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Source of Juan Williams As “Happy Negro”

Reported by Priscilla - January 30, 2009 -

As a number of our posters have been criticized, on a website that defends Fox News, for being rude/racist in their description of Fox News correspondent Juan Williams as a “happy Negro,” I thought it might be helpful to identify the source of the quote. It was said by scholar and Syracuse University professor, Dr. Boyce Watkins who is “one of the most highly sought after African-American scholars in the world. Specializing in financial psychology, educational motivation, and black social commentary, Dr. Watkins has presented his message to millions, making regular appearances on CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, ABC News, BET, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Black Enterprise Magazine and many more national media outlets.” Dr. Watkins referred to Juan Williams as a “happy Negro” during a CNN appearance in which he discussed Bill O'Reilly's negative statements about African Americans. Dr. Watkins referenced Bill's astonishment that African Americans had table manners – an assertion defended by Juan Williams. Dr. Watkins was subsequently smeared by Bill O’Reilly and Juan Williams, who called Dr. Watkins a “race monger.”

***Update - It's interesting that a Fox Defender would say that Dr. Boyce Watkins' phrase is "loathsome" without referencing the context of his quote. But then, if they think that African Americans don't have table manners, what can I say!!! In their little Foxworld, it's all good!!!!

Dr. Watkins is described by Great Black Speakers, Inc. (where he is a “blue ribbon speaker”) as being "committed to social justice… an outspoken critic of social and racial inequality. His fourth book, “What if George Bush were a Black Man?”, has been featured in the national media as one of the most riveting statements in modern social commentary. His commitment to inner-city youth is further shown in his role as National Director of the Step Up and Go to College Program.” Princeton’s Dr. Cornell West said this regarding Dr. Watkins: "Brother Watkins, I support you 120% for 120 years. Please keep speaking needed truth to America." The truth that Dr. Watkins spoke was a statement, on CNN, regarding Juan Williams' defense of Bill O’Reilly’s shameless commentary about how blacks who eat at Sylvia’s Restaurant don’t yell “give me my mf’ing iced tea." As noted by Dr. Watkins: “The fact of the matter is that when Bill O'Reilly gets Juan Williams, the eternal "Happy Negro" on his show to congratulate him on his racism, that's like Hugh Hefner getting a stripper to come on the show and tell him that he is not a sexist.” Dr. Watkins also wrote an eloquent article which was a reaction to the sliming that he experienced from O’Reilly and Williams: “…Watching one episode, I honestly thought Juan was going to cry. He continuously pleaded with “Mr. O’Reilly” (in a self-degrading sort of way) to understand that he cares about black people and that “people like Dr. Boyce Watkins” were simply race mongers who want to keep black people poor and pathetic. Yes, Juan Williams and Bill O’Reilly were simply misunderstood freedom fighters…..how quaint…”

Comment: So the phrase was first used by Dr. Boyce Watkins. End of story. And BTW, check out this article, “The Double Life of Juan Williams,” by African American writer Tony Norman. H/T to “Pegleg Peggy.” Also Check out Ta Nehisi Coates on William’s Michelle Obama as Stokely Carmichael in a dress commentary. But do watch this Video, “House Negros on Fox” as it is a very powerful indictment of Fox News’ treatment of African Americans. Juan Williams is mentioned.

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