Authenticity

Expose Fake Justice Activism

Photo Credit: UC Santa Barbara

Much to my dismay, I often find the most visible and vociferous voices advocating for justice on social media are inauthentic and milquetoast voices. These folks are primarily interested in people clapping for them and amassing the most “likes,” “loves,” and retweets on social media. While they’re known for employing fiery, robust rhetoric, they refuse to speak truth to power to racists and White supremacists, including to those who employ them. Many of these disingenuous justice activists pose as radicals but are unwilling to embrace and engage in radical praxis and politics.

To embrace and engage in radical praxis and politics necessitates alacrity for risking something valuable for the cause of justice, including losing one’s employment. If you’re unwilling to risk losing your job or career for the cause of justice, then your justice activism is a farce—it’s ultimately about self-promotion, self-aggrandizement.

Those of us truly committed to authentic justice activism and radical praxis and politics need to be just as visible and vociferous in our critique of their ersatz activism. This phony justice activism threatens true justice activism, fooling many that it’s real and needs replicating. As someone who has taught English at the middle and high school and university levels for over twenty years, I love the power of words, the gift of language. To realize radical transformation in America, to see racial, social, economic, educational justice materialize, we need more genuine radical activism, activism centering transformative actions—not self-indulgent, attention-seeking tweets and Facebook posts.

Real justice activists must expose those posing as justice activists on social media by asking them some important questions: (1) What have you risked for the cause of justice?, (2) What have you lost for the cause of justice?, and (3) What transformative actions have you taken and are taking for the cause of justice? These questions will unsettle and unnerve phonies, but, more importantly, these queries will unmask their vacuous messages.

Authenticity needs defending. When it’s not, truth becomes distorted, and we fall down a slippery slope of normalizing deceit.

As an increasing number of people are engaging in false justice activism, we must recognize they are enemies of justice. Although fake justice activists aren’t in the same camp as racists and White supremacists, they hinder meaningful progress in similar ways. The next time, therefore, you see a phony posing as a justice activist, expose him or her.

Call out those working in the interest of racism and White supremacy—even when they pretend their self-promoting social media messages further the cause of justice.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Let Your Blog Be What You Want It to Be

 

Black Man Writing

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with seeking and taking the advice of individuals about blogging, don’t let anyone place restrictive limitations on how you blog.  When you listen to advice given by successful bloggers, don’t take that advice as being a law.  You need to make sure the advice offered is appropriate to what you want to accomplish.  When you hear bloggers telling you that you have to limit your blog to a highly specialized niche, you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to do it.

I have read in various places that people have a problem with individuals who are willing to cover any topic on their blogs.  They argue that readers will not be able to define what type of blog one has when he or she writes about any topic of choice.  Additionally, they contend that search engines will not find the posts on the blogs of those individuals who write about a diverse range of topics instead of topics in a highly specialized niche.  Revolutionary Paideia proves them to be wrong.  Revolutionary Paideia is a cultural commentary blog providing articles on a constellation of sundry topics.  This blog does not simply focus on politics, relationships, sports, education, music, or etc.—it covers diverse topics on all those categories and many more.

Revolutionary Paideia was featured by WordPress as the second fastest growing blog.  For those successful bloggers who say not having a highly specialized niche will cause your posts to not be picked up well by search engines, my recent post “Open Letter to Todd Akin”  was picked up so well by the search engines that it reached Rebecca Hamilton of the Oklahoma state House of Representatives.  She also blogs and “liked” the aforementioned post on Revolutionary Paideia.

I mention those things about Revolutionary Paideia because it’s one of those blogs that’s not in a highly specialized niche.  In two and a half years of existence, Revolutionary Paideia has amassed well over 250,000 readers.  Therefore, the search engines are picking up the posts quite fine without a highly specialized niche.

Don’t let someone force you to create a relationships, politics, education, sports, music or news blog if that’s not what you want to do.  Never be afraid to go against the recommendations of successful bloggers.  They don’t have all of the answers.  If you have your own innovative ideas, they’re probably going to be best served by not following all of the suggestions of successful bloggers.  Instead of concentrating on a highly specialized niche, produce great content.  Great content will bring readers to your blog.

Some successful bloggers will try to persuade you into writing pieces that fit only into a highly specialized niche because they’re not talented enough write about a range of diverse topics.  Their recommendations for you to not pen pieces on a range of diverse topics emerge from their belief that “some people try to do too much on their blogs.”  Just because people are writing about diverse topics on their blogs does not mean they “try to do too much on their blogs.”

For many of these bloggers who attack people because they’re not able to simply define what type of blog people who write about a variety of topics have, I could attack them for not writing pieces that reflect the use of good grammar and punctuation and careful editing and proofreading.  However, I choose not to do it at this point.

If you’re going to be a blogger who has real value, then let your blog be a blog that reflects who you truly are and what you truly want to accomplish.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison