Sunday, September 25, 2011

Survey: Majority of Blacks Believe Obama Should Have Spoken for Troy Davis



by Dr. Boyce Watkins – Syracuse University, Scholarship in Action

In a recent Your Black World survey, the majority of African American respondents (56.9 percent) believe that President Barack Obama should have spoken on behalf of Troy Davis before his execution last week. Davis was put to death after a pile of questionable evidence emerged over the years showing that there is a very good chance that he did not commit the crime for which he was executed. Former FBI Director Williams Sessions said that the case had too much questionable evidence for the execution to go forward, and prominent figures from around the world, including the Pope, former President Jimmy Carter, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton all fought against Davis' execution.

While the majority of black respondents felt that President Obama should have spoken up for Davis, 34% believed that he was right to remain silent.  Another 9.1% of black respondents said they were not sure.
Respondents were also asked if they feel that either President Obama or Attorney General Eric Holder should have attempted to legally intervene in the Troy Davis case.  While the federal government cannot legally stop a state execution, Davis' death could have been delayed by ordering a federal investigation.  An even higher percentage (65.8%) of black respondents believe that either Holder or Obama should have tried to legally intervene to stop the death of Troy Davis.  Another 26% said that they were right to not attempt to legally intervene and another 8.2% said they were not sure.

President Obama's decision to speak up on behalf of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates after he was arrested on his front porch two years ago lies in contrast to his silence on other questionable acts of injustice committed against black men.  Some would argue that the president missed an opportunity to revamp his waning black support by speaking up on behalf of Davis, but others might argue that it would be politically risky for him to step in on such a controversial issue during election season.  Whether the president made the right decision on Davis is up for debate, but his silence leads many to wonder exactly where he stands on issues that matter to "us."

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

The President was damned if he do and damned if he don't. Another no win, win situation that he has had to face. I'm not saying I agree with his decision to remain silent on this one case and yet turn around and ask the Supreme Court to intervene in a Mexican Nationalist death sentence when he was rightfully and correctly tried and convicted.

So what does all of this mean, we don't vote in 2012 and stay home like the 2010 mid terms, but yet are crying foul because the Republicans refuse to work with this President to do ANYTHING that might help the working poor and poor in this Country?

Anonymous said...

is it just me or did anyone else notice watkins did not state how many people participated in the survey.

56% seems high when you read it, but if only 20 people responded, then it's not so alarming!

for watkins to be a phd at a research institution, you would think he would know to state how many people responded...unless it was intentional to continue with his attacks on obama.

shame on you watkins!

Anonymous said...

The one burning question that we should ask the U.S. Supreme Court is; since their self-righteous judicial thinking is supposedly above the fray of what the spirit of the world believes: Why couldn't they grant him clemency long enough to ensue an federal investigation?

Anonymous said...

I've read a couple of comments on this case and it appears that one anonymous person in particular is always trying to slander Dr. Boykins points of views. We all have a right to our own opinions, what Dr. Boykins does is states the obvious. Let me be the first to say, that I wa very upset with our President when he stood idlely by and did nothing to help Mr. Davis. It is painfully obvious that our judicial system is racially bias, they simply do not car about people of color. It seems as though this country just really hate black people. This country has been cruel to us for centuries. I for one is very TIRED of being mistreated.I think it was a cowardly act execute Mr. Davis after crowd began to die down, the people began to feel their was hope, when the Supreme court agreed to look at his case. Again, this is my opinion.

Anonymous said...

President Obama had a moral duty to speak up as would ANY American president especially since America's foreign policies often calls for direct Presidential intervention. American politicians play Moral Police around the world yet some of the most heinous crimes against humanity take place in America's backyard! Speaking out would have been the Presidential thing to do. But of course, he's got another election to win.

Stop giving Obama a free ride because he is black. If he is All of America's president then he should have been HUMAN and said something just like he as spoken out about Rebel outbreaks throughout the so-called middle east. I am a "black" sistah and one thing I can't stand is for our people to exercise blind faith to the point of insanity.

If black folk want to make a real stand, don't VOTE at all, lets walk away from the nationalized politics of white elites. If scholars still exist among us, then we should know this government is an illegal corporation that manages defacto slavery for the Queen B

Wake up people. Killing Troy Davis is MORE than just an act against the true indigenous it is in fact a threat to humanity. They want us to live in fear now and be afraid. The revolution may not and WILL not be televised, but damn them to hell, a revolution will insue. Troy Davis was a living sacrifice for the masonic mongrels.

Troy Davis is dead.....are you?

Anonymous said...

It would've been nice to see President Obama comment against the execution of Troy Davis, however his commenting would have been contrary to his stance on capital punishment and prompted a stare down with the same community (those in favor of capital punishment, corporate elites, military industrial complex, etc...) he consistently sides with, and has really been in bed with from jump... I'm sadly amazed at how many folks who continue to expect him to show a different stance... If it walks like a duck and qucks like one, then it's not a mongoose...

Professional Assistance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Professional Assistance said...

I think he should have spoke up and out. There was a tremendous amount of doubt. No need to worry about your career if you are doing the right things.

Anonymous said...

C'mon y'all, is it the place of the US president to comment/intervene in any criminal case whereby the defendant has been tried,convicted and has had his/her case reviewed by every appeal venue available? I think not.

Anonymous said...

HE IS THE PRESIDENT AND IF HE FEEL AN INJUSTICE HAS OCCURR HE AND THE MR HOLDER SHOULD HAVE INTERVENE,IT FUNNY WHEN SOMETHING HAPPEN IN MIDDLE EAST THE PRESIDENT SPEAKS OUT AGAINST INJUSTICE BUT WHEN HAPPEN TO BLACKS HE QUITE.WHEN THE NEXT ELECTION COME WE AS BLACKS HAD OUR BLACK PRESIDENT AND HE DIDNT STAND UP AND BE COUNTED WHEN HE WAS PUSHED BY THE REPUBS HE BACK DOWN AND NOW HE WANTS TO COME TO US AND ASK FOR OUR HELP,I SAY NO.THIS PRESIDENT FORSAKE US AND HE TOOK US FOR GRANTED AND WE AS POOR BLACKS AND BLACKS AS A WHOLE EVEN OTHER MINORITIES HAVE TO STAND UP AND SAY NO LIKE WE WOULD IF HE WAS ANY OTHER CANIDATE.SIT THIS ONE OUT,AT LEAST IF REPUBLICAN WIN WE NO WHAT WE ARE GETTING.

Anonymous said...

Why should the President have spoken out? To hear himself speak?

Are we really that studid or does Boyce just think that we are?

"The President cannot parden a state criminal offence. ... If you are seeking clemency for a state conviction, ... you should contact the Governor or other approriate authorities in the state where the conviction occurred." US Department of Justice, Pardons Section

Is this more BS like the West and Smiley BS?

Anonymous said...

"If Black folks want to make a real stand don't vote at all."

Either you're a Tea bigot trying to fool us or you've lost your damned mind. Put the pipe down!

If we had voted the way we did in the Presidentual election, the Tea bigots wouldn't have won the House and the President would have the legislative support necessary to pass the initiatives that benefit the people. Every election counts! We need to re-double our efforts.

Anonymous said...

How many people were questioned in this survey? 10? 1,000?

Anonymous said...

We need to remember two things when considering wheither Pres. Obama should have spoken up. One, we do not know exactly what the law in that state is for cop killing, which would have made it fruitless for Obama to have spoken up. And as it has already been said Obama was damned either way.

Secondly, Pres don't tend to commute any sentences, nor become involved in any court issues until the end of their 2nd term because one is damned anyway they vote. It is considered TOO RISKY.

I don't blame him for staying out of it. But now I believe Eric Holder could have said/done something even though Obama still would have been blamed for it.

Pat said...

I did not want Mr Davis executed, and no one asked me to participate in the poll. If they had, I would have voted for the President not to get involved. The state of Georgia and the Suprememt Court (Clarence Thomas) should be on the "hot seat" not President Obama!

Anonymous said...

Quite. The president has a hard job and everything and everybody has a beef with him let him be the president so get behind him don't be the one to bring him down thank you.

Anonymous said...

Please lets put the president back in office and kick the Republicans and the tea party out so we can get things done the next 4 years

Anonymous said...

Who was polled on this question because I wasn't! I think this article was written just to start something. I do not think President Obama should have spoken on this at all. Just like some was saying Blacks should riot because of Troy Davis, why?? I asked. Yes, I am upset just like the next person but if we don't do anything to stop this type of behavior, we're all doomed! VOTE, DEMAND, AND PARTICIPATE!

Anonymous said...

I'm Black and I will be the first in line on election day!! I have always voted and will continue to do so! I vote in the primaries as well and the major elections.
I will vote in 2012. I won't say for who but I wiil vote no matter what!

Anonymous said...

As the president he can not get involved! If he had said anything the repubs would have lost there minds! We won't say how crazy the Teabaggers would have gone! He did the right thing buy staying out of it!

Anonymous said...

" . . . but others might argue that it would be politically risky for him to step in on such a controversial issue during election season." whose vote would be at risk? Whose vote is not at risk no matter what this white man in black face does? What is the difference between Satan and Lucifer? Either or both is committed to black neglect and misery.

sa30906 said...

Nothing the President could have done. We have to work to eliminate the death penalty in this country, because there are many convicted people in prison today who ten or twenty years later were found to be innocent. The dealth penalty does not prevent crimes from happening...it just show that those who impose this harsh of a sentence are really not as humane as they claim to be from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Damn Barack! He is a sock puppet and I'll be damned if he gets my vote again. His entire Presidency has mired by absenteeism and shoulda coulda woulda's. As a brotha, and I want ya'll to hear this, I am going to yell on a mountaintop that we have got to get his tired self out.I don't give a damn if I have to vote for a republican!!!!! When it every other race in the world he has something to say but for his own people and mums the word. Tired! He gots to go!

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if those of you who are posting would use correct English, grammar, and punctuation. The broken sentences, improper tense, and misspellings are horrendous.

Busless said...

Barack Hussein Obama is a cultural anomaly-a different kind of cat from me. I claim to be a culturally Black person. He makes no such claim and that is fine. I do not support the death penalty and, by definition, would have like Obama to speak up for Lawrence Russell Brewer, Troy Anthony and Derrick Mason-all three being executed last week.

Anonymous said...

THANKS DR. WATKINS FOR HELPING THE REPUBLICANS TO DIVIDE THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY. PEOPLE COME ON WE NEED TO STOP BLAMING PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR EVERYTHING AND WAITING FOR HIM TO DO EVERYTHING. HE CAN NOT DO IT ALL WE HAVE TO STAND UP AND HELP. WHO DID YOU POLL? HUH?. PEOPLE DON'T VOTE IN 2012 FOR OBAMA AND SEE WHAT WILL HAPPEN. YOU KNOW WHEN DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING WAS ALIVE THERE WAS BLACK PEOPLE LIKE DR. WATKINS THAT DID NOTHING BUT DIVIDE THE BLACK COMMUNITY. SHAME ON YOU DR. WATKINS!!!!!!!1

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry we feel the need to execute people in this country, but Troy Davis was guilty -- found guilty, sentenced, affirmed on appeal after appeal. Seven blacks on the jury. Witnesses "recanting" 20 years later just means that they can't remember or succumbed to pressure from the community. The man was guilty -- bottom line. Concocted doubt two decades later does not equal innocence. He was a cop-killer, and he and that devil Brewer got what they earned on the same day.

Anonymous said...

We as Black/African-American people tend to place far too much pressure on President Obama. I too am saddened about the execution of Troy Davis. It's not like the President doesn't have enough to do. He's President of the United States of America not Black America. Was he suppose to just drop everything? My condolences to the Davis family & to the family of the police officer. God will be the final judge & then we will all know.

Belinda B said...

I am sick and tired of idiots keep blaming the President for everything that's going on,people wake the hell up,this man inherited a jacked up Country from the start,all the blaming is truly ridiculous ....keep falling in the Republic hands and I guarantee you the Country will be sorry,you all think we have it bad now just wait,sit out and don't vote,stupid people make me sick and you know who you are.....Obama 2012

Anonymous said...

I agree with the other posters who said this poll seems a little bogus. First of all the title of the article is INFLAMMATORY. A poll conducted by YBW on an unspecified number of people cannot really be classified as research! "A Majority" of black people were most likely not surveyed by YBW. .. 59% of 100 people for example, basically means NOTHING.
It would be better to say "A Majority of Black People who Participated in our Survey" or something closer to actual truth.

Edwina Dunbar-Johnson said...

“Black People” (I am Black myself), Obama has enough harrassment from the Caucasians as it is. Look at his HAIR, now ALL-GRAY. They want him to FAIL. You can’t expect him to participate in every little trouble “Black People Get Into.” Listen, Obama is probably dying on his feet and probably have encountered many Health problems since he became president. They HATE him because he’s SMART. They expected him to go under before his first 4 years in office; like now or expecting him to make major errors, mistakes and they would be ready to IMPEACH him but they got fraustrated because he’s INTELLIGENT and still and is still "STANDING TALL." I APPLAUDE you President Barack Obama.

Anonymous said...

He is the president. There is no such thing what he can and can not do. If he speak people will listen. Maybe he couldnt stop the execution from happenin at all but he could of caused more time to prove innocense. Its election year like has been said before and him saving Davis may have gotten more blacks to vote but this is more serious than black people this comes down to blacks, whites and etc. And this country is still ran by whites as been forever so the president stayed out of it. And plus if nothing changed the courts minds in 20 plus years what makes people think it would change the night of the execution. We may have gotten a different verdict if this story was put out at the first moment of doubt. The day before and day of is too damn late to stop an execution.