Courage

Disturb the Phony Peace

Disturb Peace

(Photo Credit: Master File)

To be a free black man, it’s a beautiful thing. When you don’t mind exposing false notions of peace, it’s a beautiful thing. Unfortunately, not enough people truly embrace their liberty—they’d rather maintain their status as docile, milquetoast, sycophants for individuals who enjoy dominating their lives. One of the core reasons why our nation is in such bad shape right now is we’ve failed to engage in bold, frank discourses in many spaces. Why maintain a phony idea of peace? Why not disturb disingenuous ideas about peace?

Just to keep people happy around them, too many folks will allow themselves to grow more and more miserable. When you have authentic disagreements about something or several phenomena with people in various spaces, let your candid views be heard. Don’t allow anyone to silence you; don’t be afraid of anyone. Yes, they will say, “you’re sowing seeds of discord,” “bitter,” “disgruntled,” “wicked,” “unsaved,” “sad,” “depressed,” “angry,” “holding grudges,” and etc. You, however, must not permit their distractions to prevent you from freely expressing your thoughts that have the potential to engender the change needed.

Any organizational leaders contending that their organizations don’t have any divisions in them are promoting lies and communicating a message that intellectual diversity, a diversity of ideas, is not welcomed. Expose this. Disturb this false peace.

Most clear-thinking people love freedom. Why is it, though, that many of those same people are often willing to surrender their freedom for the sake of an artificial peace?

Muster the courage to speak truth; speak truth to power.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Dr. Cornel West’s Courage Should Make You Proud

Dr. Cornel West

(Photo Credit: MTV)

Too many milquetoast Americans, especially Blacks, lack the courage to offer a substantive critique of President Obama.  With the national unemployment rate for Black people being 13.5%, one would think that more Blacks would be propounding their criticisms of President Obama’s poor record of creating jobs.  In many predominantly Black cities across the country, Black unemployment is twice as high as it is nationally.  Although one may not always agree with Dr. Cornel West, former distinguished professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and now Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary, one has to be proud of the courage he shows in his passionate criticisms of President Obama and his policies.

Dr. West’s accomplishments, brilliance, and academic work will forever make him one of the most important persons in American history.  He’s one of the greatest minds in world history.  Dr. West is one of the leading public intellectuals of our time.  As a responsible and effective public intellectual, Dr. Cornel West understands that he has a duty to speak truth to power.  He’s never been afraid to say and do things that might unsettle, unnerve, and unhouse people.

While many question the motivations of his vehement criticisms of Obama, the focus should be more on engaging in a discourse about the criticisms he proffers.  People who don’t want to enter into a conversation about his potent critiques of Obama simply desire to dismiss him as being bitter because Obama didn’t invite him to his first inauguration or first inaugural ball.  Well, after sponsoring and attending over 75 campaign events—many were located in brutally cold places—for President Obama, one would like to think that Dr. West would’ve received an invitation.  Dr. West has repeatedly stated that he’s not bothered by such an inane matter as not receiving an invitation.

One has to be proud of him for mustering the courage to take on some of the prominent liberals that have been given platforms by MSNBC to advocate for President Obama.  Dr. West asserts that MSNBC is a “rent-a-negro” network; that is, a liberal network that gives Black faces (e.g. Al Sharpton and Dr. Melissa Harris Perry) their own shows and/or allows them to make frequent appearances on other people’s shows in exchange for their puppy-dog loyalty to President Obama.  One person who is a stanch liberal and who has been friends with Dr. Cornel West is Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.  Dr. Dyson appears regularly on MSNBC and is a strong supporter and defender of Obama.  Dr. West contends that Dr. Dyson has “sold his soul for a mess of Obama pottage.”  Before Dr. Dyson became a frequent contributor on MSNBC, he was willing to critique Obama.  Now, he cannot find enough ways to praise Obama.

Dr. Cornel West’s record reflects a serious commitment to racial minorities, working people, and the poor.  He will not allow himself to be placed on the market for sale, as others have done for Obama.  West hasn’t let his black skin prevent him from criticizing President Obama appropriately.  Dr. West gives President Obama credit when he deserves it, but he’s never afraid to hold him accountable for horrible policy choices and his inattentiveness to the needs of poor and working people.

Dr. West has been on a “Poverty Tour” across the nation raising attention and support for the needs of the poor.  The poor is the only group in America without lobbyists in Washington, D.C.  West hopes to make the poor visible to President Obama and America.  His work to ameliorate the lives of poor people in America should be applauded and supported.

It’s not popular to be Black and say things in opposition to President Obama, but Dr. Cornel West isn’t willing to submit to the pressure of staying popular.  He’s working to hold President Obama, a man who has tremendous power, accountable to all Americans, especially the most vulnerable people in America: the poor.  For this, he should make us all proud.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Be Yourself and Be at Home

Home is the metaphysical and built environment that surrounds you and that you reside in. Home can be real and imagined places and spaces. It can be a mental state that you go into to find assurance, refuge, and peace. Oftentimes, the houses that people pay so much for are not their homes. The dominant reason for this is they have not allowed themselves to construct a meaningful notion or notions of home. A house will not just automatically be a home. This is also true about being at home in your personal life. It will not be until you embrace being yourself that you will find your home. Far too many people are living lives that are not the lives that they want to live because they are uncomfortable with engendering ideas of home that challenge the status quo. Many people lack the courage to create a notion of home that would offer an alternative to the phony notion(s) of home that they currently enact and employ. At the end of the day, people must understand that they will never find a true home until they are willing to love being themselves—their true selves. In The Principle of Hope, Ernst Bloch refers to “a homeland of identity” in discussing the idea of utopia. I contend that you can find your “homeland of identity” when you are willing to be yourself.

Never allow yourself to have low self-esteem. You should feel proud of yourself—there’s no one like you. Recognize your value. You must be willing to live your own life and not the life that your mother, father, friends, and/or society expects and demands you to live. You will never be at home when you live the life that others want you to live.

Although I know it’s cliché to say that home is where the heart is, it is really true that you will find your home when you are courageous enough to live like your heart wants you to live. It will take true courage, however. Unfortunately, I don’t know too many people who I’m around or too many people that I’m not around who are willing to simply be themselves. Most of the people who I’m around are living the lives that their parents want them to live and that society’s traditional expectations for them induce them to live. Most of them lack the courage to dream a different possibility for their lives. Most of them lack the courage to live a life that is truly representative of who they want to be.

When you start seriously contemplating about what home is, you will be truly unsettled, unnerved, and unhoused. The reason for this is you will be forced to think about the various falsehoods in your life and how much time, energy, and effort you invest in trying to make them appear as real. You can always tell those folk who don’t have a home—they are always uptight, always performing, always masking, always seeking attention, always being inauthentic, always uncomfortable, always getting on the bandwagon, always trying to show people how they are just like them, and etc.

You will be homeless when you elect to live a life that is fusions of multiple identities that are truly alien to the identity you truly long to embrace, but lack the courage to embrace it.

Under all that skin, who are you really? Behind all of that performing, who are you really? Taking away all those falsehoods, who are you really? The world needs to know who you really are. Why is it that you feel that you must perform for your public audiences when you really want to act like you do with your private audiences? I contend that most people are not living but are just performing.

The people who matter and who have mattered have been those folk who have been able to muster the courage to be themselves. When you are not willing to be yourself, you will wonder lost without a home. When you are not willing to be yourself, you will constantly be at war with yourself. It will appear that you are actually fighting with your own body. Life has to be so miserable living a life that others want you to live and not the life you want to live.

Find true happiness. Find yourself. Find your homeland of identity. Find home.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

If We Must Die: Winning the War against Your Enemies

When people have declared a personal and professional war against you, you must understand that you will need to counterpunch. Counterpunching is not being dirty. Counterpunching is necessary if you are not going to let your enemies defeat you. One of the things that I have learned most about defeating those who have attempted to destroy me personally and professionally is you have to always keep them off-balanced. Never allow them to be able to anticipate you. You also have to be careful about what you say around even your closest family members and friends. Your enemies do not need to be able to use deceitful strategies to manipulate your family members and close friends into providing them with information that might give them some insights about you so that they can use the data for evil purposes. To win the war, you might have to distance yourself from some of your close family members and friends.

Although you may not always want to, it is important for you to be patient when you have a number of enemies attempting to cause you trouble. You may not want to consider yourself being in a war, but you are really in a war. When you are in a war, it’s okay if you have to lose some battles, even if you have to lose some significant battles. The chief goal you should have is to never lose the war. I’d rather lose a battle or some battles than lose a war. In war, there will be casualties so you are going to have to be ready to deal with that reality. Even if you did not start the war, as is often the case, you must come fully prepared to tackle the war you are facing. When people are making conscious and concerted efforts to destroy you personally and professionally, you have to fight back. Sometimes you just got to rise up! We are Americans and Americans fight! Don’t simply let people try to do great harm to you without fighting vehemently back.

In a famous poem, “If We Must Die,” composed by Claude McKay, the poem argues for those who are fighting against strong people and forces to fight back, even if they are too great to defeat. The poem posits that the least you can do is fight your enemies back with all you have.

When your enemies lie about you, you don’t have to worry about correcting the record about each lie they tell about you. Correct the record about the most egregious lies they tell about you. Don’t be afraid to be an Army of One if you have to. If you have people you can trust to be on your team, then allow them to be on your team. You will need to make sure, however, that the people you allow to be on your team have a vested interest in you and/or the defeat of your enemies. Use the resources that you have to defeat your enemies and use any platforms you have to defeat your enemies. I am thankful that Revolutionary Paideia is a powerful platform that I have to fight against my enemies, and my Facebook page is also a pretty strong platform I have to fight against my enemies.

Therefore, if you have blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and etc. through which you have amassed large audiences, I greatly recommend that you employ these vehicles to help you to fight your enemies. These vehicles can prove to be highly valuable when you are fighting against enemies who are well-respected, highly paid, have large megaphones, and who can use deceit successfully against you. You will be surprised how once you get your true message out how many people will begin to support you. Don’t ever give up during the war against your enemies.

Never attack first but always be ready to counterpunch! You need to create a strategic plan to defeat your enemies. This plan should be written. Revisit it often, revise it when necessary, and follow through with it always. You need to be well-organized when you are fighting against powerful enemies and forces. Demonstrate to people why your enemies should not be believed and trusted. Use every legal measure at your disposal to defeat your enemies.

Ultimately, when you have your enemies down on the ground, stomp them! War is not pretty and war is not easy. You must always be ready for the unexpected. You have to outlast your enemies. You don’t have to have the money, respect, talent, and etc. that you’re enemies have, but you will need to be sophisticated enough, well-organized enough, and strategic enough to outlast them. I wish you all the best in your efforts to win your wars against your enemies!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Restoring Fairness in Hiring and Voting

Have you ever not been hired because of hearsay and/or an employer not giving you a chance to present all of the facts? Have you ever been voted out and/or not voted into an organization because of corruption, discrimination, unfairness, mismanagement, and/or illegal practices and policies? If so, you can become a meaningful part of the solution to unfairness in hiring and voting. You may think that the companies and organizations that are unfair in their hiring and voting decisions, practices, and policies are too powerful, but I want you to know that the law is on your side.

Whenever you feel that a company or organization has been unfair to you in terms of hiring or voting, you have to stand up to this unfairness. We can never end this unfairness if you are not willing to stand up to the companies and organizations responsible for it. If you are not willing to speak out against unfairness and discrimination, then I really don’t want to hear your private moaning and crying about experiencing them. People have to become more willing to take issues of unfairness and discrimination to court. One of the purposes for creating the American court system was for the people to have a remedy to combating unfairness, injustice, and discrimination.

I will stand with you against unfairness in hiring and voting if you are willing to muster the courage to stand up for yourself. It appears that I am going to have to take some people to court for their recent unfairness and discrimination against me. You can bet that I’m going to fight and win too!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison