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Honorary Titles Revoked From DNA Pioneer James Watson Over Racist Views

Nobel Prize recipient, James Watson, still maintained debunked notions of Blacks and inferiority.

Dr. James Watson at the CSHL.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York State has revoked every title and honor given to 90-year-old DNA pioneer, James Watson.


Watson, who has been affiliated with the lab since 1968, stood by his controversial 2007 views of Blacks being a genetically inferior race. He won the Nobel Prize in 1962 helping discover the structure of DNA. His views still supported the archaic and invalid line of thought that race and intelligence were connected.

In 2007, he told a magazine, in an interview, that he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa ... as all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — where all the testing says not really."

He continued on to say: "I hoped everyone was equal. People who have to deal with Black employees find this is not true."

He, later, issued a retraction and an apology, but then doubled down again in a recent appearance in the PBS film, "American Masters: Decoding Watson," he said his views on intelligence and race had not changed since.

Watson reiterated in the documentary that genes cause a difference on average between Black people and white people in IQ tests.

He explained, "I would like for them to have changed, that there be new knowledge that says that your nurture is much more important than nature. But I haven't seen any knowledge. And there's a difference on the average between Blacks and whites on IQ tests. I would say the difference is, it's genetic."

Not only did the CSHL publicly denounce Watson's "theory" again, but he was also terminated, then stripped of all of his titles and accolades, including chancellor emeritus, Oliver R Grace professor emeritus, and honorary trustee.

The lab's president, Bruce Stillman, and chair of the board of trustees Marilyn Simons, said in a statement: "The lab unequivocally rejects the unsubstantiated and reckless personal opinions Dr. James D. Watson expressed on the subject of ethnicity and genetics. Dr Watson's statements are reprehensible, unsupported by science, and in no way represent the views of CSHL, its trustees, faculty, staff, or students. The laboratory condemns the misuse of science to justify prejudice."

Reader Question: Do you think Dr. Watson should have been stripped of his titles because his views hadn't changed?

Obama Teams Up With NBA, FIBA to Launch Basketball Africa League

"I've always loved basketball because it's about building a team that's equal to more than the sum of its parts," Obama tweeted.

Screenshot from NBA video

It is well-known that former President Barack Obama is a basketball aficionado. From filling out his NCAA bracket to leading pick-up games at the White House, basketball has always been a part of the 44th president's life.

While some people coach high school when they retire, Obama is thinking global. On Saturday, the NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the launch of the Basketball Africa League (BAL), a joint effort of the NBA and International Basketball Federation (FIBA). Who is the go-to player for this project? None other than Obama.

He tweeted on Saturday about BAL:

Obama will have a role with the league, but the extent of his involvement has yet to be announced.

BAL, the NBA's first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America, will be built on the foundation of current club competitions FIBA is organizing in Africa. The inaugural season will begin in 2020, and will feature squads from Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia.

The NBA shared a video of Obama speaking to African basketball players about the importance of sports, then hitting a long-range 3-pointer.

"I hope you know through sport that if you put in effort you will be rewarded, I hope you learn through sport what it means to play as a team and that even if you are the best player your job is not just to show off but your job is to make your teammates better," Obama says.

For years, the NBA has fostered a program, with the assistance of FIBA in Africa, called Basketball Without Borders. This program grows the game by promoting and identifying young talent from all areas.

"The Basketball Africa League is an important next step in our continued development of the game of basketball in Africa," said Commissioner Silver, in a statement. "Combined with our other programs on the continent, we are committed to using basketball as an economic engine to create new opportunities in sports, media and technology across Africa."

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Explains Her Race and Ethnicity

"I am the descendant of African slaves. I am the descendant of Indigenous people. I am the descendant of Spanish colonizers," explained Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in an MSNBC interview.

Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez

Conversations around race and ethnicity have been prominent in the media because of the onslaught of diverse newly elected public officials. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is one of them. In an interview on MSNBC, she addressed her heritage with respect to her race.

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White Supremacist's Apology Doesn't Deter Judge From Giving Him a Life Sentence

Family and friends said the apology was insulting, and that Timothy Caughman's death was their "life sentence."

CBS 2

James Jackson, 30, a white supremacist, killed Timothy Caughman, 66, a Black man with a sword. Jackson was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

His apology: "I just wanted to apologize to everyone who has been negatively affected by this horrible and unnecessary tragedy. If I could do it all over again, this never would have happened."

Caughman's friends dismissed the apology, as fake.

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Virginia Church Pays $100,000 Worth of Debt for Howard University Students

Black students are more likely to borrow, less able to make progress on paying down their loans, and almost half defaulted on their school loans. Many do not graduate. Now 34 seniors can.

Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., decided to clear the debt of 34 Howard students.

95 percent of Howard students are on financial aid. About 4,000 church members fasted and prayed for 30 days, saving money to donate to something charitable.

They donated $100,000 to 34 students.

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MLB Changes 'Disabled List' to 'Injured List'

Disability rights advocates urged Major League Baseball to rename the roster designation for players recovering from injury.

Major League Baseball is renaming its league-wide medical database from the commonly known "Disabled List" to the "Injured List".

"The principal concern is that using the term 'Disabled' for players who are injured supports the misconception that people with disabilities are injured and therefore are not able to participate or compete in sports," explained Jeff Pfeifer, Major League Baseball's Senior Director of League Economics and Operations, informing the league's teams in a December memo that was obtained by ESPN.

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Rep. Ocasio-Cortez to 2020 Presidential Candidates: ​'We Can Be Audacious'

In a viral video, the congresswoman talks about the Green New Deal.

In a video posted on Twitter that has more than 1 million views, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) says she doesn't want to be "placated as a progressive."

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