little more leeway. And I think that’s where we lose when we’re not teaching our kids to be business owners. We’re not teaching them how to be investors. We’re not teaching people how to get side streams of income. We’re not really pushing education at the highest level. So if you’re going to get a job, you can get the highest paying job. Right? Your point is right. Like everything else held equal, it doesn’t make sense to buy a new car.
Jamarlin Martin: Let me clarify. It could make sense to buy a new car if you’re into new cars and you have other priorities taken care of first. Meaning that, I have life insurance, right? I’m paying whatever I have to pay to have life insurance, or I’m going in the direction of home ownership, or I’m investing in stocks. As long as you have these other things ahead of, hey, I want to floss and a Lexus. You have these other priorities in front of, I need that BMW so I can floss.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean the thing about money that leads to so much waste is that many of us are trained to look at money in the wrong way in the first place. At an early age, you’re taught that money is something you give away so you can get stuff, so your relationship with the world is already fucked up from the beginning because you’re thinking that whenever I get any money in my hand, I’m supposed to trade and the world gives me stuff and I have no more money.
Jamarlin Martin: And let me just say, I’m not going all Bill Cosby in terms of talking about the community, I know about this because I had a great job in college. I was promoted to a housing director for hundreds of students and I have thousands of dollars rolling in. I lived in the projects up until I was 12. I’m very close to the streets, black culture. The first thing I want to do is what? I start making good money in college. What do I want to do? I want to go get a nice car. I want to floss in the car. Right? And so I believe if we had the financial education culturally in terms of this is passed down in terms of this is how you do things. You need to methodically think about these decisions that go on in life in terms of when you get a car, do you lease or finance a car? What kind of car can you afford? What are the pros and cons that I see that, if I had more financial education, I would think about things very different going into my adult life after college. And I’m just saying that, nothing to do with America, nothing to do with corporations. The finance companies and the auto companies, they have millions of dollars thinking about how to exploit consumers. Not just black consumers but consumers, but specifically they do optimize their marketing to hook you, the subprime auto lenders. The auto manufacturers, that they have specific optimization strategies to hook you into getting you into something you don’t need, to hook you into a 20 percent interest rate, 30 percent interest rate, to hook you into a car that you don’t need.
Dr Boyce Watkins: I think you’re right. I think that we get fooled, I mean black people and poor people are the biggest targets of all the most abusive marketing practices that there are, right? Whether it’s predatory lending, unhealthy food, silly consumer items, they advertise to us the most. Now, why would they do that? Well, they tend to choose their victims based on the same way…
Jamarlin Martin: You guys don’t have a lot of educated fathers and mothers teaching you guys about financial literacy, right? We don’t want it in the schools either.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Like Bill Cosby, Bill Cosby, when he picked his victims, he didn’t pick every woman, he picked certain women that fit specific criteria. Right? So for us, we got to say, why do we keep fitting the description of the group of people that everybody wants to victimize and who’s going to change that right now?
Jamarlin Martin: When do we come off the crack?
Dr Boyce Watkins: Right? So we could say, we need white people to change that they need to do to do a better job of monitoring themselves, and stop doing what white people have done for 500 years, which is pretty much raping and pillaging in the entire world. I’m not waiting for that. I think that as black people, there are people that get it, and my goal is to talk to those people and to say, okay, let’s figure out some defensive strategies so that we can make sure that this doesn’t happen to our kids. At least this won’t happen to your children. This is going to happen to somebody’s black child somewhere for the rest of your life, most likely. But it won’t be happening to your kids. And that’s the most that we can aim for, I think.
Jamarlin Martin: I want to thank Dr Boyce Watkins for coming on GHOGH. Dr Boyce, can you point the audience to The Black Business School and where they can check you out online?
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. People can actually check out The Black Business School and actually get started for free. https://theblackbusinessschool.com/. That’s https://theblackbusinessschool.com/.
Jamarlin Martin: Thanks everybody for listening to GHOGH. You can check me out @Jamarlinmartin on Twitter and also come check us out at Moguldom.com. That’s M O G U L D O M dot com. Be sure to subscribe to our daily newsletter. You can get the latest information on crypto, tech, economic empowerment, and politics. Let’s GHOGH!
This podcast has been edited for clarity.