The people who I enjoy hanging around and being friends with are the individuals who do not mind being themselves at all times. It is such a challenge to find people who will stay true to themselves. I find it to be a serious weakness for people to change who they are just to fit in with certain groups. One of the greatest problems that I have with men, particularly African-American men, is they will lose their true identities just to fit in with other African-American men, and to put on images that they think are going to attract women, specifically African-American women.
I see Black guys everyday and everywhere I have been who you can tell that they are just putting on false images, because when you really get to know who these African-American men are, they are really not the same people who they project to be in the public. For example, a have the misfortune to know guys who will strive each day to have sex with as many women as possible just to be called “a mack,” “player,” “pimp,” or other stupid labels. For many of these guys, their ability to have sex and get as many women as possible determines their view of their success and how well phenomena are going in their lives.
These Black men will do anything—even give up their true selves—just to make sure that no one is going to call them “gay.” I want to take an opportunity right now to tell you how stupid you are for allowing people to have such control over you like that. You are doing stupid phenomena just to make sure that no one is going to call you gay. No matter how “hard” you strive to be, and no matter how many women you have sex with, there is going to be somebody who calls you gay. If you were really worth anything, and were your own person, then you would not worry about what someone is calling you.
I just wanted to take a moment out of my busy schedule to articulate a message to men, particularly Black men, about how many of them are not allowing themselves to live a real life. While many of you are trying to be so “hard,” you are wasting time that you could be investing in phenomena that are going to make you truly successful. Having sex with numerous women is not going to do anything for you but give you HIV/AIDS! It is my hope that you will ameliorate the way in which you carry yourself and become the real person who you really would love to be. I will continue to write and speak about this issue until I see significant change take place in Black men across the nation.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Albany State University, the pride of Southwest Georgia, currently needs the support of all current students, alumni, friends of the institution, and supporters. Although we are currently facing some vexing economic conditions, it is unacceptable for our institution to have to suffer in the way that proposed budget cuts would cause our institution to suffer. ASU has faced great challenges in the past, but none of those past challenges have been able to sink the unsinkable ASU. It is time for us to act to preserve and protect our great university. Albany State University has given us so much and it is time for us to reinvest in our great university.
Unfortunately, we cannot sit back and wait to reinvest in ASU—we must do it right now! At this very moment, there are serious budget proposals in the Georgia state legislature that would fundamentally eliminate the Albany State University Graduate School, end all study abroad programs, eliminate three undergraduate programs, and cause numerous people working for our fine institution to become unemployed. I refuse to let these phenomena become realities. The harsh reality is, however, that without meaningful action and involvement from you, these terrible phenomena will become realities.
For those of you who are attending the institution right now, you do not have a choice but to act. Your institution is under attack and you need to respond right now! For those of you who have graduated from the institution, you need to respond right now because your institution is under attack! For those of you who are supporters and friends of the institution, you need to act today too because there is no better time to demonstrate your support for the institution than now. If you fit none of the aforementioned categories, and you just support higher education in general and/or minority serving institutions (like Historically Black Colleges and Universities [HBCUs]), then here is a golden opportunity for you to make a significant difference in the lives of so many people who have benefitted tremendously from this prestigious and meaningful institution.
In most of the works written by Abraham Joshua Heschel, a rabbi and man who marched on the front lines with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., they contend that it is not cowardice that is the worst phenomenon, but it is indifference to evil that is the worst phenomenon. When you think about all that Albany State University has done for you and countless others, it would be evil for us to allow the Georgia state legislature to cut our institution’s budget this dramatically.
Here’s what needs to be done immediately: contact your Georgia state House and Senate representatives and your U.S. House and Senators today, and tell them to make sure that Albany State University does not fall prey to any budget cuts, especially any budget cuts that would cut any programs at our fine institution. Let’s act today!
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
The scholarly literature has evinced that Black males academically underperform all groups throughout the educational pipeline (Hood, 1992; Jackson, 2003; Polite, 1994; Watson & Hodges, 1991). Jameson (1991) explains that film can be a useful vehicle for unveiling harsh realities about the lived experiences of sundry people. In Boyz N the Hood (1991), John Singleton offers a disquieting account of the lived experiences of Black people, particularly Black males, in a poverty-ravaged South Central Los Angeles neighborhood. At the core of the film’s narrative is the relationship and interactions between three young Black males: Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), Darrin “Doughboy” Baker (Ice Cube), and Ricky Baker (Morris Chestnut). The audience witnesses how racism, indifference, rampant violence, and the increasing disintegration of the Black family in South Central Los Angeles militate against the coming of age of these three Black males. As a contribution to the scholarly discourse on Boyz N the Hood, this paper provides an examination of how structural dimensions of the milieu in which the film is set (South Central Los Angeles) have a damaging impact on the progression of these Black males. The structural frame championed by Bolman and Deal (2008) serves as the dominant lens through which this film is analyzed.
One of the vexing structural elements in the film that one of the Black males has to combat is a Eurocentric school curriculum. Tre Styles learns at an early stage in his experience in the educational pipeline that the extant structure of curriculums and schools have little cultural relevancy to Black students living in impoverished urban conditions, especially when his teachers make no effort to be inclusive in their pedagogical practices. Tre challenges the structural authority of one his White female teacher about why there is not a presence of Black people in what she is teaching. What he challenges is the “pervasiveness of whiteness in curricula, space, and activities” that Harper and Hurtado (2007, p. 18) speak about being present at predominately White institutions (PWIs). This challenging of her position authority (put in place by the hierarchical structure of the school’s administration) leads her to send him constantly to the Principal. This leads Tre’s mother, Reva Devereaux (Angela Bassett), to use her position power (as his mother) to send him to live with his father, Furious Styles (Laurence Fishburne), who lives in a tremendously unsettling and violent neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles, as punishment for not embracing hegemony and quietly conforming to the Eurocentric curriculum. Tre moves to an environment where he has to be more concerned about survival than receiving an education, no matter how limited of an education he could have received from the Eurocentric curriculum. He is not able to find a sense of belonging in the school because this organization exists “to achieve established goals and objectives” (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 47) not inclusive of culturally relevant subject matter and pedagogy.
Moreover, one of the most damaging structural elements in the film is the Black family itself. The film exposes an increasing dissolution of the Black family in South Central Los Angeles. The most troubling way in which the film illuminates this is in how Brenda Baker (Tyra Ferrell) feels it necessary to favor her younger son (Ricky Baker) over her older son (Darrin “Doughboy” Baker), because the economic structure (capitalism) dominating her family’s situation compels her to favor him (from her perspective). For Brenda, Ricky, who is a star student-athlete with great potential to not only become a superstar college student-athlete, but also professional athlete, is her family’s only hope of moving into a more favorable position within the capitalist economic system. The audience witnesses how the lack of meaningful economic and social opportunities for Black families in South Central Los Angeles conjoined with an absent father forces Brenda to not only commodify her children, but also to reify them: Darrin becomes her “waste” and Ricky becomes her financial investment. Unfortunately, at the conclusion of the film, both Darrin and Ricky die—symbolizing how important the unity of the family is and how harmful the dissolution of the family is.
The larger significance of this film is it demonstrates how the current economic structure, capitalism, in America (and in the global milieu) is harmful to most people, especially for Black people living in impoverished conditions. Jameson (1991) highlights how capitalism’s structure dominates all other dimensions of life, including the human resource, cultural, and (most importantly) political dimensions of the lived experience. The significance of this film for Antonio Daniels is it offers vivid insights into why there is a need for an alternative global economic system, and it affirms that the structural is constructed from the political; that is, the political determines the structural. When we are analyzing the structural, therefore, we have to consider the conspicuous and subtle political that comes to compose what we see as the structural. The larger significance of this essay to organizational theory and behavior studies is it highlights that it is important to have a dominant framework that concatenates the four frames Bolman and Deal (2008) champion into a totality, a cognitively mapped narrative revealing how each of the frames are interconnected.
Bolman, L.G., & Deal, T.E. (2008). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership (4th edition). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Harper, S.R., & Hurtado, S. (2007). Nine themes in campus racial climates and implications for institutional transformation. New Directions for Student Services, 120, 7-24.
Hood, D.W. (1992). Academic and noncognitive factors affecting the retention of Black men at a predominately White institution. Journal of Negro Education, 61, 12-23.
Jackson, J.F.L. (2003). Toward administrative diversity: An analysis of the African-American male educational pipeline. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 12, 43-60.
Jameson, F. (1991). Postmodernism or, the cultural logic of late capitalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Polite, V.C. (1994). The method in the madness: African-American males, avoidance schooling, and chaos theory. Journal of Negro Education, 63, 588-601.
Watson, C., & Hodges, C. (1991). Educational equity and Detroit’s male academics. Equity and Excellence, 25, 90-105.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison