Falsehoods

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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Being Normal Means Being Yourself

Be Yourself(Photo Credit: Tumblr )

When being “normal” is defined as being yourself, then what could possibly be wrong with being normal?  Nothing!  The reason why I choose to define being normal as being yourself is you first learn how to be your normal self; that is, the person who you really are.  People in the postmodern epoch are fervently concerned with trying to be “different.”  Unfortunately, their efforts to try to be different cause them to become people alien to their authentic self.

In “What White Publishers Won’t Print,” Zora Neale Hurston writes, “Difference is misreading of sameness, but it must be represented in order to be erased.  The resistance to finding out that the other is the same springs out of the reluctance to admit that the same is other.”  Many people’s efforts to appear to be different take them away from realizing the full power and potential of being who they really are.  One shouldn’t feel compelled to attempt to be different—you’re already different when you’re born.  When you try to be different, you’re really just attempting to be like everyone else; you’re striving for societal and peer acceptance, which many believe it requires doing the same things others are doing to maintain their cool pose.

Dr. Cornel West says, “Too many young folk have addiction to superficial things and not enough conviction for substantial things like justice, truth and love.”  While Dr. West’s statement is profound without any modifications, I contend that it’s not only young people who “have an addiction to superficial things and not enough conviction for substantial things like justice, truth, and loves,” but also a tremendous number of adults embrace the superficial over the substantial.  Many grown 20 to 50 year old men and women are still uncomfortable being themselves, so they elect to adopt identities they feel society will adore.  These identities are masked by their pronouncements that they’re “different.”  They say they’re different to protect themselves from charges that they’re not being themselves.  If you genuinely desire to be different, then simply be who you are—do and say what comes natural.

Being normal is not being average.  Living a false image of being different is average; in fact, it’s below average.

Resist the postmodern American impulse to be who society says you have to be.  It’s okay to be who you are.  You will find that you will live a happier life when you make the choice to be who you really are.

Are you really able to tell someone who you really are?

There’s nothing wrong with improving yourself, but you should never deny yourself the opportunity to experience the true freedom to live life without limitations, borders and boundaries.

Be happy.  Be free.  Be you.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Value of Your Funk: Part Two

Funky Smells

In The Value of Your Funk: Part One, I defined “funk” to mean one’s imperfections, disappointments, vexing past, professional and academic inadequacies, physical shortcomings, mental imbalances, low self-esteem, failures, utter unhappiness, and all of the other things unpleasing to him or her.  For those who did not have a change to read Part One of this series, I encourage you to read it because we all are funky—always have been and always will be.  If you’re in a serious relationship with someone, you should not withhold important information about your past and present from him or her.  Your girlfriend or boyfriend deserves to know about things you have done in the past and things you’re doing now.

If in your past you have been considered “whorish” because you have had sex with numerous people, you should feel compelled to inform your partner about this.  Your partner deserves to know that you’ve had such an active sexual intercourse history.  He or she may not want to be with you after you disclose this information to him or her, but it’s only fair to let him or her know this.  One thing about your vexing past is details about it that you don’t want to come out can emerge at the most inopportune times.  It would, therefore, be useful for you to go ahead and engage in discourses with your girlfriend or boyfriend about things from your past that could negatively affect him or her or things you know he or she would not approve of if he or she knew about them.  You will set yourself up for failure later on in your relationship if you elect not to deal with troubling things from your past and present up front.

Don’t run away from your past!

Your past is an essential part of who you are and what you have and will become.  Details about your past help people to understand more about you, even if you’ve completely turned away from living a certain type of life.  People will honor how you have changed your life, reject you because of your past, or they may be indifferent but don’t try to hide your past.  Be yourself.  Be honest with people.  No matter what you attempt to do to cover up your funk, it’s inevitably going to rise to the surface.

In no way am I saying that you should share everything with your girlfriend or boyfriend.  It probably is not appropriate to share everything with anyone.  You should, however, share essential information with your girlfriend or boyfriend.

For those of you who have had sexual intercourse with members of the same sex, and you’re now in a solemn relationship with someone of the opposite sex, you have a responsibility to tell your girlfriend or boyfriend that you have had sex with members of the same sex.  You know this is something that is going to worry you for the rest of your life if you don’t reveal it to your mate.  You will always fear he or she is going to find out.  Why not let him or her know up front?  Go ahead and combat any consequences and/or challenges of exposing the truth from your past in the early stages of your relationship rather than later on in your relationship.  If you wait until later on in your relationship, you mate is probably not going to be able to forgive you and may never be able to trust you again.  You run the risk of making yourself even more miserable about your past.

Without question, Black men have the most difficult time divulging they are gay or bisexual.  Many Black bisexual men who are involved in meaningful relationships with women are too afraid to unveil they are bisexual or once were bisexual.  Your bisexual past and present is a critical dimension of your identity.  Why are you attempting to bury it or camouflage it?  You’re always going to be uncomfortable with yourself when you’re unwilling to deal critically with your funk.  Hiding who you truly are from people only results in you denying yourself from living a liberated and happy life.  Why withhold from yourself a chance at living a truly free and happy life?  Is pleasing your family, friends, and society that vital to you that you’re willing to surrender who you really are for them?

Stop living a lie.  Stop presenting yourself as heterosexual in public when you’re really gay in private.  Your public and private self will always be in conflict when you’re not willing to be honest with yourself and those around you.  Stop people pleasing and simply be yourself.  What’s wrong with being yourself?

Now, there are people who will claim they are themselves but are unwilling to live a life reflective of truly being themselves.  Being yourself takes more commitment than simply saying and writing it—it takes a willingness to face the backlash of those who overtly and subtly despise you because you’ve made the choice to be yourself.  You’re not being yourself when you do and say things just to please people and to prevent them from calling you names that will offend you.

If you’re not truly committed to being yourself, stop saying and writing “be yourself.”  You severely distort and damage the essential message of those of us who truly are ourselves.

An unwillingness to be yourself will inevitably not make you any good for yourself and your boyfriend or girlfriend.  Be a real man and real woman and face your funk.  Your funk is not going anywhere so don’t spend your entire life running from it.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

There’s Nothing Special About Phony People

When you are afraid to be who you are and never show people the real you, there’s nothing special about you.  Unfortunately, phony people try to pretend like they are living happy lives, and many of them want you to envy their false identities.  What’s to envy about living a phony life?  A life that’s not grounded in truth is a life that’s not worth living.  Phony people never have an opportunity to rest because they always have to put on a performance for an audience—that has to be an exhausting way to live.  What’s to envy about never being able to just relax and enjoy being yourself?  You shouldn’t count on people not discovering who you really are inevitably.

Although many people are fooled by the falsehoods of phony people, there are many people who can see right through those falsehoods.  What’s going to happen when there are moments that arrive in the future that don’t give you an opportunity to put on your falsehoods as quickly as one can put on makeup?  When you live a life that is a lie, you are not qualified and prepared to live the type of life you are currently trying to live.  When you are living a life that hides who you really are, the longer you live this type of life the deeper you move yourself into getting exposed in such an embarrassing way that you may never be able to recover from the shame associated with being exposed.

Far too often, individuals living a phony life assume that people who are living authentic lives are trying to expose them and hurt them intentionally.  Phony people will often assume that things people say and write are about them.  This results largely from the reality that phony people are never in a safe place, considering they always have to be concerned with being exposed.  What phony people need to realize is they shouldn’t feel shame about the things that they are attempting to cover up.  The things you are trying to conceal are things that are a part of you.  Have enough love for yourself to love all of the parts of your comprehensive composition.

In no way does this article advocate for people to tell everything about themselves to everyone—that would be unwise.  What this article does contend is you should not get up every morning having to plan out how you’re going to hide the aspects of your live you don’t want people to know about.  Phony people have to think about how they’re going to hide who they really are each morning even before they are able to think about taking a shower and brushing their teeth.  Now, why would someone want to be envious and jealous of this type of life that phony people live?

Dear phony people, you’re living a miserable life and no one wants to live a miserable life, so stop thinking that people are envious and jealous of you.  Envious and jealous of you for what reason or reasons?

Even when it may seem that you can gain a competitive edge by not being who you really are, resist this temptation.  Make up in your mind that you’re going to be yourself no matter what other people think.  You will have an easier life when you decide to be who you naturally are.  Live the life you want to live and not the life you feel you need to live to please other people.  When you resolve to be who you are, say what you want to say, and do what you want to do, you are going to receive some serious criticism and resistance.  Don’t let this criticism and resistance keep you from enjoying who you genuinely are.  Live free.  Be yourself.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Put Praise in Its Proper Context to Avoid Delusions

When people are not accustomed to receiving praise, they can become prime candidates to allow praise to fool them into “acting brand new.” Okay, a person can be excused for “acting brand new” for as long as two weeks, but any longer than that he or she starts to drift into a delusional state. Let’s admit it—we all love praise. Praise makes us all feel good and gives us assurance that we’re doing something right. There’s nothing wrong with embracing, receiving, and enjoying praise. However, don’t let praise change who you are. Don’t let praise fool you!

Now, just because a small group of people have told you that you do something well, and you have never received any larger praise from outside of this small group about what they claim you do well, then you certainly shouldn’t let what they say go to your head. You don’t become an expert or a star in a certain area just because a small group of people give you high praise. Sorry to tell you. The initial praise you receive for something should cause you to work passionately on ameliorating and progressing in this area. You should not think that a small amount of praise you get should ascend you to stardom.

Unfortunately, some people will take praise from a small group of people and become super arrogant and actually fool themselves that they are even greater than the praise they received. Stop for one moment. Think about the people who gave you the praise. Look at them. What are their qualifications to give you praise in the area they did? Are there any discernable motivations for granting the praise that is really not about the praise, but more about serving their own selfish interests? Before you go ahead and act like you are great in the area you received high praise in, you should at least wait until you have gained praise from a much large number of people. This piece is not trying to argue that you need to seek other people’s approval, but if you have truly mastered something, you will earn more praise than from a small group of people.

Some people will take praise from a small group of people and start living a lifestyle that they know is not true—they just know that the small group of people they hang around will continue to feed into this false lifestyle by continuing to validate them with praise.

When you know you have much more things to work on in the area that you are praised in, don’t let praise keep you from improving in this area. Just because you have never been the center of attention before, and you finally meet a small group of people who give you high praise, don’t think that this high praise you get represents truth. Praise is not always truth. Praise is often encouragement, encouragement for you to keep trying, improving, and progressing.

People with low self-esteem will hide behind the high praise of a small group of people and will never want to encounter a larger group of people to be examined by it. Some people know that the high praise that they are receiving from a small group of people is not true, but they still keep acting like it’s not true. Is this the type of praise you need to continue to endure life? Hope not. This type of praise can cause you to live a lie. Praise that is not grounded in truth will not benefit you in the end.

Praise is good when you know what to do with it. Although you may be receiving praise from a small group of people or even a large number of people, you need to link that praise to an internal truth. If you know that the praise people are giving you is not true, work on improving in this area. Don’t fake it until you make it. Faking it until you make it is living a lie–that’s not truly being yourself!

Using praise from a small group of people to create a false reality about yourself is not simply “acting brand new,” it means you are consumed with delusions—a psychological illness. Don’t rush praise into something that it’s not.

Some people will take praise from a small group of people and think they are better than everybody else. For those who intentionally do this, may God help you soon—you are simply delusional. Don’t let people and praise fool you. Know thyself. Be thyself .

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Facebook is Becoming Fakebook

Are you really who you portray yourself to be on Facebook? Facebook is increasingly becoming a space where people are living out their dreams of being the people who they never can be in reality. On Facebook, one can become the superstar who he or she never could be in life off of Facebook. This social media network allows you to have many moments of fame through the composing of statuses that will get you all of the attention you long for. When you log off of Facebook and return to your broke economic and social realities, the fame you have on Facebook does not fulfill you. If you really want to know whether or not you are living a miserable life, I can tell you that you are living a miserable life if you get satisfaction from the attention your falsehoods get you on Facebook.

On Facebook, you get to see the most fake thugs! You know, the folks who talk about what all they will and are going to do to people and then when you see them in person they reveal themselves to be the true scary and phony people they really are. Stop talking all of this junk on Facebook that you cannot back up in person. Stop trying to deceive people through your statuses on Facebook. Stop trying to use your “relationship status” to fool people. These invisible (fake) relationships that people are in, as indicated by their statuses, really would be funny if these were not grown folk carrying on non-existent relationships.

Facebook allows people who are homosexual or lesbian and who want to hide it to do so. All you have to do on Facebook to fool people that you are not gay or lesbian is to talk about the opposite sex all the time, and what you will do to the opposite sex all the time. Make sure you have “in a relationship” in the designated location on your profile and make sure that you have the opposite sex listed on your profile in the “interested in” location on your profile.

Okay, if you want to be successful on Facebook in acting like you are a true Christian, all you have to do is talk about God all the time through your statuses, post scriptures periodically, and make sure you use Sundays as days when you really get all holy through your statuses.

People also post pictures on Facebook to try to manufacture a false image about themselves. If you want to be viewed as heterosexual and you’re not, just post pictures of yourself surrounded by members of the opposite sex. If you want to trick people into thinking that you are a thug, post pictures that show you smoking weed, drunk, and throwing up gang signs on tricked out cars.

Another way that you can falsely present yourself as a thug on Facebook is to intentionally write like you don’t have any understanding of proper grammar, spelling, and usage. Here’s an example: “Fam, I ben gon let yall no dat we gon b at da crib 2nite so holla atcha boyz wen u get a minute. Aiite we n der!” Now, if you compose all of your statuses like that, you will be considered “hard” (a thug) and straight. So if you need to hide the fact that you are a scary punk and gay, then just write what you have to say in your statuses in the manner of the aforementioned example and you will be instantly a thug and straight.

I strongly encourage people to always be themselves, even when you are on Facebook. It really is okay to be yourself. You should not feel like you have to present a certain false image just to obtain the approval of others. The best you is the real you. In the Black Church, people love to say, “Don’t let the Devil use you.” I say, “Don’t let Facebook use you.” Let’s keep Facebook as the social networking site that it is. Let’s not turn it into a space that promulgates and proliferates falsehoods daily. We get to see many of you living those falsehoods off of Facebook—don’t let us have to be constantly reminded of your falsehoods while we are enjoying our experiences on this site too.

Do you really think that you are fooling people with these false images that you work so hard to communicate on Facebook? You may fool some people but you will not fool most people, especially clear thinking people.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Don’t Tell Me What to Say and Do on Facebook and Twitter

Freedom

(Photo credit: Chris Yarzab)

 

People have really gotten on my nerves with telling me and others about what they should and should not say and do on Facebook and Twitter. If you do not like what I say and do on Facebook and Twitter, then please simply remove yourself from being associated with me on Facebook and Twitter. I have even noticed that people who I have talked with in the past quite regularly no longer speak to me anymore because of the things I have said on Facebook and Twitter. For those of you who this refers to, I have a message for you: goodbye and take a hike! It is just really amazing how people do and say all kinds of wild things off of Facebook and Twitter, but they want to act like they are priests and evangelists when it comes to critiquing what other people say and do on Facebook and Twitter.

 

What I am really beginning to learn about why people have a problem with what other people tweet and post is they do not want what is said and done to reflect negatively on them. I am not saying that there are not people who authentically would not want you to be viewed in a negative way by what your status or tweet says.  What I would like for you to do, however, is to contemplate why an individual would want to try to prevent you from tweeting certain things and posting certain statuses.

 

In the empty Facebook status box, it asks, “What’s on your mind?” People should have the freedom to give an update to their Facebook friends about what’s on their minds. Twitter asks, “What’s happening?” People should, of course, have the liberty to give an update about “what’s happening?” Although I am sometimes unsettled by some of the shocking statements, lies, falsehoods, strange comments, and etc. promulgated on Facebook and Twitter, I never attempt to tell people that they need to stop posting things like that and/or need to take down their comments.

 

I long for a day when people will be more willing to allow others to be themselves. Additionally, I long for a day when people will be more willing to be themselves. It has to be a tremendously miserably life to live like others want you to live. To be honest, what’s valuable about a person who lives to be like what others want him or her to be? Nothing! What unique does that person have to offer? Nothing! Is this person really taking up space? Yes!

 

When you refuse to listen to what people who want to restrict your freedom have to say to you, then they will claim that you are simply stubborn and too prideful. They are right! I am unwilling to listen to any non-sense that makes an effort to tell me that I need to be like them or that would attempt to take away my personal liberties. To be frank, when you are worrying so much about what others post on Twitter and Facebook, then you really don’t have a life, are neglecting your own responsibilities, and have some deep self-esteem problems.

 

I encourage all those people who want to limit the freedoms of Facebook and Twitter users to remove themselves from Twitter and Facebook, or at least discontinue associating with people who are causing you such problems with what they say and do on Facebook and Twitter. If anything in this article offends you, then all I have to say is great! Please excuse me while I dust my shoulders off.

 

Antonio Maurice Daniels

 

University of Wisconsin-Madison