Economist and political analyst Dr. Boyce Watkins got on the wrong side of a Silicon Valley media giant when he shared a broadcast clip of the leader of the Nation of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan. The punishment? YouTube suspended one of Boyce’s popular channels.
YouTube informed Watkins that sharing the Farrakhan speech was a “violation of alleged hate speech.” Watkins’ YouTube channel, “Your Black World,” with more than 400,000 subscribers, was shut down for a week.
Watkins has various media forums. In a video, also released on YouTube — this time on his “Boyce Watkins” channel, which has more than 250,000 subscribers — Watkins said the censorship was related to racism.
“YouTube, as all the social media platforms are, is run by people, very racist people, who don’t believe that freedom of speech is something Black people should have,” Watkins said.
He continued, “They have really been on the attack of Farrakhan for a very long time. When you’re Black and you speak out on racism the racists will say you’re producing hate speech. When you start to tell America the truth about itself, they define it as hate speech.”
Watkins has come to the defense of Farrakhan in the past, often noting how the Nation of Islam leader is misrepresented. According to Watkins, Farrakhan is actually well-received and respected across the board, despite having been called out for anti-Semitic remarks over the years.
“The minister can go into the darkest and most dangerous parts of any city in America and be fully protected by men of all age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds,” Watkins wrote in a blog for his Black Wealth Channel. “No politician, advocate or police officer in the world can say the same thing. The reason Farrakhan is respected, especially by Black men, is that he gives us love in a society that is designed to hate, emasculate, criminalize and destroy us. For many of us, he’s all we’ve got.”
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Watkins described why Farrakhan has earned the respect of so many.
“In some ways, Minister Farrakhan might be considered the president of the Black community,” he said. “Of course, not everyone loves the minister, and he has made a few mistakes over his 60 years of service. But even his harshest critics have a tough time thinking of anything the minister has done in the last 30 years that has been anything short of productive and uplifting for Black people.”