Racism

American Exceptionalism Made Possible by Exceptional Africans

President Donald Trump

(Photo Credit: USA Today)

When President Donald J. Trump favors lily-white Norwegian immigrants over those abject, wretched, in his view, black African and Haitian immigrants, he exposes his historical amnesia and attempts at black historical erasure. When white invaders arrived in America to rob Native Americans of their land, and, unfortunately, were successful in this theft, they soon captured and forced many Africans to come to America as slaves.

Most foundational phenomena crucial to the evolution of American exceptionalism were developed by these Africans, including the White House, however. Essentially, most celebrated historical buildings were built by Africans. Africans built America, and the nation flourished through a slave economy, an economy based on the free or cheap labor of exceptional African slaves. White folks didn’t build America; exceptional Africans did.

Africans Gave Real Meaning to the Declaration of Independence and Constitution

Even the cherished Declaration of Independence and Constitution, penned and conceived by white men, failed to achieve their true power, beauty, and significance while Africans were enslaved—and even while official Jim Crow existed. It was African humanity, African resistance, African rebellion that gave authentic meaning to the eloquent words expressed in those aforementioned founding national documents.

Through African “fightback,” to quote one of the greatest minds in world history and leading public intellectual Dr. Cornel West, whites were compelled to begin putting those words into action, action for all people—regardless of race, regardless of skin color, regardless of national origin—although all the content of those documents have not fully materialized for all. Without Africans, though, the descendants of these white men who authored these documents likely would have never completely understood the beloved documents’ real power, import, and possibilities.

Africanizing American Exceptionalism

Yes, America is exceptional. What really makes America exceptional, though? Despite every effort to efface blackness, to deny the value of blackness, to discredit the beauty and brilliance of blackness, blackness still reigned and reigns supreme. Blackness will not and cannot be defeated. Blackness speaks to what’s possible: anything. Anything for those willing to believe in and fight for possibilities, for the Blochian Not-Yet, for the principle of hope. This is what makes America exceptional. This is the real essence of American exceptionalism.  

Conservative Republicans love to promote American exceptionalism, but the centrality of Africans to the genesis of this exceptionalism is almost never mentioned. If American exceptionalism is to continue to have any power, any allure, any gravity, then the Africanness of it, the real (and not imagined) “Africanist presence” in it, to quote the incomparable Nobel Prize Laureate Toni Morrison, must figure prominently in any discourse involving the concept.

President Trump’s racist comments about African nations and Haiti can cause conservative Republicans to lose any political efficacy in employing American exceptionalism in the future if they fail to resist him and fail to muster the moral and political courage to categorically denounce these abominable comments.

And, just a quick note on Haiti, it was the Haitian Revolution that demonstrated for blacks in America that liberation was possible. If you are a racist, a white supremacist, though, like President Trump, a pivotal historical moment in the black freedom struggle isn’t something you desire to know and remember.   

Conclusion

Instead of focusing on “Make America Great Again,” which her constant commitment to sin, to moral, social, economic, and political depravity has never permitted her to experience unadulterated greatness, let’s work on dismantling the vicious legacies of racism, white supremacy, discrimination, and injustice that persist to plague our nation.

“Make America Great Again” is coded language expressing nostalgia for the days when racism and white supremacy ruled, which, as one of the foremost cultural theorists Fredric Jameson contends, is, ironically, “nostalgia for the present.” We’ve never witnessed a day in America where “Make America Great Again” was not the ruling order, the ruling ideology.     

In short, American exceptionalism is the story of Africans ushering in the possibility of a nation and democracy as good as their promised.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

U.S. Cities With the Worst Record of Housing Discrimination

 

Downtown Atlanta

(Photo Credit: Thrillist)

 

While legislation and policies like the Fair Housing Act and the Housing and Community Development Act have criminalized housing discrimination, it is still a subtle but stark reality in today’s market. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that, on average, minority tenants are informed about 10% to 12% fewer units than white tenants. Furthermore, the homeownership rate is 30% higher for white Americans than black Americans. A report from the National Fair Housing Alliance found that about 1 in 5 formal complaints about housing discrimination are race-related. It is second only to disability-related claims, and the number of race-related claims is thought to be low because many incidents are not reported.

Tenant screening, whether systemic or subconscious, is a real issue that not only affects the ability for minorities to access housing but also has a market effect. With all other qualifications being equal, studies show that prospective minority tenants are shown fewer options than prospective white tenants. Based on a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report, the cities below have the worst track record when it comes to tenant screening-related metrics:

Detroit

7.3% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.23% fewer available units.

Atlanta

5.4% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.46% fewer available units.

Miami

2.3% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.11% fewer available units.

Houston

1.55% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.3% fewer available units.

Dallas

1.5% more white tenants than nonwhite tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.23% fewer available units.

New York

1.1% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.155% fewer available units.

Chicago

0.95% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.14% fewer available units.

Riverside

0.8% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.17% fewer available units.

Conclusion

Discrimination is an ugly thing, and recent years have seen more than their fair share. But there is reason to be optimistic! As more and more neighborhoods integrate and neighborhood bonds form across racial bounds, ties of understanding and acceptance will continue to be forged. It’s important that we engage each other with civility and understand our shared goals as we seek to further these conversations.

References

https://www.huduser.gov/portal/Publications/pdf/HUD-514_HDS2012.pdf

http://www.jdpalatine.com/services/tenant-screening/

http://time.com/money/4665272/mortgage-homeownership-racial-gap-discrimination-inequality/

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/12/business/economy/discrimination-in-housing-against-nonwhites-persists-quietly-us-study-finds.html

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Make Racism a Bankrupting Phenomenon: The Donald Sterling Case

Donald Sterling

(Photo Credit: Salon)

The odious, hurtful and racist comments uttered by Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, warranted the immediate action taken by the National Basketball Association (NBA).  NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling for life from the NBA. He cannot have any association with the Los Angeles Clippers and the NBA, and he’s not allowed to attend any NBA games.  Silver gave Sterling the highest fine possible, and Silver has vowed to do all that he can do to have Sterling voted out as owner of the Clippers.  The Clippers’ players have cleverly protested the hateful remarks of their racist owner, and several businesses and sponsors have withdrawn their associations with Sterling and the Clippers.  NBA fans and the American people in general have expressed their great outrage in response to the racist comments made by Sterling.  The collective response to the Sterling case offers a promising window of opportunity to move us closer to making those who choose to be racists suffer tremendous economic losses, bankrupting them if possible.

Donald Sterling is a horrible human being, and the things he said evince that he has a slave master mentality.  If Black people and other minorities are going to weaken the power of racism, then they must use a case like the Donald Sterling case in subversive ways to launch potent attacks on the enduring post-slavery racism and remaining vestiges of Jim Crow that are deep and powerful parts of the American political, economic and social system.  Without the collective outrage of minorities and Whites conveyed throughout the country in response to Sterling, the likelihood of Commissioner Silver rendering the decision he did yesterday would have been slim to none.  Although many people want to characterize the vociferous groundswell of national opposition to Sterling as insufficient, and many have harshly criticized the Clippers’ players for not doing enough to protest Sterling’s racism, these critics fail to see the strong utopian energies at work in the collective response to Sterling.  Before Mr. Silver’s decision, the collective response to Sterling was primarily communicated through words only.  The verbal outrage divulged by numerous Americans across the nation and NBA players, including the Clippers’ players, served robust and important functions: it made racism even less desirable and it placed intense pressure on Mr. Silver to reach the type of decision he did.

This collective outrage primarily communicated through words must transition to a collective language of resistance that then materializes into impactful collective action.

Those who highly oppose racism need to use Donald Sterling as a symbol of fear for current racists and those who will choose to be racists in the future about what can happen to them.  Although Donald Sterling will remain an incredibly rich man even if the NBA’s Board of Governors votes to force him to sell the Clippers, a resounding message will be disseminated to other racists: you may pay a prohibitive political, social and economic price for your racism that could inevitably lead you to being bankrupt.

NBA fans and the American people in general must place significant pressure on the NBA’s Board of Governors to mandate that Sterling sell the Clippers.  There must be a willingness by NBA fans to boycott NBA games, team and league sponsors and businesses that support the league and its teams if the Board of Governors does not vote out Sterling.  This message must be communicated to the Board of Governors in various ways, including through social media, television, radio, newspapers, letters, protest rallies across the nation, and etc.  The Clippers’ players need to involve themselves actively in influencing the decision of the Board of Governors.  Players from all other NBA teams and from across all teams in other sports need to demand that the Board of Governors vote out Sterling.  The members of the Board of Governors love money and NBA fans, as consumers, have to use their money as a weapon against the members of the Board of Governors and their strategic interests.

Again, Sterling will be a very rich man no matter what the members of the Board of Governors decide, considering he made a highly lucrative and clever investment in the Clippers and made many auspicious investments in the real estate industry.  The Board of Governors can, however, discontinue his ability to increase his wealth through his ownership of the Clippers and greatly diminish his power and prestige in the real estate industry and other industries he may attempt to pursue. He will no longer be able to increase his wealth from the labor of Black male bodies in the NBA.  Sterling’s personal use of plantation ideology in the NBA will be extinguished.

When we are able to expose other racists in the same or similar ways as Sterling was, we should make every effort to cause them to face bankruptcy.  If you want to cause a serious decrease in the power and prevalence of racism in America, then you must significantly reduce the economic and social incentives of it.

Let’s not become so consumed in discourses specifically about Donald Sterling and the venom he spewed out of his corroded mouth; let’s use his case to inaugurate a new movement against racism.

Bankrupting racists must become a grand political strategy employed by individuals of all political persuasions and ideologies.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madision

Commentary on “If We Must Die” by Claude McKay

Claude McKay "If We Must Die"

(Photo Credit: The Poetry Foundation)

If We Must Die

by Claude McKay

If we must die—let it not be like hogs

Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,

While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,

Making their mock at our accursed lot.

If we must die—oh, let us nobly die,

So that our precious blood may not be shed

In vain; then even the monsters we defy

Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!

Oh, Kinsmen!  We must meet the common foe;

Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave,

And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!

What though before us lies the open grave?

Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,

Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

Commentary on the Poem

This poem was penned in 1919 by Claude McKay.  At the time it was published, serious race riots primarily involving White assaults on Black neighborhoods in a dozen American cities were occurring.  McKay wrote this poem in response to these race riots that resulting in the deaths of numerous Black people.  It was his desire for Black people to not simply accept these assaults and murders but to fight back against these efforts to annihilate them.  The poet asserts that “If we must die” we should die “fighting back”—not accepting our demise in a docile way.  In a fight against racism, discrimination and oppression, it’s vital to understand that there are going to be battles you lose, but fighting back gives one an opportunity to win the war, which is more important.

The speaker of the poem highlights that to die to fighting against racism and discrimination is to “die nobly.”  In our contemporary period, we don’t have enough people willing to combat the “monsters” who oppress us.  One of the fundamental reasons why we’re currently struggling to win against racial oppression is envy within our ranks.  McKay’s poem calls for solidarity and not division among Black people.  The poet wants us to recognize that we’re facing a “common foe”: racists.

Too often we allow envy to cause us to lose sight of the common foe.  While we’re attempting to undermine one another, the common foe is gaining a larger advantage in the effort to destroy us.  McKay is keenly aware of how a lack of commitment to solidarity weakens Black people in the fight against their oppressors.  The racists are united in their mission to decimate Black people.  For McKay, Blacks must match their solidarity.  True solidarity is necessary to defeating the robust manacles of racism.

Although our contemporary conditions are not exactly like those McKay writes about in 1919, Black people still face racism, racial prejudice, and discrimination.  We must learn to stand united against our current oppressors.  When we begin to cognize that we should stop fighting one another and start fighting our oppressors, we will witness the authentic change we long to see.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Paula Deen and the “N” Word

Paul Deen's "N" Word Use

(Photo Credit: NPR)

The recent controversy surrounding Paula Deen’s use of the “N” word has evinced, as Randall Kennedy puts it, “the strange career of a troublesome word.”  The “N” word is arguably the most incendiary, insensitive, and hateful word someone can use.  When one considers that this word was employed during the American institution of slavery to characterize Black people as being less than human, it becomes not only a mean-spirited, racist and degrading term, but also a term used to maintain the power structure of slavery and Jim Crow.  A recent legal deposition revealed that Paul Deen has used the “N” word in the past, specifically as part of her desire to construct a “very southern style” wedding for her brother that would include a “whole entire wait staff” of “middle-aged black men.”

Deen’s use of the “N” word is deeply problematic for many reasons, including the overt racist history and ideology of the word.  If there was one word many people could ban, it would be the “N” word.  I would love for us to be able to magically eviscerate its history, power, and ideology.  Unfortunately, this is only possible in Science Fiction literature and films.  We have to deal directly with this word because it’s an important part of America’s past and present history.  To attempt to avoid engaging critically with this word is to be self-victimized by historical amnesia, disengagement from history, and vexing colorblindness.

Paula Deen’s use of the “N” word is inexcusable.  She fully understands the racist history and ideology of this word.  I’m not prepared, however, to call this woman a racist.  From what I have observed and know about her, she seems to be a nice lady.  In America, we use many hateful terms that we don’t necessarily attach genuine hate to—we just use them.  When many Black people use the “N” word and its various derivatives, they’re not using the words with hate—they’re just using the words.  Should we excuse them for their use of the “N” word?  No.

What this controversy exposes is a problem of nostalgia for the pre-Civil War South.  While I can understand why many White southerners can find some phenomena about the pre-Civil War South to be desirable, those nostalgic longings need to show empathy for this time period being a brutal and murderous period for Blacks.  It’s not like Deen is unaware of the racist and discriminatory history of the pre-Civil War South.  In Postmodernism or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Fredric Jameson contends that one of the most problematic things about postmodernism, the historical and cultural moment in which we reside, is it has a problem with writing its own history because it depends on nostalgia rather than reality.  Deen’s nostalgia blinds her from being fully sensitive to America’s horrid racist and discriminatory history.  Mrs. Deen’s nostalgia causes America’s racist history to the rise to the surface for the nation to contemplate.  If one is going to engage in nostalgia for the past, he or she should be responsible about the full history of the longed for past.

I’m a fan of Paula Deen’s cooking, recipes, and personality.  Her poor choice of language, however, I cannot and will not support.  While Americans enjoy the freedom of speech (and all speech is not constitutionally protected), they also have to accept the responsibilities of their speech.  I posit that The Food Network should have let the market determine if Mrs. Deen should be fired—not simply make a decision based on immediate reactions in the mainstream media to aspects of the reported legal deposition.

Even though I don’t normally agree with Roland Martin (and we’ve exchanged words in the past on Twitter when I contended that he often makes many inconsequential statements on Twitter), I agree with him in part when he argues that Black people cannot be angry with Paula Deen because they use the word so often.  Yes, Blacks and Whites need to stop using the word.  If the word is so offensive to Blacks, then they should discontinue using it.  The fundamental defect in Martin’s argument, however, is his conflation of Deen’s use of the “N” word with the way in which numerous Blacks use it.  When many Blacks primarily use the word, it comes from a non-racist and non-disparaging context.  The context of Deen’s use of the word is at a minimum disparaging.  If she didn’t want to have to be accountable for her words, then she shouldn’t have used them.

Paula Deen should be evaluated by her body of work.  Too often we judge and define people by the one or two mistakes they make, instead of considering the many great things they have done and accomplished.

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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Professional Athletes Are Worthy of Their Pay

Black Athletes

Although many people think professional athletes make too much money, they deserve the money they earn.  Professional athletes provide professional team owners with the highest quality talent and skills available in the world for the positions they fill.  When you’re hiring the best available people in the world for the positions you have, those individuals are worthy of earning lucrative salaries.  Professional sports team owners are multi-billionaires who make billions more off of the athletes they employ.  Unfortunately, the significant income disparities between professional athletes and professional team owners are overlooked.  Many people see athletes making millions and fail to realize the owners are raking in billions by giving what’s pocket change to them to the athletes responsible for their continual prosperity.  Yes, many professional athletes are rich, especially baseball, basketball, and football players.  In comparison to money their team owners receive, these professional athletes are making minimum wages or less.

Deeply underlying many people’s arguments against professional athletes earning the lucrative salaries they collect is a racist critique of the perceived realities of the professional sports economy.  One of those racist critiques of the perceived realities of the professional sports economy is it’s leading to too many black male millionaires.  While black men are becoming millionaires in the professional sports economy, it does not compare to the way white men become millionaires in the larger national economy.  Many racists contend that the professional sports economy threatens to upset white economic dominance.  This is such a ridiculous racist postmodern anxiety.  The number of black males receiving million dollar salaries in the professional sports economy is analogous to throwing pebbles in a pond—the number is insignificant in comparison to the number of whites who are millionaires.  Many racists are simply uncomfortable with seeing a black millionaire, especially a black male millionaire.  They try to camouflage their racial hatred for black people by asserting that making millions for playing sports is unjustified.

Last month, Lebron James defended the many millions he makes as a professional basketball player.  Although he’s right in explaining why he deserves to be paid such a significant amount of money, it’s time to expose the racism, prejudice and unsubstantiated arguments offered by many who question the legitimacy of professional athletes earning multi-million dollar salaries.  One has to wonder would this be such a highly discussed topic if there weren’t a conspicuous number of black men getting multi-million dollar salaries to play professional sports.

Lebron James

Professional athletes have elected to devote themselves to careers in sports and their career choices should be respected as you desire to have your career choices respected.

Do you believe professional athletes make too much money?  Why or why not?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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

Be an Advocate for Justice

Police Brutality

Love and justice are inextricably linked. You cannot love someone if you’re not willing to advocate for justice for him or her. Justice is what love looks like in public. When things are going on in your community that are not right, you need to take a stand against those things. In order to make change happen, you have to get out and do something that’s going to initiate change. You’re not going to make significant change happen by sitting up in your home hoping that it will materialize. Meaningful change happens when serious efforts are engaged in to make it occur.

As history has demonstrated, African-Americans have suffered from disquieting injustices since they have arrived in America to the present day. We have to do a better job of reporting the injustices we experience throughout the nation. All of the injustices we experience are not going to appear in the mainstream media. We have to, therefore, find ways to have our important narratives heard and read.

Through the power of social media, you can advocate for justice for yourself and others.

Social media presents us with opportunities to have our voices heard. It does not cost an individual anything to use Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, and etc. to let a global audience know about injustices that have happened to you, someone you know, and someone you don’t know. More people have to learn they’re not powerless against racism, prejudice, discrimination, sexism, and etc. You can fight against injustice if you would only get up off your butt! One does not have to be rich to defeat injustice.

One person can start a revolution.

Don’t think that your efforts to pursue justice for yourself and others are in vain—they’re not. Organize people around your cause. There’s strength in numbers. When you begin to have people to join your cause, they can start to give you information about individuals and organizations that can help to maximize the power and potential of your efforts. Although it’s vital for you to advocate for justice for yourself and others, don’t fool yourself into thinking you can handle this cause on your own. You need people to assist you in advocating for justice.

If you’re supervisor is treating you unfairly, don’t let him or her continue to be unfair to you. Stand up to him or her! You can get another job. You have to understand that you need to place a value on yourself that’s greater than any job you have and/or will have.

Black people should never allow their White employers to control them. If they allow them to do this, then they’re willingly accepting enslavement. Our ancestors paid the ultimate sacrifice for us to be free from the manacles and bondage of slavery in all forms. Don’t render their work useless by being a docile body willing to accept enslavement and exploitation. Honor the legacy of our ancestors by fighting for your right to not be dominated by injustice.

Advocating for justice for yourself and others is not a glamorous job, but it is essential work that must be done for the good everyone and for the good of the global community. When you’re fighting against racism, prejudice, discrimination, sexism, and etc., you have to be willing to be in a war against those phenomena for the long haul. You’re not going to conquer those aforementioned phenomena with “microwave advocacy.” In fact, you will only reaffirm their great power.

Don’t sit back and let things happen to you and people in your community that are unfair. Commit yourself to being an advocate for justice. Black people, it’s time for us to stop settling for oppression, depression, estrangement, exploitation, discrimination, and etc. Let’s use our talents, resources, knowledge, and etc. to defeat the many injustices we confront.

Act today! Be an advocate for justice!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Black Males and Sagging Pants

An increasing number of public and private discourses are taking place across the nation about sagging pants.  One wears sagging pants when his or her underwear or other undergarments are showing.  It’s understandable if one does not like to see the undergarments of another person who has sagging pants.  Although I see a person’s choice to sag his pants as being safeguarded by the First Amendment, I do understand those who support school rules and ordinances prohibiting sagging.  Personally, I don’t sag and don’t think it’s an attractive fashion phenomenon.   However, what’s not understandable is making deleterious assumptions about people just because they’ve elected to wear sagging pants.  Unfortunately, Black males who wear sagging pants are disproportionately affected by unmerited assumptions about their sagging pants.

For White supremacists, sagging pants is a tangible reminder that Black males are still niggers.  For those who hide their racial prejudice, all Black males who have sagging pants are viewed as dangerous.  Those sagging pants send them a clear message that they’re ungovernable criminals who are going to harm us if we don’t get away from them and if we don’t keep them away from us.

I need to send many White people a message that just because a group of Black males who have sagging pants are walking down the same sidewalk as you are does not mean that they’re automatically a threat to you.  In reality, Black males have more reason to be fearful of you than you of them.  If you need some evidence of this, use Google to search for Bo Morrison and you will have just one piece of numerous pieces of evidence to support why I made the aforementioned statement.

Yes, some Black males who have sagging pants are involved in criminality and are dangerous.  However, don’t place the blame on those sagging pants—place the blame squarely on the choices those individuals have made to commit themselves to a mindset of criminality.

For those White people who believe that all, most, or many Black males who have sagging pants are criminals and dangerous, do you feel the same way about White males with sagging pants?  I’m just curious.

Black parents, it’s important to offer our children an understanding of the historical provenance of sagging pants.  Wearing sagging pants emerged from prisons.  In prisons, sagging pants is symbolic and a tangible expression to have other men recognize that one is homosexual and ready to be penetrated in the anus.  While I’m in no way trying to get you to preach to your children against homosexuality, what I’m attempting to do is have you educate your children about the origin of sagging pants and the symbolic and practical meaning of those sagging pants for those situated in prison.  I want your children to be fully informed about their choice to sag their pants.

For those who would try to suggest that Black males and others who sag their pants are trying to be like prisoners, you’re engaging in fallacious thought.  What you’re really trying to do is construct some “evidence” to justify your prejudice and racism.  Therefore, just be real and say so.

Black males need to be aware that people will make unwarranted assumptions about them just because they have sagging pants.  In no way am I attempting to call for Black males to stop wearing sagging pants.  I, however, want Black males to be aware that negative assumptions will be made about them because they have decided to wear sagging pants.  Those sagging pants are contributing factors in why many White people have and are murdering Black males.

Instead of placing so much investment in what Black males are wearing and how they wear their clothing, how about devoting the same level of investment in ensuring they receive a high quality education and have a greater chance to experience success.

I argue that many people who don’t like Black males anyway are attempting to take our focus off of critical problems facing Black males.  They want to thwart any chance that Black male academic underachievement will become a national issue we earnestly work together as a country to remedy.  Let’s not allow them to bamboozle us! Let’s stay focused on real issues and problems Black males face—not sagging pants!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison