What I am often unsettled and unnerved by is the reality that many people always want me to be like them. Because I am willing to be myself, this unsettles, unnerves, and unhouses them in fundamental ways. I am a truly emancipated Black man. This means that I do not allow societal expectations and norms to limit me in any way. Even though I am tremendously happy with being a truly emancipated Black man, this does not stop people from attempting to change me and make me more like them. What I have learned is people want to change me because they do not want me to outshine them, and they do not want me to make them feel uncomfortable and embarrass them in front of their friends and colleagues. The purpose of this article is to explain the phenomenon of “social cloning,” explain the problems “social cloning” engenders, and elucidate why it is important to resist.
I know you have to be saying—what is “social cloning”? Just to make my definition clear to you, “social cloning” is the process by which people force others to be more like them or exactly like them. It seems that people do not want you to be “different.” For some reason, “difference” threatens the safety of their embracement of hegemony, the status quo, and societal expectations and norms. Fortunately, there are some people, like me, who find simply embracing hegemony, the status quo, and societal expectations and norms to be problematic. What seems to be the goal of those who try to force people to be just like them is to allow themselves to remain safe and comfortable in their limited world of possibilities. The reason why they have limited possibilities is they have self-imposed a life of slavery on themselves. They allow themselves to fall prey to psychic slavery. As we all know, this is the most damaging form of slavery because it has the potential to last forever.
Unfortunately, many Black people allow themselves to be victimized by self-imposed psychic slavery. They are not willing to live a free life—a life without limits. While I am certainly not advocating that people should not be law-abiding citizens, I am arguing for people to do the things that please them most. You should not live a life that is based on what other people think that you should be and what they think you should be doing. You also should not live a life that is not real. I see so many unhappy people because they are living lives and doing things that they do not want to do. For example, I know many people who get married, have babies, maintain heterosexual relationships, try to act like thugs, pretend to be straight, but these things are not really what they want to be and/or do. They just do these things so that they will not be considered “different.” For many people, being “different” is not something that they can handle. It is almost like being dirty: When one gets dirty, there is always this feeling that you need to be cleansed. Living a socially cloned life and life of self-imposed psychic slavery has to be a miserable life. Life is too short—one should live life with much more freedom and with much more concern for what he or she can uniquely contribute to the world.
I am often criticized for virtually everything that I do—simply because I am a truly emancipated Black man. Efforts to criticize my freedom-saturated actions are aimed at trying to make me stop doing things that are outside of the norm, and people want me to stop making them have to constantly live with the reality that they are unwilling to live a life of Truth, instead of a life of falsehoods. Because I am such a compassionate person, I want my readers to know that I am not attacking those who allow themselves to be socially cloned and be victimized by a self-imposed psychic slavery. I simply have to tell them the Truth. As I often say, justice is what love looks like in public. As a person who fights for justice, I have to tell people that living a lie is a self-denial of experiencing and enjoying the fullness of the Earth.
You can always identify those people who live a life of self-imposed psychic slavery and who have been socially cloned: These are the people who are always pointing out the harm in everything that you do that goes against the status quo. What people really would like for people who resist social cloning and psychic slavery to do is just sit down and shut up. Please do not succumb to this pressure. I know that it can often be hard to resist and can be tremendously unpopular. The world, however, needs people who are willing to be “different” and needs people who are willing to take “unpopular” positions and actions. Just think about it: When you take unpopular positions and actions and are willing to be different, you will be in the company of the greatest man you can ever know: Jesus. Jesus took unpopular positions and actions and was willing to be different.
People know the difference between real and fake, so please do not think that you are fooling anybody. When you work so hard to put on false images, the world knows that these are false images, so stop investing great time in maintaining these images. The people who really gain the real respect of people are the people who are authentic. In order to be authentic, you must be guided by transparency in nearly all that you do and say. I really hope that people will begin to improve the world dramatically by offering us your authenticity and not your socially cloned selves. I long for a day when real people will rise up and make this world a truly better place to live in, a place where true and pervasive freedom can blossom.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Although I am a strong supporter of the Black Church, it is important to think about and discuss some of the most vexing contradictions of it. First, I want to make it clear that I am a Christian, a member of the Black Church, a member of Paradise Church of God in Christ in Forest Park, Georgia, heterosexual, and an African-American. I love the Black Church, especially my church, Paradise Church of God in Christ in Forest Park, Georgia. I love my pastor, Bishop Paul L. Fortson, and my first lady, Evangelist Carolyn C. Fortson. Let’s be clear—this article is not about the church that I attend and my Pastor and First Lady. This article has a larger purpose: to critique the contradictions in the way the Black Church treats homosexuality.
In the Black Church, especially in the Church of God in Christ, I often hear about how God despises homosexuality and I agree with this position because it is very much supported by Scriptures. My problem with how homosexuality is discussed in the Black Church, especially in the Church of God in Christ, is that it often comes off as being very hateful and/or insensitive. You can tell people that they need to change their ways without being so exploitative in the way in which you refer to them. For example, I have often heard in sermons in the Church of God in Christ homosexuals being referred to as “sissies,” “faggots,” and “dikes.” Now, this use of language is unnecessary to inform your audience that homosexuality is not supported by the Scriptures. This use of language seems to be tremendously mean-spirited. The role of the preacher and Church is to help to drive people to Christ—not to run them away. It seems that this use of language emerges from laziness and the failure of Black preachers in the Black Church to employ effective persuasion to change people’s homosexual ways, so they use a simplistic strategy: name-calling. Name-calling is for children—preachers are supposed to be adults, so act like it.
In Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism, Cornel West (2004) writes, “For Emerson, to be a democratic individual is to speak out on uncomfortable truths; to be an active player in public discourse is to be thrown into life’s contingency and fragility with the heavy baggage of history and tradition, baggage like the American legacies of race and empire” (p. 74). As a person with a commitment to Socratic inquiry and bearing prophetic witness to Truth, I have to speak those “uncomfortable truths” that Cornel West states that Ralph Waldo Emerson talked about. If the Black Church was so serious about homosexuality, then it would not take homosexuals’ money during offering time. During offering time, I want to hear these preachers say, “We don’t want your gay money.” I want to hear them say, “Sissies and dikes stay in your seats because we don’t want your nasty money.”
The Black Church seems to be tremendously dishonest when offering time comes: Preachers become everyone’s friend when offering time comes because they want everyone’s money. I would just like them to remember how harsh they are to homosexuals during their sermons, so be consistent and honest and tell them you don’t want their money. If you can speak to them in such disparaging ways during your sermons, then use the same rhetoric when you are passing that collection plate around. How’s that for transparency? Have I unsettled you yet? If not, maybe I will now. In many Black churches, people are gaining salvation while many homosexuals are singing and playing the music that they are shouting and dancing too. Hmm…Now, when will these preachers remove the homosexuals from their choirs and music departments if they are so serious about homosexuality?
The Black Church’s love of money exposes its contradictions on the issue of homosexuality. With all of the sins the Bible speaks about, it seems that the Black Church wants to focus on the most divisive sins in the Bible. The reason why I see that preachers are wanting to focus on the more divisive sins is they gain them much more attention—just like controversy breeds cash in the media, controversy breeds cash in churches. Some preachers have even gained their fame by how harsh they speak about homosexuality, but where is the love of Christ in this harsh language you use about homosexuals? Did Christ say love and respect everyone except homosexuals? No!
While I very much contend that the Scriptures speak against homosexuality, I argue that the Scriptures also tell you to talk about homosexuality with love and compassion. Now, how can you say that you are treating people with love and compassion when you are calling them “sissies,” “faggots,” and “dikes.” I already know I’m going to receive a significant amount of criticism for this article, but what I have said in this article needs to be said. People think it is so funny when preachers in the Black Church try to get the audience’s attention by using derogatory language to refer to homosexuals, but what if more derogatory language was used to expose your lying, fornication, profanity, watching and viewing of pornography, intoxication, gossiping, and etc.? It may not be so funny to you anymore. Hmm…I’m just saying.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Although some will immediately think I am a racist, I want you to know I am one of the strongest fighters for racial and social justice. The harsh reality is America’s national security is placed in jeopardy when we do not fight illegal immigration. America is a nation with laws and a nation governed by the rule of law. If you break this nation’s laws, then you should face the consequences of breaking those laws. We should not simply allow illegal immigrants to break our nation’s laws because we want to be culturally, racially, and ethnically sensitive—that’s simply not the way to go about it. A nation without true borders is a nation without order. Let me be transparent from the beginning—this article is not an attempt to argue in favor of the Arizona Immigration Reform Bill. This article has a larger purpose: to have people to understand that the issue of illegal immigration is a serious matter of national security.
As an African-American, trust me I understand how angry discrimination, racism, bigotry, and racial prejudice can make you. Regardless of our race, we all have to be tremendously concerned about those individuals who would wish to do us harm who are living outside of our borders. I would not want a terrorist to come through our vastly unprotected borders, especially our Southern border (the Texas-Mexico border), and do us harm. While we sit around and debate about what type of immigration reform bill would be best, terrorists living outside of America are thinking about how they can enter into our country through our borders. If you are an illegal immigrant, then you are a criminal—it’s that simple. If you enter into this country in an illegal manner, you have violated the law and you deserve to be returned to your country of origin. I do not want to hear all of this rhetoric about we are a nation of immigrants. Of course, we are a nation of immigrants. This nation of immigrants has established laws for people wishing to enter into it.
In immigration reform bills being floated around in Congress, there is consideration of sundry “guest worker” programs. I do not support any guest worker program that will allow people who have entered into this country illegally to remain in this county. If they have children in this country who are products of parents who entered into this nation illegally, then those children should be returned to their country of origin with their parents. It is unfair for us to allow any illegal immigrant to remain in this country when legal immigrants have gone through the long process of formally becoming a citizen. These illegal immigrants should be forced to return to their country of origin, and then they can formally apply to be citizens. I am not against them formally applying for citizenship, but the formal process of becoming a citizen is a crucial process to ensuring our national security. We must have a formal accounting and screening of all individuals who enter into America.
The federal, state, and local government is going to have to do a better job of punishing those businesses that hire illegal immigrants. I have always found the label “undocumented worker” to be quite unsettling, which indicates that we have simply adopted illegal immigrants into our society—such a dangerous phenomenon. By acknowledging that we have undocumented workers, we make a public acknowledgement that we know that these individuals are not legal citizens. Is it going to take one of these illegal immigrants engaging in serious terrorist act before we stop treating the issue of illegal immigration as just another “hot” topic, instead of as a matter of public safety. Many American businesses, not all, enjoy exploiting illegal immigrants because they are able to pay them extremely low wages. Just to gain this cheap labor, many American businesses are putting our lives in danger—we do not know much about these illegal immigrants.
I am often unsettled and unnerved by the argument that illegal immigrants are performing vital work for America, work that we (legal American citizens) do not want to do. Are you kidding me? In an economy like this, people are looking for any type of work to help their families to survive. Many poor African-Americans would love to have the opportunity to have access to these jobs that illegal immigrants are performing for exploitative wages. Because employers know that these illegal immigrants will work for any wage, employers do not need to consider hiring poor African-American workers because they can save tremendous amounts of money by giving the work to illegal immigrants. While without question illegal immigrants performing in many of these jobs work tremendously hard, they are serving in jobs that legal citizens could be receiving income from. When illegal immigrants work for these exploitative wages, they enable employers to cut jobs and slow the rate at which they give pay raises and create good paying jobs.
Many African-Americans are trying to support illegal immigrants because of some of the radical elements of the Arizona Immigration Reform Bill. Although many African-Americans see this bill as racist, this should not cause them to support illegal immigration because it hurts them not only economically, but also when it comes to national security. Even though African-Americans are economically disadvantaged by illegal immigration, the threat to all Americans’ national security is much more important. Do you go to sleep at night with your doors wide open? I’m sure you don’t. Then, why would you allow your federal, state, and local leaders to leave our borders vastly unprotected?
Even though some think that it is not practical to ship all illegal immigrants back to their country of origin, we have to make a strong effort to do this. We cannot allow these lawbreakers to just roam around like they have not done anything wrong—they broke our laws! If you are an illegal immigrant, you need to go back home today! You have certainly worn out your welcome, and your illegal entrance into this country was never appreciated. President Obama seems to be more interested in gaining the votes of these illegal immigrants by allowing them to stay in this country.
While we do not have to solve the illegal immigration problem in the way Arizona has attempted to do it, we can find effective ways of sending them back home. We need to put the National Guard on our borders to help to provide better border security. Yes, we need to militarize the borders. I am not trying to be disrespectful in anyway, but these illegal immigrants were not worrying about being disrespectful when they illegally entered this country. It’s so unfair to those who entered into this nation legally to let illegal immigrants stay in our country. I call on President Obama to see illegal immigration as a matter of national security.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
After being informed by my best friend, Santresa L. Glass-Hunt, that T.I. would be having an interview with Larry King, I could not wait to turn my television to view the interview. As a great fan of T.I., I knew that this would be a good interview. Unfortunately, I witnessed Larry King making a conscious effort to exploit and be racist to T.I. and Black men collectively. King was relentless in framing and asking queries that put T.I. in negative light. Of course, some of my readers will say I am going too far with my calling Larry King’s interview with T.I. racist. In Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge, Richard Delgado writes, “CRT [Critical Race Theory] begins with a number of basic insights. One is that racism is normal, not aberrant, in American society. Because racism is an ingrained feature of our landscape, it looks ordinary and natural to persons in the culture” (p. xiv). I could not agree more with Delgado on this point. Racism is so normal in our society that we do not always know it when we see it. In the postmodern epoch, I see racism operating in a much more troubling way now: It is much more subtle and does not appear in such overt ways as it did during slavery and Jim Crow days. Drawing upon Delgado’s insights about racism, this article serves to highlight how Larry King’s interview with T.I. was intentionally racist and exploitative to T.I. and Black men collectively.
The paucity of sophistication with which the mainstream media employs to discuss and engage Black males has always been problematic. Larry King has continued in the racist and exploitative tradition of the mainstream media’s coverage of the Black male. In his most recent interview with T.I., he never asked him a question that did not carry some negative weight with it. Even when he asked one question that was supposed to be seen as a positive question, he decorated it with the negative dimensions of T.I.’s past. King did not want to give any significance to the good work T.I. has done before and after he has been released from prison. Even when King did show him talking to young people situated in a juvenile detention center, King gave little attention to it. It was almost like King was showing the small clip of T.I. speaking to the juvenile delinquents as a measure of defense against anticipated charges of racism. He could have avoided charges of racism and bias by making his questions more balanced, and understanding that there is much more to T.I. than what he went to prison for.
King’s line of questioning was aimed at showing that T.I. is dangerous, and for White people not to be fooled by the fact that he is articulate and well-groomed man; he wanted White people to know that this Black man is still dangerous. This is why he continued to ask questions about T.I.’s time in the prison, guns, and violence. While I understand that T.I. was on his show to talk about his recent experience in prison, he was also on the show to talk about his release from prison. I would, therefore, have expected to witness King give him a number of questions about what he is going to do now that he is out of jail. If Mr. King was so interested in talking about T.I.’s involvement with guns, violence, drugs, and his economically and socially disadvantaged upbringing, then why not ask him questions about how he is going to use his experiences with these things to improve his lives and/or the lives of others. He could have also asked him how these experiences have had an impact on where he currently is in his life.
Instead of asking T.I. queries that are more forward looking, and that can actually demonstrate to people how to move beyond these negative things, King wanted to keep his audience focused on how “horrible” T.I., his life, and upbringing are. Larry King was frustrated with what he saw before him—an educated Black man who has had some misfortunes with the law, but still remains a successful hip-hop artist, business man, actor, and loving father. Some White men simply cannot handle Black men who are young, educated, and successful. Even Black men who have had a little trouble with the law and still remain successful, they seem to threaten the power structure that some White men have worked tirelessly to keep in place. Questions are often raised in the mainstream media about the civility and decency of Black men. T.I. showed Larry King just how civil and decent we can be—even when we know a White man is attempting to exploit us on national television. T.I. never got rude with Mr. King or started yelling at him. You know some people don’t think that Black men can engage in a serious conversation without getting rude and yelling.
One of the positives dimensions of the interview had nothing to do with Larry King himself, but with the people who called in to ask T.I. questions. You could tell how much the people loved and supported him. One woman was so excited to have the opportunity to talk to T.I. that she admitted she was nervous. It would have been nice to see Larry King reflect some of the goodwill his callers did. After all, T.I. did grant him the first interview he had since he was released from prison. Now, where’s the decency and civility of this White man?
I know many people from Atlanta who say that they grew up in Atlanta where T.I. did (and some even say they went to school with him) and that he had choices to make and he made them. Well, “scholars,” thank you very much for stating the obvious. When people try to suggest that they “made it” in Atlanta without having to go to prison, then I simply want to say to you congratulations. The social reality is, however, many people’s conditions were and are different, which lead them to different outcomes than those of you who “made it out” of Atlanta without experiencing trouble with the law. As Black people, we have to be careful with our lack of thorough critiques of our own people because we can be just as racist as Larry King was during his interview. Yes, T.I. had choices to make and he certainly made them. Those choices got him a little prison time but yielded him many millions. How many millions do you have?
I heard many Black people say that T.I. is so articulate during and after the interview with Larry King. Yes, he is certainly articulate. I would like, however, for Black people to stop being so stunned when you see and hear an articulate Black man. We can be articulate too! Larry King was unsettled and unnerved by this Black man who he found himself to be superior, yet T.I. was more articulate than he is. Despite how articulate T.I. proved to be, Mr. King wanted America to know that this is still a “thug nigga”—so beware!
Although I thought Larry King was a pretty okay guy before the T.I. interview, he revealed his true racist self during the interview. I am not suggesting that anyone boycott Mr. King or anything of the like. I would just suggest that we need to be more watchful of his line of questioning and treatment of a particular type of Black male—those like T.I. He treats those Black men like Michael Eric Dyson, Marc Lamont Hill, Cornel West, and others of this elite Black male status with great decency, but not those Black males like T.I. His feeling of the superiority of whiteness allowed him to see himself in a higher class position than T.I., leading to a fusion of racism and classism. T.I. deserved to be treated with much more respect. Today, I salute T.I. for how he handled himself during the interview and for the commitment to helping young people, especially young people of color, to avoid a life of trouble.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Although the use of Affirmative Action as policy and legislation is controversial, serious discourse and thought is needed that goes beyond the limitations of Affirmative Action. In Race Matters, Cornel West, one of the most liberal scholars and thinkers living, contends that Affirmative Action cannot completely ensure equity and access for historically marginalized and economically and socially disadvantaged people in the workplace, education, and governmental contracts. He argues that Affirmative Action was never intended to be a total remedy for redressing the history of racial discrimination, violence, and prejudice and Jim Crow laws African-Americans were subjected to. West believes that Affirmative Action was an attempt by liberal Whites to appease Blacks, but not give them the full access and equity that they need in the workplace, education, and governmental contracting. While people are still debating about the fairness, usefulness, and purpose of Affirmative Action, it no longer exists in many places. Many states like Michigan, Alaska, Oregon, California, and Washington have passed legislation outlawing the use of Affirmative Action. With the delicate 5-4 balance on the U.S. Supreme Court that allows the use of Affirmative Action to remain constitutional, we need to consider alternatives to it. The purpose of this article is to offer higher education institutions, especially predominantly White selective institutions, alternatives to Affirmative Action that aim to move us closer to total equity and access for people of color in higher education.
I am completely exhausted with hearing higher education institutions talk about how important diversity is to them. For example, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the institution in which I attend, has hired a Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate, Damon Williams, an African-American male, to ameliorate diversity on our campus. One can find a position like his at almost every institution, but the impact of this position in terms of increasing the racial and ethnic minority population at these institutions is miserably inadequate. Less than 5% of the student body at University of Wisconsin-Madison is composed of racial and ethnic minorities. African-American students compose the largest minority group at this institution, but less than 2% of the student body is African-American. (My comments about my problems with the dismal number of racial and ethnic minority students were placed in The Badger Herald http://badgerherald.com/news/2009/04/28/recertification_in_p.php .) University of Wisconsin-Madison and other selective colleges and universities across the nation are going to have to understand that if they are going to be taken serious about their commitment to diversity, then they are going to have to make this commitment materialize during the admissions and hiring stages. Let’s us be real—at the end of the day it’s all about who an institution lets in and hires that will constitute the type of diversity on its campus. The reality is these selective higher education institutions are not interested in diversity. The rhetoric about diversity they employ is simply about marketing and politics.
To move beyond this marketing and politics about diversity viable alternatives to Affirmative Action must be engendered and implemented. Since there are problems with Affirmative Action because it uses racial preferences, then I offer that we replace the racial preferences with income-based (socioeconomic) preferences. Inevitably, the racial preferences of Affirmative Action are going to be declared unconstitutional by a conservative U.S. Supreme Court. Socioeconomic preferences can be used as the plus factor that racial preferences currently receive. In this way, many of those who already benefit from racial preferences will not lose that benefit, but will gain that benefit in a way that will garner greater support and have a greater chance to pass the test of being constitutional perpetually. While I do acknowledge that some consideration for race is necessary, using racial perferences will inevitably be found to be in direct conflict with the 14th Amendment. For those who are proponents of Affirmative Action, this measure would ensure its continuation. Over time, there is a potential for socioeconomic preferences to generate even greater results than racial preferences have and will be able to produce.
The final suggestion that I am going to offer at this time is for higher education institutions to develop a more comprehensive notion of diversity. In Postmodernism or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Fredric Jameson asserts that the dominant reason efforts to remedy serious problems fail in the postmodern epoch is there is a failure to engage in thinking about the problems comprehensively. All higher education institutions need to have a center that brings all aspects of the university together behind the wide notions of diversity currently existing. Every aspect of the institution should be engaged in the various notions of diversity. In this way, we will approach diversity in a comprehensive way that allows for greater colloboration to achieve a wider and more cognitively mapped notion of diversity. The current approach being used at most higher education institutions is a decentralized approach that leads to diversity being addressed in a highly fragmentary way. For example, predominantly White higher education institutions w have Multicultural Student Centers, LGBT Centers, and etc., but do not make efforts to bring these various groups together to work on diversity issues and will not involve the larger campus community in these efforts. Higher education institutions, therefore, need to work to foster greater colloboration among various diversity interests on campus to manufacture a greater and more comprehensive notion of diversity on campuses across the nation.
The reality is we have to consider that we live in a post-Affirmative Action society. Higher education institutions are going to have to make serious efforts to respond to the reality that we live in a post-Affirmative Action society. Let me be clear—this article is not arguing for or against Affirmative Action. It attempts to have us to think about alternatives to Affirmative Action to achieve greater minority representation at colleges and universities across the nation. This article does not attempt to offer the panacea for diversity problems or Affirmative Action, but simply offers some ideas for how we might begin to think about approaching the challenges of diversity in higher education we face in the 21st century. The current minority representation in higher education is miserably inadequate. Let’s begin to think about serious ways to ensure true equity and access in higher education for all people. Do not simply sit around and discuss diversity issues in your little private groups—go to your university administrators and discuss potential solutions to the diversity challenges your institution faces. Let’s act today!
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Each year, I am always excited about Mother’s Day because this day gives me the opportunity to honor, celebrate, and appreciate my great mother in unison with people across the United States of America. Linda J. Daniels is certainly a great mother and my very best friend. Although she does get on my nerves quite often, we have such an unconditional love for one another. For those of you who do not have a living mother, find peace on this day in thinking about positive moments about your mother. One of the greatest ways to overcome some of the sorrow that this day presents for you is to invest your time in loving mothers who you are related to or who you are friends with. For those of you who have a difficult relationship with your mother, try to work on your relationship with her today. Just do something nice for your mother today—no matter what type of relationship you have with her. The purpose of this article is to express the significance of Mother’s Day.
A mother gave birth to us all. They have a special significance because these are the women who carried us for 9 months. We literally would not be here without our mothers, even though it does take a man to have a baby too. The bond between a mother and her child cannot be closer, however. We literally lived inside of our mother for 9 months—something no man can ever experience what it feels like. A woman certainly has more biological investment in her child than a man. My mother’s investment in me certainly persisted after giving birth to me. It seems like our mothers know us in ways that no one else, including our fathers, know us.
You have to really appreciate your mother and give her your kind words and flowers while she is living because when she is no longer living, she cannot hear your words or see your flowers. It always amazes me how we will go to people’s funerals and pour our hearts out about how much we love them and how much they meant to us, but never expressed those thoughts and feelings when the people were alive. It’s hard for me to really believe you when you do stuff like that. I have often said that funerals and weddings are the two most dishonest events. We could improve the quality of our mothers’ lives if we would let them know more often how much we love them and how much we appreciate them.
If you love your mother today, walk up to her, hug her, and tell her how much you love her. If your mother is not living today, do something for someone else’s mother to show your love. You might even want to go to the grave site of your mother just to reflect on her greatness. If you are living far away from your mother, then give her a call and tell her that you love her. For those who are able, do something today for your mother that you have never done for her before. To all mothers, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day! To Linda J. Daniels, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day!
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
In an April 22, 2010 article, “Ending the Slavery Blame Game,” (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/23/opinion/23gates.html) in The New York Times, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., an African-American and Harvard University professor, offered an interesting response to the controversial issue of slavery reparations. In the article, he explained how Africans were also participants in the slave trade that helped to create and maintain the institution of slavery in America. He also further divulged that the more interesting query about slavery reparations “just might be from whom they would be extracted.” I could not agree more with Dr. Gates about this question. Unfortunately, the following comments that he made I could not disagree more with: “Fortunately, in President Obama, the child of an African and an American, we finally have a leader who is uniquely positioned to bridge the great reparations divide. He is uniquely placed to publicly attribute responsibility and culpability where they truly belong, to white people and black people, on both sides of the Atlantic, complicit alike in one of the greatest evils in the history of civilization. And reaching that understanding is a vital precursor to any just and lasting agreement on the divisive issue of slavery reparations.” The purpose of this article is to respond to the aforementioned comments of Dr. Gates.
Has Henry Louis Gates, Jr. lost his mind? In this article, he suggested that Blacks and Whites are both responsible for the institution of slavery in America. For a professor and director of an African-American Studies department at Harvard University, I have to think that he has lost his mind or he is on the verge of losing his mind. Just to remind you, this is the same man who was harassed by a White police officer for trying to break into his own home, but was arrested by the police officer. Next thing we know, Gates and the White police officer are enjoying one another over a beer with President Obama. Dr. Gates, was that beer in the cup or Kool-Aid? It must have been Kool-Aid because Kool-Aid is the drink of “post-racial” folk; that is, people who are here to please White folk and excuse racist White people for the legacy of slavery. While I have tremendous respect for Dr. Gates (Skip Gates) as a scholar and intellectual, he has gone too far to try to be “post-racial.” Let’s be real—the effort to be post-racial is problematic in the first place. At the core of this notion of being post-racial is an assumption that such great progress has been made in terms of race that we do not have to consider race as an important and central factor anymore. I certainly don’t need to be a Harvard professor to know that being post-racial is a foolish concept for people of color to fall prey to. The presence of President Obama in the White House does not remedy the enduring impact of slavery on African-Americans!
The Institute of the Black World 21st Century is holding a special conference on Saturday, May 8, 2010 from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. in Brooklyn, New York at Historic House of the Lord Church to respond to the article penned by Dr. Gates. I am sure that they are going to expose the many weaknesses of the article and I wish I could be there. Although I do not support slavery reparations in the traditional ways in which they have been argued for, I do believe that this nation owes African-Americans real economic, social, and educational opportunities. African-Americans deserve the idea of equality of outcomes to become a true reality. I do, however, think that the notion of getting “40 acres and a mule” should be seriously considered in 2010.
I urge people to read the article that Dr. Gates composed and find ways to respond to it. I would even encourage you to email him to let him know how you feel about what he said in the article. When some African-Americans reach a certain economic and educational level, they begin to lose sight of the harsh realities of life Black people have experienced in the past and in the present. Black people should never let anyone, not even a Black Harvard professor, tell them that their own people were just as responsible for the institution of slavery as White people were. It is my hope that Professor Gates will revise his article for the better, and we should give him an opportunity to revise and extend his remarks. I will be looking for his response to the outrage his article has conflagrated.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
This rise of phony degree granting institutions is certainly an unfortunate social reality. People can sit back in the comfort of their homes and create a “university” and attempt to sell you a degree. While the highly educated and socially aware among us know about these diploma mills, I am tremendously concerned about the lesser educated among us. Many marginalized and socially and economically disadvantaged people are not aware of the difference between phony online universities and legitimate ones. The purpose of this article is to bring attention to phony online universities, and to offer a brief report about my scholarly and empirical work on fake universities, especially Rochville University http://www.rochvilleuniversity.org/ .
The American and international public does not have a deep understanding about accreditation. Accreditation is a voluntary and formal way of ensuring that institutions are providing their students with the quality education they claim to offer. Accrediting agencies have been entrusted with the responsibility of resolving what institutions are meeting their promulgated goals. Accreditation protects the public trust in an institution. When a college or university elects to offer degrees without accreditation, please know that you are obtaining a degree from an institution without any value and credibility. When a college or university claims to be accredited by an accreditor without any recognition, this is a phony “institution” that will waste your money. These institutions that promise you to be a Ph.D. in 24 hours for a certain amount of money are simply trying to cheat you out of your money. You will not be considered to a Ph.D.—trust me!
Rochville University is one of these fake institutions that I have been investigating for over two years now. I was able to purchase a high school diploma for my grandmother by simply submitting her resume and paying $239. The high school diploma package comes with 1 transcript, 1 Certificate of Participation in Student Council, and unlimited verification for schools and employers of one’s attendance at this institution. Rochville University claims that it can legally give you a diploma and even a degree—all the way to a Ph.D.—based on life experience. People please do not believe this because you need to know that only a small number of academic credits can be awarded to you for your life experience.
What may be even more problematic is two accredited universities accepted the phony high school diploma that I purchased from Rochville University. Troy University (formerly Troy State University) and Walden University accepted my grandmother into their universities. She was able to attend both of their institutions online with this bogus high school diploma. She was able to receive federal financial aid at these institutions too. This means that accredited institutions like Troy University and Walden University, institutions accredited by the same accrediting agencies great universities like the University of Florida, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Albany State University, and the University of Arkansas are accredited by, need to be more probing in investigating the credentials of students during the admission process.
I do not want people to think that I am attempting to disparage online universities and for-profit universities. There are many respectable online and for-profit institutions available. I do, however, want the American people and the international community to be aware that there are fake universities on the internet. When it comes to receiving a valuable degree, please know that you cannot simply purchase one online.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Today is the first day of the month of May. Of course, your response to this previous sentence is “thanks for telling me something I already know.” The reason that I am bringing your attention to today’s date is this is the first day of national Health and Fitness Month. We need to do a better job of taking care of our bodies. If we did more to take care of our health, then the cost of healthcare would dramatically decline. This article intends to inspire you to do some practical phenomena to ameliorate your health.
How many of you will go to a shopping center and drive around the parking lot for a long time just to find the nearest parking spot possible? I already anticipate that many of my readers do this. Make a commitment to stop doing this today. When you simply increase the distance that it takes to get out of your car and enter into the store, you are burning more calories that can help to improve your health. You will have to make up in your mind that this is a good practice for you to engage in, and be sure to stay committed to it.
Moreover, go to your local store and purchase fish oil supplements and a multivitamin. Both of these products will help you to feel and look better in many ways. Fish oil supplements and multivitamins have been tremendously useful in improving my health and aiding me in feeling so good. When you do not eat a balanced diet, as I do not, a multivitamin is essential for you to take to gain some of the necessary vitamins and nutrients that your body does not receive from your food and drink consumption. These products are really inexpensive but they significantly enhance your health.
I cannot encourage you enough to try to workout at least once a week. I very much enjoy working out 4 to 5 times a week. Working out does not mean that you have to go to the gym. You can walk or run around your neighborhood, do sit-ups and push-ups in the comfort of your home, and/or purchase a product like the Contour Ab Belt that gives your abs a serious workout—without you even needing to do one crunch. I also encourage you to lift some weights, even if it is not that much weight at all.
During this month, let’s celebrate ourselves by engaging in activities that are going to make us healthier and feel good. I think that there is something that we all can do to improve our bodies and health. I would encourage you to try some of the phenomena that I have suggested in this article. I believe that my recommendations can cause you to be a healthier person and make you feel better than you have ever felt before, without bankrupting your banking accounts. Let’s get fit in May!
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison