Social Justice

3 Benefits of a National Conversation about Black Males and Police Power

Police Abuse of Power

(Photo Credit: Ripp Dem Up)

Too many Black male lives are being lost at the hands of White police officers abusing their power.  The lives of Black boys and men matter.  Their lives matter enough to have a serious national discourse about how their lives are increasingly threatened by abused police power.  Democrats, Republicans and Independents must genuinely participate in this national conversation.  Police officers are charged with the noble responsibility of protecting and serving the American people—not doing unlawful harm to them.  Black boys and men are Americans and deserve the same equal and quality protection and service that every American has a right to enjoy.  Many White police officers, however, haven’t gotten the memo about their responsibility to apply justice equally and fairly among all Americans, including Black boys and men.  Clear thinking Americans must call for a national discourse to take place about abused police power and its impact on Black boys and men.  What follows is a list of three of many benefits of having a national discourse about the problems with many police officers abusing their power when interacting with Black boys and men.

1. Increase Confidence in Police Officers in Minority Communities

If more confidence in police officers is to emerge from minority communities across the nation, then an authentic national discourse about police abuse of power must take place.  Many racial and ethnic minorities want the nation to hear their voices about how they lack faith in numerous White police officers’ willingness to serve and protect them.  Many minorities posit that police officers are out for their destruction.  This hostility that exists between many in minority communities and the police can only be positively addressed by having a genuine national discourse about it, and then implementing policies at the local, state, and federal levels to respond to credible problems.

2. Dramatically Reduce the Number of Senseless Police Killings of Black Males

Again, the lives of Black boys and men matter.  Too many Black boys and men are being murdered by police officers because they’re being unfairly targeted by many White police officers.  If America doesn’t get serious about police officers’ unjustified killings of Black males, then this country is headed down a terrible and bloody road to race wars between Whites and Blacks, leading to unnecessary losses of precious lives.  A national discourse about these senseless murders of Black boys and men can lead to important solutions about how better to prevent and fight against these injustices.

3. Help to Improve Racial Divides between Blacks and Whites Caused by Police

Unfortunately, unnecessary walls are erected between numerous Blacks and Whites because of intentionally nefarious actions of White police officers against Black boys and men.  We shouldn’t allow the racism of many police officers to divide those of us who aren’t racists.  A national conversation about police abuse of power engenders an opportunity to separate the racists from the non-racists.

Conclusion

In America, we continue to avoid having the important discourses we need to have as a nation.  It seems that vital conversations needing to take place at the local, state, and federal levels aren’t happening because countless individuals lack the courage to engage in these difficult conversations.  The American people will grow more divided by avoiding essential race matters.  We don’t magically become more united by abandoning discussions about race—we continue to grow farther apart by neglecting frank discourses about race.

Let’s have an honest national conversation about police abuse of power when interacting with Black boys and men.  Our country will be better for having this conversation.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Helping Students and Young Professionals Succeed: The Why You? Initiative

Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation

(Photo Credit: Thinking Sociology)

Dr. Renaldo C. Blocker, Research Associate at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and University of Wisconsin-Madison Ph.D. graduate in Industrial and Systems Engineering, has founded, in consultation with a distinguished Executive Committee (Strategy Team) that includes doctors, lawyers, social scientists, educators, researchers, community leaders and others, the Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation.  One the primary purposes of the Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation is embodied in the Foundation’s establishment of The Why You? Initiative.  The Why You? Initiative strives to help ameliorate the academic, social, professional, and personal evolution of high school, undergraduate, graduate, post-graduates and young professionals who may come from low-income, marginalized, disadvantaged and/or at-risk backgrounds.

The Why You? Initiative is committed to offering practical and creative solutions and inspiration to the aforementioned individuals to empower them to unleash their maximum potential.  Many leaders of this initiative come from challenging backgrounds and have had to endure difficult experiences, and those backgrounds and experiences lend themselves useful to this organization being able to equip diverse people with the knowledge, motivation, prowess, experiences, and opportunities to excel in sundry fields.

It’s the core belief of The Why You? Initiative that education is one of the most powerful vehicles for leading people to success.

The Why You? Initiative takes a comprehensive approach to offering longitudinal support to each member of its target population.  Students and young professionals receive services tailored to their specific needs.  At the core of what makes its services successful is the individualized mentoring technique.  Each student and young professional is partnered with his or her own personal mentor.  An extensive body of professional literature has revealed that the absence of mentoring is what leads to academic, professional and personal failure.  This Initiative features programs and services that are based on data-driven research.  The Why You? Initiative takes special care to engender a belief in its targeted students and young professionals that they have the capacity to accomplish all of their aspirations.

Some of the free services The Why You? Initiative will offer to students and young professionals across the nation are as follows: mentoring, self-esteem development, academic preparation, career placement, writing and mathematics workshops, research and internship experiences, life skills training and image/branding management.

Revolutionary Paideia announces that it will be one of the first sponsors of The Why You? Initiative and the future work of the Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation.  Revolutionary Paideia endorses The Why You? Initiative and the Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation as a whole.

Help Dr. Renaldo C. Blocker and his distinguished Executive Committee (Strategy Team) to help deserving students and young professionals across the nation to be equipped to succeed academically, professionally, and personally.  Click on the following address to donate today: http://www.whyyou.org/.  Give as often as you can and as much as you can.  Any amount you give will be greatly appreciated.  No amount is too small and no amount is too large.  Help a person in need today by making your donation and sharing this article and information about The Why You? Initiative with others.

Thank you for your support.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Educating the Homeless: Education without Borders

Educating the Homeless

Homeless people’s lives can be transformed with the proper support. (Photo Credit: All Voices)

For those of us concerned about social and economic justice, we must not forget the numerous homeless individuals in America.  Although it’s senseless for people to be homeless in the richest nation in the world, too many people don’t have a place to call home.  Educators and students at the K – College level can be valuable individuals in helping the homeless to ameliorate their lives.  At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the concept of the Wisconsin Idea is heavily promoted.  The philosophy emerging from the Wisconsin Idea is that research that is performed in the University of Wisconsin System should be used to solve problems and improve the lives of the denizens of the state of Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin Idea has, however, been interpreted more broadly to include people across the nation and world.  The research that educators and students are engaged in should be employed to help solve problems and enhance people’s lives, including the lives of the homeless.  Educators and students must use their knowledge, talents, skills, and research to provide the homeless with a practical and essential education.

Teachers and students can form organizations focused on enhancing the education of homeless individuals.  In these organizations, they can identify the extant knowledge, skills, and interests of the homeless and assist them in turning those things into mediums for securing food, clothing, and shelter.  The goal should be to educate them about how they can not only obtain food, clothing and shelter without dependency on government, but also how they can grow and prosper with these things.  In the beginning, there’s nothing wrong with informing them where they can receive government assistance, but don’t cause them to evolve a governmental dependency mindset.  Teachers and students are engaging in cutting-edge research, research that can aid people in surviving without government.

Educators and students can learn the homeless about cover letters and resumes.  Working with the homeless, educators and students should create cover letters and resumes for them.  They should also help them to fill out job applications and give them references to buttress their applications.  It should never be assumed that all homeless individuals lack work experience, considering many people who are homeless were once employed.

In these newly constructed non-profit organizations, their leaders should seek federal and state funding for the programs, activities, services, and/or products intended to be offered to the homeless.  For the individuals working in these organizations, pay them—although the emphasis should be on devoting the majority of the funding to the homeless.  Always maximize the amount of money you provide in direct support of the homeless.

Be sure what you’re educating the homeless about is something they can practically use.  For example, there’s no need to provide them with academic instruction about astrophysics but basic money management can be quite useful to them.

At the beginning of your interactions with the homeless individuals you serve, express to them a willingness to mentor them throughout their transition from homelessness to success.  These individuals will always need to benefit from mentorship.  In many cases, homeless people don’t have anyone to listen to them and aren’t given an opportunity to share their innermost feelings.  Teachers and students can be that needed listening ear.

The professional literature has limited research on mentoring homeless people.  Teachers and students should, therefore, begin to fill the critical gaps in the professional literature in this area of research.

It’s often stated that “education is power.”  Well, let’s unleash this power to ameliorate the lives of homeless Americans.  They’re valuable people who need our commitment and support.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Higher Education in a Post-Affirmative Action Society

Too much attention has been devoted to whether or not affirmative action should be used in higher education. Many court cases have emerged surrounding the constitutionality of affirmative action. What is missing, however, is a serious exploration of what to do when affirmative action is no longer legally acceptable. When one carefully examines affirmative action, he or she can gain an understanding that affirmative action is an inadequate attempt to achieve racial and social justice in the first place. In Race Matters, Cornel West avowed this argument but made clear that affirmative action is still a small, yet significant step in the journey to achieving racial and social justice. With affirmative action being eliminated in some states and being weakened by the courts, this should not be perceived as an epoch when achieving a more diverse student and faculty population in higher education is impossible. There never should have been such an emphasis placed on affirmative action to generate an unremittingly more diverse student and faculty population in higher education. While I am not positing that affirmative action is not important, it is more useful to dedicate more time to many of the larger principles and values that gave rise to use of affirmative action in higher education. Equity and access were central to the formulation and implementation of affirmation action in higher education.

Just because we are witnessing the waning of affirmative action in higher education, does not mean that we should not be actively advocating for improved equity and access for minority students and faculty in higher education. We are going to have to approach ameliorating student and faculty diversity comprehensively. In Postmodernism or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Fredric Jameson contended that one of the defining characteristics of postmodernism is a general celebration of fragmentation. Jameson asserted that postmodern people have a general skepticism toward seeking wholeness—totality. A serious effort to resist fragmentary thought has to accompany any critical effort to bolster student and faculty diversity in higher education. We are not going to augment student and faculty diversity in higher education if we do not champion institutionalizing improved equity and access for people of color.

One of the first things we need to do to increase the number of racial and ethnic minority students and faculty in higher education is to make an honest commitment to train educational leaders for racial and social justice. Teachers, curriculum directors, and administrators have to have an understanding of why diversity is important, and they must understand why knowledge about what racial and social justice is crucial to helping higher education institutions become more reflective of the larger society. While teachers, curriculum directors, and administrators are receiving undergraduate and graduate training, we have to let Schools of Education know that racial and social justice training needs to be an integral part of the education they receive. Students need to have a practical understanding of what racial and social justice is. At this point, minorities cannot afford for racial and social justice to be mere vocabulary words. Professors in Schools of Education have to let our future administrators, teachers, and curriculum directors know that their research, policies, and practices should be informed by racial and social justice.

Chief Diversity Officers at predominantly White colleges and universities have to offer professional development training for other administrators and professors about how to respond effectively to the diverse students they serve. These institutions must offer meaningful incentives for White professors and administrators to buy into the need for racial and social justice to be central to everything their institutions do. Schools of Education need to inform future professors, curriculum directors, and administrators about critical race theory (CRT). Engaging students with CRT gives them an opportunity to see why race must be central to all that they do in the future as educational leaders.

Higher education administrators are going to have to work harder to make sure that their predominately White institutions (PWIs) are spaces that are welcoming to all students. They must make sure their institutions are structurally welcoming to students and faculty of color. In “Nine Themes in Campus Racial Climates and Implications for Institutional Transformation,” Shaun R. Harper and Sylvia Hurtado found in over 15 years of published research that PWIs are not seriously trying to become welcoming places for people of color. One of the significant themes they found was that whiteness dominated in space, curricula, and activities at PWIs.  Higher education administrators, therefore, have to make sure that there is a greater presence of blackness in space, curricula, and activities.

At the end of the day, higher education administrators are going to have to engage in serious efforts to promote diversity at the admissions stage of the higher education pipeline. It is a social reality that access largely refers to admissions. More focused study and commitment is needed to significantly increase the number of qualified minorities who attend PWIs.

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, one the leading research universities in the nation and world, there is an African-American student population that is less than 2%. This is pathetic—when one considers that near this institution is Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which has a significant African-American population. I am not advocating for institutions like the University of Wisconsin-Madison to admit unqualified African-American students, but the institution can certainly do much better than the less than 2% African-American student population it currently has. You can read more about my outrage at the lack of student diversity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a major Wisconsin newspaper here: http://badgerherald.com/news/2009/04/28/recertification_in_p.php.

Instead of arguing about affirmative action, we need to focus our attention on achieving the optimal goal of affirmative action: true racial and social justice. Racial and ethnic minorities in higher education are going to have to recognize that we need to leave discourses about affirmative action and move to discourses about racial and social justice. If we don’t do this, then we will see an exponential decline in people of color in higher education.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Happy 30th Birthday to Santresa L. Glass-Hunt

Santresa Glass

First, I would like to give honor to one of my bestfriends in the world: Santresa L. Glass-Hunt. She is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Magnolia’s Sweet Haven, LLC. Mrs. Glass-Hunt is a graduate of Albany State University, where she completed her undergraduate degree in English. She has a master’s degree from Troy University in Management and various certifications in events and meeting planning and management from the University of Georgia and Clayton State University. She is a published and a member of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society.  San, as she is affectionately known, is co-authoring a scholarly book, Greening Higher and Postsecondary Education: Linking Eco-Justice and Social Justice, with me. While doing all of this, San still finds time to actively maintain her blog: http://pamperedsweettooth.blogspot.com . Most importantly, San is one of the most giving and caring people in the world.  The purpose of this article is to give Santresa L. Glass-Hunt the recognition she deserves for being the great person she is.

San never receives any public recognition for her great deeds and often does not gain the private recognition she is due.  I am here to give you the public recognition you have earned. With this article reaching a wide audience and a large number of people across the nation (and some international readers), this article will only be a small token of appreciation for the great things you have done for so many people. Although you may not feel that your work is always valued, please know that if no one values the work you do Jesus does. He knows about all of your struggles and pain. He even knows about all of your thoughts and struggles that you do not share with anyone.  Please know that what you are doing with your life is awesome, and you make so many people around you and who you encounter better people just because you come into their presence.

I want you to know that you are a fantastic wife, daughter, and stepmother—roles you have not received the proper honor and appreciation you are due. God rewards you for the stellar work you do in these roles. You are so special to me and we have so much fun together. We laugh together, cry together, rejoice together, pray together, vent together, sing together (LOL!), and vent together. People are so jealous and envious of our relationship and they just don’t understand it! This is one of the dominant reasons why we are so close—we don’t try to explain it!

On your special day, your 30th birthday, I wish you a day full of all of your wildest and grandest hopes, dreams, and desires. America better get ready for you because you are certainly a force to be reckoned with.  By the way, I want to thank you for telling me to tune into the T.I. interview with Larry King—you can be sure the articles to come from this interview that I pen will be unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing. On this day, know that I love you very much and would do anything for you. If this article is not well-written, know that I had to compose it while we were on the phone. Lol! I could write so much more, but I will stop here for the moment. God is working everything out in your favor. I love you and have a great 30th birthday! Oh by the way, expect a song really soon. Lmbo!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison