African American

Define Yourself, Redefine the World: A Guided Journal for Black Boys and Men: A Review

The Black Man Can Journal

Define Yourself, Redefine the World: A Guided Journal for Black Boys and Men (2012), penned by Brandon Frame of The Black Man Can, is a powerful journal specifically designed for Black boys and men to engage in critical thought and reflection.  In the 284 pages of the journal, Black boys and men have an opportunity to create a vision and plan for ameliorating their own lives in their own language.  Never has there been a personal journal produced solely for Black boys and men.  Through this journal, they are provided with space to express their thoughts on a range of issues and respond to essential questions.  Powerful quotations from accomplished Black men have been carefully selected and masterfully deployed by Brandon Frame to inspire critical thought.

An extensive body of empirical research has evinced that Black male students throughout the educational pipeline academically underperform all students.  In the face of this reality, tools must be available to militate against the factors that contribute to Black male academic underachievement.  Define Yourself, Redefine the World: A Guided Journal for Black Boys and Men is one of those innovative and valuable resources we need to help Black boys and men to progress academically, professionally, socially and personally.  The issues and questions they will confront in the journal offer them opportunities to face what they must do to make a significant change in their lives.

Too many Black boys and men are allowed to read and internalize negative narratives about themselves—primarily verbal and written narratives from Whites who do not wish them well.  Harper (2009) contends that Black males must have the opportunity to tell their own narratives in their own voices to offer meaningful and necessary counternarratives to the dominant extant narratives about them—the dominant narratives about them are mostly untrue, demeaning, and racist.  Through this journal, Frame empowers Black males with opportunities to write their counternarratives.

A growing body of professional literature demonstrates that mentoring Black male students leads to higher academic achievement and motivation.  Frame’s journal equips those who mentor with a resource that can be used to aid them in the process of transforming the lives of Black male students.  For those who mentor Black men, it gives them a tool to facilitate proper guidance and support.

Black fathers and sons now have a serious means through which to share and learn from one another.  I envision this journal helping to form Black male virtual and non-virtual communities and spaces where important ideas, challenges, problems, and solutions are discussed, shared, envisaged and implemented.  Additionally, I can see multifarious conferences and think tanks developing from those who read and use this journal.

I highly recommend this journal.  It can be purchased here: Purchase the Journal Here.  For only $15.00, you could save your own life and/or the life of a Black boy or man by buying this journal.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Revolutionary Paideia Seeks Nominations for the 2011 Black Weblog Awards

Dear Readers:

I would like to get your support to be nominated for Best New Blog, Best Writing in a Blog, Blog to Watch, Best Blog Post Series (“Black Men Masquerading”), and Best Culture Blog in the 2011 Black Weblog Awards competition. Click on the following to nominate me: Nominate Me! In a little over one year and one month, I have been able to amass well over 145,000 readers (and the readership is constantly increasing at astonishing levels). Most blogs could only dream about achieving this type of readership so soon. I have been able to gain such a large readership by not focusing on the number of comments that each blog post can get, but concentrating on producing quality material each time I publish a piece. I never pen an article here at Revolutionary Paideia that does not provoke serious thought. However, this is a site where we have fun too.

Revolutionary Paideia is a special blog because it does not make an effort to be this kind of blog or that kind of blog—it simply is a blog that promotes ideas that have significance for African-Americans and the world. When you arrive at Revolutionary Paideia, you are not going to see all of the frivolous stuff that you see on many other blogs, including many of the Black bloggers’ blogs I’m competing against. You will come away from this blog with some substance, even when some of the posts are just having fun. We all like fun, right?

Although I know that many of my very passionate readers will want to nominate me for every category, I request that you don’t nominate me for every category because Black Weblog Awards will discard your ballot. I’m focused on winning the following categories: Best New Blog, Best Writing in a Blog, Blog to Watch, Best Blog Post Series (“Black Men Masquerading”), and Best Culture Blog. With well over 145,000 readers in just a little over one year and one month of blogging, I think this says something special about this blog and qualifies it to be Best New Blog and Blog to Watch.

I truly believe that the writing at Revolutionary Paideia is far superior to the writing of any other blog. To be fair, most other bloggers don’t have the advanced training in English that I have and are not university English Instructors as I am. The reality is, however, that my writing is simply far superior than the rest of the bloggers out there. This may sound arrogant but I’ve never ran away from the label of arrogant. If you don’t believe I have the best writing in the blogosphere, simply go click on any other blog and compare the writing to my writing. If you don’t agree that my writing is better, then don’t vote for me in this category. However, if you come to the conclusion that my writing certainly deserves Best Writing in a Blog, then take a moment and nominate me for Best Writing in a Blog.  

I deserve to win Best Culture Blog because of the quality and range of cultural issues that my blog has tackled. I have not been afraid to grapple with any cultural issue and have not approached cultural issues from the perspective of pleasing people either. We have too many bloggers out there who are writing just to receive a “cyber high five” from their readers. Revolutionary Paideia is not here to make you feel cozy—it’s here to unsettle, unnerve, and unhouse you.

Tell everyone you know to vote for me in the aforementioned categories. Let’s win these awards and show people that we can win them by being substantive. Let’s continue to shake things up! I appreciate your support and thank you for your vote.

Best,

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Revolutionary Paideia October 2010 Person of the Month: Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry

Each month, Revolutionary Paideia awards a Person of the Month to someone embodying the unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing spirit that founded this blog. By winning the Person of the Month, an individual is not precluded from winning the Person of the Year award. It is with great pleasure that Revolutionary Paideia names Tyler Perry as The Revolutionary Paideia October 2010 Person of the Month. Tyler Perry’s willingness to tackle taboo topics in the African-American community has unsettled, unnerved, and unhoused many African-Americans who have wished to bury serious discourses about issues like homosexuality that too often make many Blacks very uncomfortable. Revolutionary Paideia is proud of Tyler Perry for going public about being molested as a child by both men and a woman. I believe many Black men will now gain the courage to speak about how they have been victimized by people who have molested them as a result of Tyler Perry speaking out on this issue. America needs to engage more with serious discussions about molestation, especially African-Americans. African-Americans often want to push the issue of molestation under the rug because of the shame attached to it.

Tyler Perry has a truly moving and uniquely American story. His story is one that proves that if you are willing to fight against great challenges in your life, no matter how disquieting they may be, you can be successful in America. This Black man has been tremendously successful in a White-dominated Hollywood. People told Tyler that his style of films would never make it in Hollywood because they are too deeply connected to the Black Church and to religion in general. His critics could not have been more wrong. This year he is the second highest earner in Hollywood.

One thing that I appreciate most about Tyler Perry is his unwillingness to compromise his personal relationship with God for Hollywood’s money. Today, he has been so successful with his television show, plays, and films. In all that he has done, he has never allowed himself to get bigger than the God who put him in the position he is in today. He allows the African-American presence to be depicted in such a positive and comprehensive way in Hollywood than was previously available.

Although there are many people who do not like Perry’s style, he has refused to change his style to pacify his detractors. I have heard some horrible criticism waged against him. Spike Lee has been one of most unfair critics, but Spike Lee is just hating on Perry because he has never experienced the level of success, including financial success, that Perry has experienced. Spike Lee simply needs to step his game up. Tyler Perry’s films help to reveal some truths about Black people that Spike Lee has not been willing to explore in his work. Therefore, Mr. Spike Lee, we need Tyler Perry to do what you lack the testicular fortitude to do.

Again, it is a pleasure to name Tyler Perry as The Revolutionary Paideia October 2010 Person of the Month. Revolutionary Paideia proudly endorses Tyler Perry and his excellent body of work.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

Black Bloggers Unite!

In general, I think more bloggers should engage in collaborative efforts, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation, and etc. Those aforementioned things, however, can be used as vehicles for collaboration. I contend that African-American bloggers need to increase their influence in the blogosphere by joining forces through collaborative blogs, guest blogging, visiting one another’s blogs regularly (not every now and then), comment on one another’s blogs regularly (not every now and then), find mediums like Twitter, Facebook, email, telephone, and etc. to discuss blog posts ideas and future directions for one another’s blogs, and etc. Now, this is not an effort to try to increase my own readership, especially since I will soon be well over 100,000 readers in just my first year of blogging, I just want African-Americans to have a greater influence in the blogosphere.

Many Black people have a problem with sharing and helping one another. It seems like many African-Americans are concerned about not letting others outdo them, which ends up causing us to divide and conquer ourselves without any person to blame for this but ourselves. In my little over 6 months of blogging, I have had the pleasure to read the writing of some tremendously talented Black writers like The Realest Dude in the Room (http://realestdudeintheroom.com), I Likes It Raw (http://ilikesitraw.com), Uptown Notes (http://www.uptownnotes.com), New Black Man (http://newblackman.blogspot.com), The Black Sphere (http://theblacksphere.net), Pampered Sweet Tooth (http://pamperedsweettooth.blogspot.com), and many more. These previously mentioned Black bloggers provide a diverse range of topics, interests, ideas, and approaches that represent some of the best of what Black bloggers have to offer.

Unfortunately, Black bloggers are not as organized and collaborative as White bloggers, which results in much our talent not being given the recognition, focus, and attention it merits. It is up to Black bloggers to change this problem. No one is going to take us more seriously until we start taking ourselves more seriously. When you visit the aforementioned bloggers, you have an opportunity to see why Black bloggers need to be more visible and heard. For those who say that Black males are not doing anything but getting into trouble, I would like you to know that all of the aforementioned Black bloggers except for one are Black males.

One of the ways in which we can work to remedy this problem is by encouraging more Blacks to start blogging. Without a doubt, most African-Americans have something valuable to offer and say to America, so we need to encourage them to begin blogging immediately. Blogging gives them a free opportunity to get their voice acknowledged nationally and internationally. If anyone needs assistance with starting a free blog, then just contact me and I will help you to get started.

In closing, I just want to say that Black bloggers need to find ways to collaborate to increase our readership and impact in the blogosphere. I am not for us simply carving out our own “Black space” within the blogosphere, but I am for us having much more significance and power in the blogosphere. I hope that Black bloggers will soon unite!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Thankful for Oprah Winfrey

English: Oprah Winfrey when she was with Barac...

Although there is a tremendous amount of negativity everywhere about Oprah Winfrey, I decided to take a few moments and compose some thoughts about this great woman with a beautiful spirit. It seems like everyone has some kind of opinion about Oprah. I have one also but elect to have a positive opinion about her. Regardless of whether you like her or not, her “rags to riches” story represents the quintessential American success narrative. Oprah makes me proud each time that I see her. Her life informs us that miracles can happen and that one can overcome experiencing severe traumas.

When some African-Americans say that Oprah is not a “real Black woman,” it makes me so angry because they overlook the meaningful contributions she has made to Black people, including giving millions of dollars to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and the reality that she played a significant role in the election of Barack Obama, the first Black President of the U.S. NAACP put her in its Hall of Fame. I listen to her acceptance speech of the NAACP Hall of Fame award every morning before I leave home. It’s so inspiring. If you have not listened to it, then you should search for it on YouTube. You will be so glad that you did. To the Black people who question Oprah’s authenticity, please stop this and recognize the love this woman has for Black people and everyone else too.

I love how Oprah has become more and more open about her personal relationship with Jesus. On her shows, she will not hesitate to mention how much she loves Jesus or to suggest Jesus as a means of helping people to deal with difficult issues and problems. I really appreciate her transparency about her love of Jesus on and off of her show. Her love of Jesus is one of the fundamental reasons why she has been successful. This love of Jesus is evident through her tremendously giving spirit. She is not a billionaire who keeps all of her money to herself—she shares her money with others in a meaningful way. Oprah, you will be continuously blessed for giving to people so freely as you do.

When people say that Oprah and Gayle, her bestfriend, are involved in a lesbian relationship, it makes me angry. Calling Oprah a lesbian just because she has a true friendship with Gayle suggests that such a relationship can only emerge from a sexually intimate relationship. This is such limited thinking. Although this is such limited thinking, many people engage in this limited thinking when it comes to Oprah’s friendship with Gayle. Grow up people! Move beyond the superficial and move toward the substantial. The haters of the true friendship Oprah has with Gayle simply long to have a friendship like the one they have.

Oprah deserves your support and appreciation for the great things she has done for so many people. Today, Oprah, I salute you for being a great American and electing to be such a compassionate woman. I look forward to the many great things you will do in the future.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

White Seattle Cop Viciously Punches Black Woman in the Face

Police Brutality

For those who know me truly well, they know that I am not a person who “plays the race card” or who simply sides with racial and ethnic minorities because I am African-American. In fact, on many issues, I have been and am at odds with what many of my fellow African-Americans believe. Although I had originally planned to post an article that I have been working on for some time now (on a less serious topic), the White male cop in Seattle who viciously punched a 19 year old African-American female in the face compelled me to offer an immediate response.

I am quite unsettled by the reality that a White Seattle cop used a vicious punch to the face of a 19 year old African-American female simply because she lightly put her hands on his hands to step between the argument between him and the other 17 year old African-American female. Both of the females were jaywalking and the cop was trying to give them both tickets. While I think that the cop was well within in his right to give both of the females tickets for jaywalking, I contend that he unnecessarily employed excessive force. Neither of the African-American females posed an imminent threat to him. From my perspective, he simply did not like what the females were saying to him and did not like the fact that the 19 year old Black female lightly touched him.

The Black female never should have lightly put her hands on his hands, but this light placement of her hands on his hands did not warrant the use of excessive force. He could have removed her hands without using such great force. As a Criminal Justice minor during my undergraduate studies, I gained a firm understanding of criminal law, especially concerning policing. I have, therefore, a serious understanding about the fact that police officers have discretion (what is called “police discretion”). Police discretion does not allow a police officer to resort to an abuse of his power. An example of an abuse of police power is an unnecessary use of force. The police officer launched himself to ensure that he was punching the young lady with all of his power. All of this force for an unarmed 19 year old Black female? Really? On a street named after Martin Luther King, Jr.? Are you kidding me?

A Seattle police spokesman stated that the police officer acted within his discretion and disclosed that it’s up to an individual officer when to use excessive force. The police department has not punished the officer in any way at this moment. The department has required the officer to review training guidelines to see if improvement can be made. I’m certainly glad to see that the police department is having him to review training guidelines to see if he could improve his performance, but this is simply not all that the department needs to do to address this police officer. The department needs to fire this man for his unprofessional behavior and abuse of power. This is not the first time that Seattle police officers have unnecessarily brutalized a Black woman. They have brutalized Black women and men in the past.  A pattern has conspicuously evolved.

This evolution of police brutality causes me to think that racism was an important factor in how the White police officer handled himself. A Seattle police spokesman claims that the officer became increasingly fearful of his safety as he was handling this issue on his own and there was a crowd of people around. The officer claims that this could have been a tragedy. The spokesman is right about one thing: this was a tragedy. What is tragic about this event is an unarmed Black female was viciously punched by a White police officer. How’s that for tragedy? The only thing that I can see that motivated this cop to react in the way he did is a deep gut bucket Mississippi Jim Crowism mentality. As I watched his face and his delivery of the punch, the punish itself seemed to communicate one word for me: Nigger! Let me be clear—I never heard him say that word, but his actions communicated that he was calling her that name.

Black women are twice a minority: Black and female. Sexism played a significant role in this matter because it seemed to me that he wanted to put her in a woman’s place, a Black woman’s place (in his mind): on her back. This punch evinced a true disregard for the Black woman’s body. When looking at this punch from a gender perspective, I also see that the punched communicated this message to the woman: filthy Black whore. This could explain why he did not want her touching him—no matter how light of a touching it was.

I urge the Seattle police department to fire this White police officer, Ian Walsh, and to develop a comprehensive plan to significantly diminish the chances of an incident like this from occurring again. Moreover, I urge all people who have been unsettled and unnerved by this incident to make sure that justice is served in this case. We have to remember what justice really is. Justice is what love looks like in public.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Introducing Me and My Blog’s Purpose

Hello, All:

My name is Antonio Maurice Daniels, Ph.D. student and Research Associate in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My primary research interests are African-American male college student-athletes, African-American male students throughout the educational pipeline, and ecological sustainability in higher and postsecondary education.

For my first blog, I wanted to start with explaining the purpose of my blog. The purpose of my blog is to serve as an extension of my purpose in life: to unsettle, unnerve, and unhouse. This blog will be a venue for sharing information and ideas. If you are looking for discussions about serious issues, this will certainly be a place where you will be quite satisfied. I look forward to engaging with you on a constellation of diverse topics.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison