American Exceptionalism Made Possible by Exceptional Africans

President Donald Trump

(Photo Credit: USA Today)

When President Donald J. Trump favors lily-white Norwegian immigrants over those abject, wretched, in his view, black African and Haitian immigrants, he exposes his historical amnesia and attempts at black historical erasure. When white invaders arrived in America to rob Native Americans of their land, and, unfortunately, were successful in this theft, they soon captured and forced many Africans to come to America as slaves.

Most foundational phenomena crucial to the evolution of American exceptionalism were developed by these Africans, including the White House, however. Essentially, most celebrated historical buildings were built by Africans. Africans built America, and the nation flourished through a slave economy, an economy based on the free or cheap labor of exceptional African slaves. White folks didn’t build America; exceptional Africans did.

Africans Gave Real Meaning to the Declaration of Independence and Constitution

Even the cherished Declaration of Independence and Constitution, penned and conceived by white men, failed to achieve their true power, beauty, and significance while Africans were enslaved—and even while official Jim Crow existed. It was African humanity, African resistance, African rebellion that gave authentic meaning to the eloquent words expressed in those aforementioned founding national documents.

Through African “fightback,” to quote one of the greatest minds in world history and leading public intellectual Dr. Cornel West, whites were compelled to begin putting those words into action, action for all people—regardless of race, regardless of skin color, regardless of national origin—although all the content of those documents have not fully materialized for all. Without Africans, though, the descendants of these white men who authored these documents likely would have never completely understood the beloved documents’ real power, import, and possibilities.

Africanizing American Exceptionalism

Yes, America is exceptional. What really makes America exceptional, though? Despite every effort to efface blackness, to deny the value of blackness, to discredit the beauty and brilliance of blackness, blackness still reigned and reigns supreme. Blackness will not and cannot be defeated. Blackness speaks to what’s possible: anything. Anything for those willing to believe in and fight for possibilities, for the Blochian Not-Yet, for the principle of hope. This is what makes America exceptional. This is the real essence of American exceptionalism.  

Conservative Republicans love to promote American exceptionalism, but the centrality of Africans to the genesis of this exceptionalism is almost never mentioned. If American exceptionalism is to continue to have any power, any allure, any gravity, then the Africanness of it, the real (and not imagined) “Africanist presence” in it, to quote the incomparable Nobel Prize Laureate Toni Morrison, must figure prominently in any discourse involving the concept.

President Trump’s racist comments about African nations and Haiti can cause conservative Republicans to lose any political efficacy in employing American exceptionalism in the future if they fail to resist him and fail to muster the moral and political courage to categorically denounce these abominable comments.

And, just a quick note on Haiti, it was the Haitian Revolution that demonstrated for blacks in America that liberation was possible. If you are a racist, a white supremacist, though, like President Trump, a pivotal historical moment in the black freedom struggle isn’t something you desire to know and remember.   

Conclusion

Instead of focusing on “Make America Great Again,” which her constant commitment to sin, to moral, social, economic, and political depravity has never permitted her to experience unadulterated greatness, let’s work on dismantling the vicious legacies of racism, white supremacy, discrimination, and injustice that persist to plague our nation.

“Make America Great Again” is coded language expressing nostalgia for the days when racism and white supremacy ruled, which, as one of the foremost cultural theorists Fredric Jameson contends, is, ironically, “nostalgia for the present.” We’ve never witnessed a day in America where “Make America Great Again” was not the ruling order, the ruling ideology.     

In short, American exceptionalism is the story of Africans ushering in the possibility of a nation and democracy as good as their promised.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Exploring Egocentrism: Pathological Tendencies of the Human Mind

Egocentrism

(Photo Credit: YouTube)

In an epoch where selfishness pervades the land, the use of reason is seriously waning, the value of critical thought is fading, and mendacity has become almost normalized, this piece offers you new vocabulary words to understand what’s at the core of the aforementioned: egocentrism. We must fight the human mind’s proclivity to favor the egocentric. Engage with the following vocabulary words to expand your analyses of egocentrism.

Egocentric myopia: the natural tendency to think in an absolutist way within an overly narrow point of view.

Egocentric memory: the natural tendency to “forget” evidence and information that do not support our thinking and to “remember” evidence and information that do.

Egocentric righteousness: the natural tendency to feel superior in the light of our confidence that we possess the Truth when we do not.

Egocentric hypocrisy: the natural tendency to ignore flagrant inconsistencies—for example, between what we profess to believe and the actual beliefs our behavior implies or between the standards to which we hold ourselves and those to which we expect others to adhere.

Egocentric oversimplification: the natural tendency to ignore real and important complexities in the world in favor of simplistic notions when consideration of those complexities would require us to modify our beliefs or values.

Egocentric blindness: the natural tendency to not notice facts and evidence that contradict our favored beliefs or values.

Egocentric immediacy: the natural tendency to over-generalize immediate feelings and experiences, so that when one event in our life is highly favorable or unfavorable, all of life seems favorable or unfavorable to us.

Egocentric absurdity: the natural tendency to fail to notice thinking that has “absurd” consequences.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Carmex Classic Lip Balm: Help Your Lips to Survive Winter

Carmex Classic Lip Balm

(Photo Credit: Walmart)

During the winter months, don’t forget the importance of Carmex Classic Lip Balm in protecting your lips from the very cold temperatures and unforgiving winds. For around $1, Carmex Classic Lip Balm works incredibly well to keep your lips moisturized, preventing them from becoming chapped. No one wants dry, ashy, crusty, chapped lips, right? No one desires to kiss those kind of lips.

Carmex has 80 years of experience in helping consumers safeguard their lips from the brutal elements. Carmex Classic Lip Balm is medicated. It is available in three forms: jar, tube, and stick. The tube and stick are available in the original flavor and a cherry flavor. The jar is available only in the original flavor.

Whether it’s the jar, tube, or stick, keep one in your pocket or purse at all times. Your lips will thank you later.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison  

MoviePass: Go to the Movies Every Day for only $9.95 a Month

MoviePass Subscription

(Photo Credit: Lifehacker)

If you love going to watch movies at the theater, and would like the opportunity to watch a movie at any theater once a day, then purchase a MoviePass monthly subscription for only $9.95 a month. Once you sign up for a MoviePass subscription, the company will send you a debit card that you will present to the cashier when you arrive at the theater. Even before the debit card arrives in the mail, you will be able to attend many theaters through obtaining an e-ticket on the MoviePass app.

You will need to download the MoviePass app because you will select the movie you desire to see before you arrive at the theater of your choice.

You can watch any movie, any day, at any theater. No commitment is required; cancel at any time you wish.

What an amazing deal! Give it a try right now.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison  

Remember What You Read? Write to Remember

Reading and Memory

(Photo Credit: Blavity)

Although you may think you have the best memory, and maybe you do, after reading so many pieces, you need a strategy to aid your memory about the pieces read. One of the most important strategies for helping you to recall what you read, including remembering some sophisticated analyses and observations made, is to write a summary and/or critical review of each text read. Write the summary or critical review immediately after reading a text. This type of focused writing strategy benefits all readers.

Yes, taking notes about the works one reads is a traditional method that is useful in aiding your recollection. Taking notes, however, does not involve the serious level of focus and engagement that writing summaries and critical reviews necessitates. This greater level of focus and engagement will not only ameliorate your ability to recall what you read but also significantly enhance your comprehension.

You can compose your summaries and critical reviews in a regular notebook or journal, but you might find it more fun to capture your summaries and critical reviews through blogging. By using blogging as your method of penning your summaries and critical reviews, you are able to share your writing with the world and engage and receive feedback from a global audience.

Blogger, Weebly, and WordPress are three excellent blogging platforms that you might consider using to blog your summaries and critical reviews of the pieces you read.

Most of us live busy lives. When you’ve invested your time and energy in reading a work, especially a long book or lengthy essay, do you really want to forget most or everything about the book or essay 6 months or a year after reading the book or essay? Let your summaries and critical reviews of those books and essays support your memory.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison       

The Way to God by Dwight L. Moody: A Book Review

The Way to God Dwight L. Moody

(Photo Credit: Amazon)

Dwight L. Moody’s The Way to God offers a strong understanding of God’s agapic love and how that agapic love can transform the lives of all people willing to receive Him into their hearts. Recognizing that Christ is soon to return, Moody challenges people to answer His call to salvation, allowing them to enter into the joy of the Lord. The book primarily centers on several sermons he delivered across England and the United States, although he added more material in this work. His chief desire is for the reader to “be strengthened, established, and settled in the faith of Christ” (vii).

One of the most important elements of the book is Moody’s emphasis on sharing the message of God’s love with everyone, especially with the unsaved. For Moody, those sharing the message of God’s love need to have a deep knowledge and understanding of this love. The author is convinced that the more we help people know and experience God’s love, the many more souls that will be rescued from a burning Hell. Salvation, though, isn’t simply a “fire insurance plan”; it’s about possessing an intimate relationship with God and experiencing a victorious life in Christ.

Moody contends that Christ’s greatest and most vivid example of His love for all is the work He did at Calvary for us: dying on the Cross to give all who believe in and receive Him in their hearts eternal victory over sin. Without Jesus dying on the Cross, humanity faced eternal damnation in Hell. Christ demonstrated His divine love for us by suffering the most brutal beating and death ever at Calvary. Therefore, as the writer asserts, if one longs to see what divine love looks like in public, simply see the Cross and observe our Savior’s blood shed for us “while we were yet sinners.”

The author divulges that when a person receives Christ’s salvation, the Holy Spirit comes into his or her life and aids him or her in living a life that pleases Him, a life empowered to escape the temptations Satan will attempt to present him or her daily. Satan’s agenda is “to steal, kill, and destroy,” but the power of the Holy Spirit working in us enables us to conquer everything Satan tries to throw at us.

This is an important book, especially for unbelievers. I encourage every true believer to purchase at least two copies of this book: one for himself or herself to read and one for an unbeliever to read. Although passing out tracts is okay, we need to modernize our evangelistic efforts; giving a book like this one to a lost soul is a more modern evangelistic effort.

Again, read this book and share a copy with an unbeliever.

I received a copy of this book from Aneko Press to compose this honest review.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison  

How to Make Online Schooling a Smooth Process

Online Universities

Today’s typical college student has changed dramatically in the past few decades. The traditional university student used to be the fresh high school graduate with no obligations to interfere with a full course load, but thanks to the advent of online university and college programs, current college attendees are more likely to work full-time and have family obligations competing with their class time.

Online programs offer flexibility to these students, allowing them to attend classes asynchronously from their homes at whatever time is most convenient. Despite the advances in distance education, new students still need to make adjustments to prepare for the challenges unique to working adult learners. This article strives to help make the process of beginning higher education smoother and more enjoyable.

Prepare for Virtual Interaction and Self-Guided Study

Most online courses are learner-centered, which means that the learner carries more responsibility for meeting course objectives and requirements than the instructor. The instructor is still present in an online university course, but he or she will take more of a mentor or facilitator role, while the learner will rely mostly on assigned readings, research, and interaction with fellow students and the instructor via guided discussion.

Many programs include both synchronous and asynchronous communication to make this work. Discussion boards, shared websites, wikis, and email are forms of asynchronous contact where the individuals can communicate in different places at different times.

A web chat room or video conference enables students and instructors to interact synchronously, where they are all together at the same time despite being in different locations. Learners who are not used to this new environment often adjust readily during the first week of class when the assignments are focused on orienting students and encouraging them to introduce themselves and interact using the discussion methods outlined for the course.

Explore the Classroom Environment

Students in online university programs need to be familiar with the user interfaces for their online classroom environments and virtual tools provided to students by the institution. The best programs offer learners access to vast digital libraries and web resources to use for research instead of brick and mortar libraries accessible to the traditional students. The online classroom environments differ between colleges, but quality programs will provide tutorials for students before the beginning of a term.

The best way to become proficient with the user interfaces is to explore them during one’s free time and begin interacting with other students as soon as possible. Again, most courses are designed with primary activities to aid new students in adjusting to the environment.

Check Hardware, Software, and Internet Capabilities

The online university website and student handbook should provide a list of technology requirements that students are expected to meet before starting the program. This list will include the minimum hardware specifications for computers and mobile devices as well as a minimum speed for the Internet.

Students are responsible for meeting these requirements, and most instructors will expect learners to have alternatives plans in case their home Internet is not working. This could include a local cafe or library that extends access to public Internet service. Students should always obtain email and telephone contact information from their instructors to maintain contact if they do run into problems with these services.

The recent growth of online degree programs has brought unprecedented opportunities to busy working adults and parents. However, one should be prepared for the change from instructor-led to learner-centered curricula. Furthermore, new online students will want to learn how to access and use their virtual school and study tools before starting their programs.

Resources Consulted

WGU

U.S. News

KQED News

eLearning Industry

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison