Freedom

Liberate Yourself from People Using You

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Post-Examiner

When you transition to living a life free from allowing folks to take advantage of you, it’s a liberating experience. It’s not about revenge against those individuals who have used you; it’s about giving yourself a chance to be, to live, to breathe. If you’re living a life where you’re constantly serving every beck and call of others, then it’s time to stop. In fact, it has been time for you to end such an unhealthy, unproductive lifestyle.

Recognize that people will continue to take advantage of you as long as you allow them. You must muster the will and courage to stop doing this to yourself. After all, those people who have used you could only do what you permitted.

Once you close the door to users ever being able to use you again, leave that door closed forever.

When you’ve truly given yourself an opportunity to live free from leeches, folks always with their hands out looking for what you can do for them, it’s time for you to celebrate. Celebrate what? Celebrate your newfound freedom, or the rediscovering of such freedom. You deserve it!

You don’t have to announce you’ve closed that door to those individuals forever. Let your actions inform them. When they see your actions speaking, they will see your new liberated self.

People will start to realize they need to give you something before you continue to pour into their lives. This new liberated self isn’t about embracing selfishness—it’s about granting yourself the right to experience personal equity and justice. One shouldn’t passionately fight for equity and justice for others and not extend that same equity and justice to herself or himself.

Yes, those who have used you will begin to make some of the following comments: “You’re acting funny now,” “You’re acting brand new now,” “You weren’t really for me in the first place,” and “You weren’t doing things for me out of the kindness of your heart; you were always looking for something in return.” That last comment really strives to make you feel guilty and compel you to return to a life of bondage.

Never taste the sweet nectar of freedom and then revert to bondage.

Fight for you; fight for your freedom.

If people who have only taken from you want something now, respond to them by inquiring about what they plan to do for you in exchange for what they desire. This dramatically changes the power dynamics: it moves you from being a pushover to the person who holds all the cards.

When you understand that you hold all the cards, you will exercise your power to thwart attempts to victimize you.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison   

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

Be Yourself: A Simple But Powerful Message

Enjoying Life

(Photo Credit: The Stress Relief Program)

Be yourself.  In the postmodern epoch, too many people in the United States and across the globe are focused on being “people-pleasers” and aren’t focused on simply being who they are.  When you exercise the freedom you have to be yourself, you open up a world of new possibilities for yourself.  People who don’t have the courage to be themselves are being dominated by the bondage of fear.  You can make a decision today to liberate yourself from the bondage of fear.  Fear arrests your development.

Never be afraid to chart your own course in life.  Don’t worry about not seeing a model of who you would like to become—be the person and change you desire to see.

It’s never too late to start living a life of true freedom.  You’re not really liberated until you make the decision to live your life on your own terms.

Give yourself the chance to be the best you.  This is only possible by releasing yourself from the pressure to be someone who you aren’t.

Live your best life.  Muster the courage to be yourself.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Commentary on “I, Too, Sing America” by Langston Hughes

English:

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

 

I, Too, Sing America

by Langston Hughes  

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

When company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.

Tomorrow,

I’ll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me,

“Eat in the kitchen,”

Then.

Besides,

They’ll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

Commentary on the Poem

In “I, Too, Sing America,” the poet challenges the racist ideology of Whites who don’t recognize the full citizenship of Blacks in America.  Black people have made tremendous contributions to America.  In fact, this nation, from its very inception, was built on Black labor.  Blacks have participated in every war in American history, dating back to the American Revolutionary War.  The patriotism of Blacks, therefore, shouldn’t ever be questioned.  The poet explains his brutal mistreatment simply because of his skin color.  He has trouble coming to terms with the racial oppression he faces.  It’s understandable for one to be baffled by the absurdity of racism and racist ideology.

The speaker of the poem is not ashamed of who he is.  He wishes that Whites wouldn’t be ashamed of him.  They have no reason to be ashamed of him, considering he’s “beautiful.”

When the poet refers to “Tomorrow,” he’s evincing his Utopian imagination: He’s envisioning a day when racist Whites will not have a choice but to grant him full equality and equal citizenship rights.  When this “Tomorrow” arrives, racists will have to acknowledge his beauty and they will experience shame.  The shame they will experience will emerge from how they have alienated themselves from the beauty of Black people without any justifiable reason.  They will see how this self-estrangement from Blacks has caused them to miss numerous possibilities.

As we celebrate Juneteenth today, let’s reflect on not only Black emancipation in America, but also how essential Blacks gaining freedom is to America becoming as great a nation it is today.

 Happy Juneteenth!  

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Championing the Concept of American Exceptionalism

American Exceptionalism

America is an exceptional nation.  In world history, there’s no nation that was founded in the way in which America was.  America is an idea.  This nation originated on the ideas of individual responsibility, civil liberties, equality, limited government, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the respect of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, a strong determination to always defend America against enemies foreign and domestic, and etc.  Unfortunately, there are far too many people, mainly in the Democratic Party, who want Americans to apologize for how exceptional America is.  The purpose of this piece is to offer an understanding of American exceptionalism and defend the support of American exceptionalism.

Those who support American exceptionalism contend that America was founded on a set of republican (“rule by the people and law”) ideals and not on a common heritage, ethnicity, and etc.  Because of the unique nature of America’s founding and its position in the world, America has a responsibility to empower other nations in the world to enjoy the benefits of freedom and the revolutionary spirit freedom engenders.  When people of countries across the world are trapped in dictatorial and tyrannical regimes, and they express a desire to seek solutions to these regimes, America’s uniqueness as the only superpower mandates that she helps those people find the solutions they need to gain the freedom they deserve.  The concept of American exceptionalism asserts that humankind’s rights come from God and not from the state or government.  The most innate right American exceptionalism argues is essential is the right of all human beings to be free.

America is in a position to aid those across the world to obtain the freedom they deserve to have that has been guaranteed by God.  Americans love their freedom.  They love the benefits and opportunities liberty enables them to enjoy.  Without question, America is an exceptional nation in terms of its founding, military, economy, education, and much more.

I have become troubled with how many in the Democratic Party do not want to acknowledge that America is an exceptional nation and the responsibilities and opportunities that accompany this reality.  American exceptionalism is not a malevolent concept—it’s reality.  Although some proponents of American exceptionalism concatenate it with the concept of Manifest Destiny, the majority of the proponents do not fuse this concept with American exceptionalism.  Based on some of the misinformation I have heard and read from Democrats about American exceptionalism, I thought it was important to draft a piece that would begin to counter the misinformation about American exceptionalism.

Let’s never deny that America is an exceptional nation!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Open Letter to the U.S. Military

Dear United States Military:

On this Memorial Day, I want to take a moment to thank all of you who defend our freedom each day.  I want to express my gratitude to the families and friends of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defending our nation.  The service and sacrifice of those who serve in uniform helps to keep America the exceptional country it is.  While you may not always receive the appreciation you deserve, I want you to know that there are millions of Americans, including myself, who think the world of you and wake up proud to be Americans.  You play a significant role in allowing us to enjoy living in the greatest beacon of hope, freedom, and opportunity in the world: America.

In closing, you all are truly superior Americans and heroes and heroines.  I understand that freedom is not free.  Thanks for all you do for America!

Sincerely,

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Don’t Be A Flip-Flop

It seems everywhere I go the only kind of people that I encounter and even can find to hang with are individuals who are striving to seek the path that is going to be most acceptable for those around them. These people are not willing to live a free life—one where they really do not care about what people say about them. Instead, they live a life of constant contradictions. One day they are this way and the next day they are this way. I am completely exhausted with people who live their lives saturated with contradictions. This article is aimed at exposing people who live their lives saturated with contradictions and to call people to stop living lives full of contradictions.

I define a “flip-flop” as a person who changes with the wind and goes in whatever direction the wind blows. A “flip-flop” is a person who does not have a mind of his or her own—this person is a fusion of multiple people, people who also do not have minds of their own. He or she says whatever is popular but does not really believe what is said. A flip-flop acts and speaks one way with you, changes up around another person, then changes again around another person, changes again around another person, and constantly changes each time he or she interacts with another person. I am so amazed at how many of these flip-floppers are able to even keep up with all of their identities and personas. It seems like being a flip-flop is a miserable life—constantly having to be on stage and perform for the various audiences one encounters throughout each day. All the covering up, posturing, posing, and masquerading seems like it makes these flip-floppers less and less relevant each day—almost to the point they are more valuable dead than taking up space on the earth.

I do not desire for people to be exactly like me—trust me, it’s impossible! What I do desire for people is for them to be authentic, love themselves, make a contribution to the world and earth that only they can make, and to refuse to be a cheap copy of anyone else. I want what is best for you and I know that what is best for you is to be yourself. Whatever would cause you to live a life of constant contradictions is not worth wasting your life over. You waste your life when you make a serious commitment to intentionally living a life of contradictions.

What becomes so problematic with flip-floppers is they jeopardize their relationships with the people who really love and care about them—those who choose not to flip-flop. Because flip-floppers often intentionally elect to do things to hurt their non-flip-flopping friends just to live their unauthentic lives, they threaten the continuation of meaningful, lasting, and true friendships. It is my hope that flip-floppers will understand that the other flip-floppers that they consider to be their friends are not really their friends. If you are living a flip-flopping life just to please other people, then you have willingly allowed yourself to be enslaved.

Flip-flopping makes people question your trustworthiness. When people lack faith in your ability to stay true to yourself, then they turn away from you and you will inevitability be on an island by yourself, even though you may be surrounded by numerous people. Those people who will remain around you are your fellow flip-floppers.

If you contend that you are not a flip-flopper, then why do you hide what you do? Why do you lie? Why do you say that you don’t care about what people say, but then get all mad when people make comments about you? Why do you have to go to such extremes to present an unauthentic identity? Why are you not grounded in truth? Why are you consumed with contradictions? Why do you live one way in the day and another way at night? Why do you profess to be a Christian, especially on Sundays, but do things on all other days that will cause you to bust Hell wide open? Why does life’s light winds blow you in so many directions? Why does the mirror reflect so many identities and personas? Why are you uncomfortable with yourself? Why are you always trying out new identities? Why are you always on stage?

Revolutionary Paideia is committed to the “Be Yourself Movement” it launched last month. This Movement is committed to helping people to appreciate their true selves and to living lives of authenticity—not lives of lies and contradictions. Don’t allow your life to become defined by lies and contradictions! Live a life of true meaning, true direction, and true originality. Live free or die!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison