University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tiger Woods and the Exploitation of His Penis

We have recently discovered the increased fascination the media has with Tiger Woods’s life. While in the past it has been more of a focus on his athletic talent, now the media is focused on his sexual prowess. I thought that the only stick that the media would be concerned with is the golf club he uses and not the one in his pants. How foolish was I? The media has engaged in an effort to try to reduce Tiger Woods to nothing more than his penis. The media wants to overlook Tiger’s great athletic skill and mental acuity to engage in a sensational exploration of his sexuality.

The last time that I checked it was not our business what Tiger does with his penis. It’s his penis and it does not belong to the media. If ever one wanted to know whether or not Tiger Woods is a Black man, the individual now knows that he is. All one has to do is consider the tremendous “news” coverage his penis has received. This fascination with Tiger’s love of women has a strong history that has to be explored. During slavery, the fascination with the Black male penis was shared by both White women and White men. The Black male body became viewed as useful for the slave labor it could produce and the entertainment value the Black male penis could generate for White people. Again, we have a media that is largely operated by non-Black people and a significant number of White people. I am, of course,  not suggesting that all White people are racist.  What I am suggesting, however, is there are still some racist White people living. Some of these racist White people are involved with the media. It benefits these individuals’ agenda to try to destroy the reputation of a man who is considered to be a Black man by many people. This probing into Tiger’s life is not about learning more about him as a golfer, but is more about discovering ways to exploit him as a Black man and to exploit negative perceptions, stereotypes, and stigmas about “blackness” and Black people, especially Black men.

One person who the public has not really thought about who has to be really suffering from all of this media coverage: Tiger Woods. Far too often, we, media consumers, are so eager to consume media’s sensationalism that we forget about the real lives that are being affected by this sensationalism.  Wow! What a shocker–Tiger Woods is human. He has a problem that he needs to address. Guess what? The rest of us also have problems we need to address too. I wonder how many people are willing to have their lives examined in the way Tiger has had his life examined because of his problem of being faithful to his wife. Many men cheat but I have not seen such interest in one man’s cheating ever in my life. With so many important problems in the world, I will be glad when we begin to challenge the media about what it covers. What Tiger Woods does with his penis does not having anything to do with us.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Falsehoods of Classroom Participation

How many of you have ever looked at your course syllabus and found that you were being evaluated for “classroom participation”? How many of you have also looked at your course syllabus and discovered that you were not provided with an understanding of how you would be evaluated based on “classroom participation”? I have wrestled with these two aforementioned queries for some time now. I contend that it is quite problematic to evaluate students based on “classroom participation” when they are not given specific details about how they will be evaluated.

One of the chief reasons why I find being evaluated based on classroom participation is it becomes a way for your instructor to punish you if he or she does not like you, or if he or she has ever taken offense to something that you have said in class. When one views classroom participation from this perspective, it becomes tremendously easy for one to understand how “classroom participation” can become a mask for discrimination. In college, I’m not sure that we (instructors) should even be focusing on evaluating students for their classroom participation. The focus for instructors should be on ensuring that students are learning and not on punishing them for a lack of attendance, which is often the larger rationale for why classroom participation is included on most course syllabi (in my opinion). The challenging way in which the course instruction is offered should be enough to drive students to class. Instructors should not use false ploys like “classroom participation” to try to punish students for not attending their classes.

I must say, however, that if a clear standard is being employed when one includes “classroom participation” on his or her syllabus, then I do not have a problem with including it. For example, when an instructor decides to engage students in a significant amount of the learning activities inside of the classroom, then I think that it would certainly be reasonable for classroom participation to be included on the syllabus, and, in this case, it is justified to have it account for a significant percentage of students’ grades (if this is the desire of the instructor). From my experience as a college instructor, I know how important class attendance and participation in class is. I do not think, however, that it is my duty as an instructor to be students’ parents and force them to attend my classes. I have hardly ever had a problem with any student who elected to not attend my classes. One of the dominant reasons why I believe that this has happened is I empowered students to make the decision about whether or not to come to my classes or not. From the very first day of class, I always let them know that without an excused absence I would not do anything to help them with what they missed in class.

Instructors need to rethink how they construct their notions of “classroom participation” and students need to begin to understand the value behind coming to class and actively participating in class. It is not simply the responsibility of the instructor to provide students with knowledge, but students have to become stakeholders in their own education. The next time you see “classroom participation” on your course syllabus be sure to ask probing questions of your instructor about what it really means, especially if he or she has not provided you with any specific details.

Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Hip-Hop’s Potential in South Africa

I understand that there are some problems with hip-hop, as there are with all phenomena, there is tremendous potential in hip-hop to deliver serious improvements in health in South Africa. With this idea in mind, I am seriously exploring this potential of hip-hop in my Educational Policy Studies 750 seminar course, “African Education: Past, Present, Future,” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to improve health-related decision making in South Africa. The inspiration behind this idea is the great popularity of hip-hop on the continent of Africa and the significant meaning of songs to Africans. It is my hope that hip-hop can be used in South Africa as a tool of engendering change in health-related decision making.

When I first announced this idea in response to a question on a good friend’s Facebook status, a University of Wisconsin-Madison female student responded that South Africans need more than pamphlets being passed out to them to improve health-related decision making. While I completely understood her desire not to see more literature simply being disseminated to South Africans, this was not my simple intention. My intention is to use the full range of the power and influence of hip-hop to change the culture of health-related decision making. I think she was afraid of my use of “health literacy.” Unfortunately, her understanding of my use of health literacy was egregiously misunderstood. She does not understand that I am promoting an active, living, and meaningful notion of health literacy, one that is just as real as the hip-hop culture South Africans engage with. I do hope, however, that this young lady has not given up on the power of literature to create social change.

In Postmodernism or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Fredric Jameson, a Marxist theorist and leading cultural critic, contends that one of the most damaging dimensions of the postmodern epoch is a rejection of thinking in terms of totality. If we were willing to think in terms of totality, we would be much more inclined to use whatever means available to us to try to ameliorate our health conditions throughout the world, including South Africa. While hip-hop has not traditionally been associated with health interventions, this should not cause us to not engage it with issues pertaining to health. Since one of the critical problems with health-related decision making in South Africa has to do with how men interact with women sexually, including the raping them, hip-hop artists have an opportunity to start communicating to them through their art about why they should value their women’s bodies better and treat them much better. These messages will certainly have some potential to reach South African boys and men in ways that we have never thought possible: The words of these hip-hop artists can become topics of great interest to them in their everyday lives–simply because hip-hop artists are talking about issues pertaining to health-related decision making.

My study will be completely finished in less than a month, and I plan to publish this study in a scholarly journal. I will make access to this study available on this site after it has been published. I look very forward to concluding my work that will offer South Africans and potentially people across the globe new solutions for improving health-related decision making.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Protein Shake Struggle

While this is probably the least serious piece I have ever composed, I thought that I would share my horrible experience today with you. For those of you who drink protein shakes, I know you can understand that these phenomena are quite horrible. Although this is not my first day drinking a protein shake, I had the most difficult time getting this protein shake down today. I tried everything that I could do today to get this protein shake down and finally did! It took me from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to get this protein shake down!

It is quite amazing the phenomena we are willing to do to keep our bodies in great condition. I have to drink one more of these shakes tonight and hope that I do not have the same struggle that I experienced early today. I know my reader is wondering why I am wasting time composing such an article, but it has a larger significance: It causes everyone to think about the phenomena that they consume and how he or she cares for his or her health.

We have to become more conscious about taking care of our bodies. Although I am having fun with my struggle with drinking my protein shake today, I understand how important it is to helping me to achieve the physique I desire. I am making tremendous progress toward my goal of achieving a highly muscular body and being in tremendous shape and health. I have discovered that what is most critical to moving toward great health is having the mental commitment to achieving great health. Once the individual makes up in his or her mind that he or she is going to have great health, then he or she will do what it takes to accomplish this feat.

I hope this article will help those of you struggling with protein shakes to be better able to drink them after reading this article. If it does not, I hope that it will add some level of comfort that you are doing an essential deed by drinking the protein shake. It is my desire that companies will begin to make protein shakes that are better tasting, while not sacrificing the effectiveness of the shake. My deepest support is with all of you protein shake drinkers!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Stay True to Yourself

The people who I enjoy hanging around and being friends with are the individuals who do not mind being themselves at all times.  It is such a challenge to find people who will stay true to themselves.  I find it to be a serious weakness for people to change who they are just to fit in with certain groups.  One of the greatest problems that I have with men, particularly African-American men, is they will lose their true identities just to fit in with other African-American men, and to put on images that they think are going to attract women, specifically African-American women.

I see Black guys everyday and everywhere I have been who you can tell that they are just putting on false images, because when you really get to know who these African-American men are, they are really not the same people who they project to be in the public.  For example, a have the misfortune to know guys who will strive each day to have sex with as many women as possible just to be called “a mack,” “player,” “pimp,” or other stupid labels.  For many of these guys, their ability to have sex and get as many women as possible determines their view of their success and how well phenomena are going in their lives.

These Black men will do anything—even give up their true selves—just to make sure that no one is going to call them “gay.”  I want to take an opportunity right now to tell you how stupid you are for allowing people to have such control over you like that.  You are doing stupid phenomena just to make sure that no one is going to call you gay.  No matter how “hard” you strive to be, and no matter how many women you have sex with, there is going to be somebody who calls you gay.  If you were really worth anything, and were your own person, then you would not worry about what someone is calling you.

I just wanted to take a moment out of my busy schedule to articulate a message to men, particularly Black men, about how many of them are not allowing themselves to live a real life.  While many of you are trying to be so “hard,” you are wasting time that you could be investing in phenomena that are going to make you truly successful.  Having sex with numerous women is not going to do anything for you but give you HIV/AIDS!  It is my hope that you will ameliorate the way in which you carry yourself and become the real person who you really would love to be. I will continue to write and speak about this issue until I see significant change take place in Black men across the nation.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Standing Up for Albany State University

Albany State University, the pride of Southwest Georgia, currently needs the support of all current students, alumni, friends of the institution, and supporters.  Although we are currently facing some vexing economic conditions, it is unacceptable for our institution to have to suffer in the way that proposed budget cuts would cause our institution to suffer.  ASU has faced great challenges in the past, but none of those past challenges have been able to sink the unsinkable ASU.  It is time for us to act to preserve and protect our great university.  Albany State University has given us so much and it is time for us to reinvest in our great university.

Unfortunately, we cannot sit back and wait to reinvest in ASU—we must do it right now!  At this very moment, there are serious budget proposals in the Georgia state legislature that would fundamentally eliminate the Albany State University Graduate School, end all study abroad programs, eliminate three undergraduate programs, and cause numerous people working for our fine institution to become unemployed.  I refuse to let these phenomena become realities.  The harsh reality is, however, that without meaningful action and involvement from you, these terrible phenomena will become realities.

For those of you who are attending the institution right now, you do not have a choice but to act.  Your institution is under attack and you need to respond right now! For those of you who have graduated from the institution, you need to respond right now because your institution is under attack!  For those of you who are supporters and friends of the institution, you need to act today too because there is no better time to demonstrate your support for the institution than now.  If you fit none of the aforementioned categories, and you just support higher education in general and/or minority serving institutions (like Historically Black Colleges and Universities [HBCUs]), then here is a golden opportunity for you to make a significant difference in the lives of so many people who have benefitted tremendously from this prestigious and meaningful institution.

In most of the works written by Abraham Joshua Heschel, a rabbi and man who marched on the front lines with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., they contend that it is not cowardice that is the worst phenomenon, but it is indifference to evil that is the worst phenomenon.  When you think about all that Albany State University has done for you and countless others, it would be evil for us to allow the Georgia state legislature to cut our institution’s budget this dramatically.

Here’s what needs to be done immediately: contact your Georgia state House and Senate representatives and your U.S. House and Senators today, and tell them to make sure that Albany State University does not fall prey to any budget cuts, especially any budget cuts that would cut any programs at our fine institution. Let’s act today!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Analysis of Boyz N the Hood

A Structural Analysis of John Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood

Introduction

The scholarly literature has evinced that Black males academically underperform all groups throughout the educational pipeline (Hood, 1992; Jackson, 2003; Polite, 1994; Watson & Hodges, 1991).  Jameson (1991) explains that film can be a useful vehicle for unveiling harsh realities about the lived experiences of sundry people.  In Boyz N the Hood (1991), John Singleton offers a disquieting account of the lived experiences of Black people, particularly Black males, in a poverty-ravaged South Central Los Angeles neighborhood.  At the core of the film’s narrative is the relationship and interactions between three young Black males: Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), Darrin “Doughboy” Baker (Ice Cube), and Ricky Baker (Morris Chestnut).  The audience witnesses how racism, indifference, rampant violence, and the increasing disintegration of the Black family in South Central Los Angeles militate against the coming of age of these three Black males.  As a contribution to the scholarly discourse on Boyz N the Hood, this paper provides an examination of how structural dimensions of the milieu in which the film is set (South Central Los Angeles) have a damaging impact on the progression of these Black males.  The structural frame championed by Bolman and Deal (2008) serves as the dominant lens through which this film is analyzed.

One of the vexing structural elements in the film that one of the Black males has to combat is a Eurocentric school curriculum.  Tre Styles learns at an early stage in his experience in the educational pipeline that the extant structure of curriculums and schools have little cultural relevancy to Black students living in impoverished urban conditions, especially when his teachers make no effort to be inclusive in their pedagogical practices.  Tre challenges the structural authority of one his White female teacher about why there is not a presence of Black people in what she is teaching.  What he challenges is the “pervasiveness of whiteness in curricula, space, and activities” that Harper and Hurtado (2007, p. 18) speak about being present at predominately White institutions (PWIs).  This challenging of her position authority (put in place by the hierarchical structure of the school’s administration) leads her to send him constantly to the Principal.  This leads Tre’s mother, Reva Devereaux (Angela Bassett), to use her position power (as his mother) to send him to live with his father, Furious Styles (Laurence Fishburne), who lives in a tremendously unsettling and violent neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles, as punishment for not embracing hegemony and quietly conforming to the Eurocentric curriculum.  Tre moves to an environment where he has to be more concerned about survival than receiving an education, no matter how limited of an education he could have received from the Eurocentric curriculum.  He is not able to find a sense of belonging in the school because this organization exists “to achieve established goals and objectives” (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 47) not inclusive of culturally relevant subject matter and pedagogy.

Moreover, one of the most damaging structural elements in the film is the Black family itself.  The film exposes an increasing dissolution of the Black family in South Central Los Angeles.  The most troubling way in which the film illuminates this is in how Brenda Baker (Tyra Ferrell) feels it necessary to favor her younger son (Ricky Baker) over her older son (Darrin “Doughboy” Baker), because the economic structure (capitalism) dominating her family’s situation compels her to favor him (from her perspective).  For Brenda, Ricky, who is a star student-athlete with great potential to not only become a superstar college student-athlete, but also professional athlete, is her family’s only hope of moving into a more favorable position within the capitalist economic system.  The audience witnesses how the lack of meaningful economic and social opportunities for Black families in South Central Los Angeles conjoined with an absent father forces Brenda to not only commodify her children, but also to reify them: Darrin becomes her “waste” and Ricky becomes her financial investment.  Unfortunately, at the conclusion of the film, both Darrin and Ricky die—symbolizing how important the unity of the family is and how harmful the dissolution of the family is.

Conclusion

The larger significance of this film is it demonstrates how the current economic structure, capitalism, in America (and in the global milieu) is harmful to most people, especially for Black people living in impoverished conditions.  Jameson (1991) highlights how capitalism’s structure dominates all other dimensions of life, including the human resource, cultural, and (most importantly) political dimensions of the lived experience.  The significance of this film for Antonio Daniels is it offers vivid insights into why there is a need for an alternative global economic system, and it affirms that the structural is constructed from the political; that is, the political determines the structural.  When we are analyzing the structural, therefore, we have to consider the conspicuous and subtle political that comes to compose what we see as the structural.  The larger significance of this essay to organizational theory and behavior studies is it highlights that it is important to have a dominant framework that concatenates the four frames Bolman and Deal (2008) champion into a totality, a cognitively mapped narrative revealing how each of the frames are interconnected.

References

Bolman, L.G., & Deal, T.E. (2008). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership (4th edition). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Harper, S.R., & Hurtado, S. (2007). Nine themes in campus racial climates and implications for  institutional transformation. New Directions for Student Services, 120, 7-24.

Hood, D.W. (1992). Academic and noncognitive factors affecting the retention of Black men at a predominately White institution. Journal of Negro Education, 61, 12-23.

Jackson, J.F.L. (2003). Toward administrative diversity: An analysis of the African-American male educational pipeline. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 12, 43-60.

Jameson, F. (1991). Postmodernism or, the cultural logic of late capitalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Polite, V.C. (1994). The method in the madness: African-American males, avoidance schooling, and chaos theory. Journal of Negro Education, 63, 588-601.

Watson, C., & Hodges, C. (1991). Educational equity and Detroit’s male academics. Equity and Excellence, 25, 90-105.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

New Black Expectations

On February 26, 2009, Dr. John Y. Odom spoke at the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the “2nd Annual Black Men’s Initiative Forum 2010.”  He gave the men (and some women) of all races some great insights.  He challenged them to graduate from college as soon as they can so that they can go into the “real world” and make a difference.  His call for Black males to graduate and go into their communities and make the difference is such an important message.

Black men need to understand that we have to seize on a critical moment that we have to evince and illuminate our greatness.  Black men have to understand that we have to do a better job of helping one another to increase, improve, and further develop our skills, talents, and knowledge.  Imagine a day when Black men in America and globally are truly united with one another.  This will be a day when we can work to dismantle the damaging stereotypes and stigmas that plague our progress.  The struggle for Black male progress will not be fully realized until we have stronger support from Black females and higher expectations from them for Black males.

Too many Black women want a Black man who is a “thug.”  Ironically, these same Black women want Black men who are educated, able to provide them with the finer phenomena in life, and who will be an excellent father for their children.  This ignorance emanating from many Black females has to end if they want their Black men to be able to be the empowered leaders they so criticallly need them to be.  Far too frequently do I hear Black women talking about Black men are nothing but “dogs,” “pimps,” “drug dealers,” “players,” and etc.  My simple response to the name calling engaged in by many Black women is you all made them that way—for the most part.  When you all are constantly giving away your bodies so easily to them—this will turn them into dogs, pimps, and players.  What else did you expect?

The way that Black men and women need to correct the problems that they both face is to set higher expectations for themselves.  For example, there are people who are in college at some of the finest schools in the nation—like University of Wisconsin-Madison—who think that they have to make going to college and being successful “cool” by doing phenomena that have caused those who are not in college or who are not successful to be where they are today—like getting drunk everyday, smoking weed everyday, busting slack, wearing clothes that you know does not make you look like you are striving for success, intentionally talking in an ignorant way just to demonstrate how “hood” you are or how much of a thug you are, and etc.

A new day needs to begin where Black people acknowledge that our Black foremothers and forefathers died for us to have the right to be free.  In this right to be free came the right to be free from low expectations.  Today, I make a solemn plea to you—Black people—to demand higher expectations of yourselves, and to fight against any barriers, people, and institutions that would try to prevent you from being the greatest person you can be.  Being truly successful will demand that you not simply do traditional and popular phenomena.  You just might have to upset some people, but it’s all for your betterment and the betterment of the American and global community.  Until you give up doing phenomena that are always popular, you will always be a slave!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Principle Matters

Just like the tree planted by the water, I shall not be moved. Recently, people got together and attempted to derail my efforts to pursue a fascinating opportunity. They used lies and unethical tactics to try to defeat me. While they may think that they have won the battle, I am going to win the war! Their goal was to try to destroy me and take away what is inside of me that makes me so great. Envy and jealous motivated their efforts. The purpose of this article, however, is not to give the Enemy victory, but to encourage you to stay motivated and resolved—no matter what the Enemy tries to do to you.

One of the dimensions of Antonio Maurice Daniels that I am most proud of is the fact that he will never sacrifice his principle for anything or anybody. We need more people who have the courage to maintain their principle, even when it might cost them something in the short term. When you are willing to sacrifice your principle for temporary gain, you are simply prostituting your body; that is, you are selling yourself for a quick and easy return. We have to understand that quick and easy returns have no staying power. If your life is going to matter, you are going to have to learn how to be willing to lose something. If you matter, the Enemy is going to take some things from you at some point. What will matter will not be what you lost, but how you pursued justice in recovering what you have lost.

I look forward to a day when we will rise beyond the superficial and move to the substantial. We need to move from the trivial to Truth. You cannot allow yourself to fall prey to the trivial and the superficial—you must reach beyond them. I am learning each day that the Lord will take care of my enemies. I used to think that it was necessary for me to respond to everything that my enemies did to me. Unfortunately, responding to everything that my enemies did to me was tremendously exhausting. I have adopted an approach of letting God handle them, because when I let Him handle them, they are defeated in ways that I could never have fathomed. My enemies are now restless because God will not allow them to rest on their sin. If you are one of my enemies and you happen to be reading this, please know that your current situation will not improve until you get things right with me.

I will never give the Enemy victory. I will stand up against the Enemy’s devices because I know that greater is He who is in me than He who is in the world. It never ceases to amaze me how people will go out their way to try to do harm to me. They always lose, however. I want you all to know that what God has for you—it already is!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Being a Teacher

I understand my position as a teacher to be more than a profession–it’s a vocation, a calling to embark upon a persistent perilous quest to seek Truth and Justice. Being a teacher, for me, is a Socratic and prophetic calling. As teachers, we have to be Socratic witnesses. We have to expose falsehoods. If you are wondering if you have to be a professional teacher, that is, have a formal career as a teacher to be considered a teacher, you do not have to. We all can be teachers if we are willing to pursue and propagate paideia (education/knowledge/ instruction).

When will we reach a time when there is a willingness to challenge false appearances of Truth? When will we reach a time when there is a willingness to challenge authority and harmful dimensions of the status quo. I remain skeptical but hopeful that individuals like me will continue to hold people accountable to reach this moment and willingness.

I understand that the purpose of education is to teach you how to die. You have only a short time to live on Earth, and you must determine how you are going to use this time before you return to dirt and feces. As a teacher, I make sure that people understand the importance of thinking critically for themselves, avoiding the limitations of stereotypes, harmful prejudices, discrimination, racism, White supremacy, Jim and Jane Crowism, and bigotry. I wish that all teachers would join me in this effort. We would live in such a better world, with more peace and harmony.

In short, teaching for me is about advancing other people. This does not mean that you will not have to challenge, upset, and criticize them in the process of advancing them–you will–it means you will need to do all that is necessary to bring out the greatest potential in them. People cannot grow when they are weighed down with ignorance and falsehoods. This is the moment for us to seek Truth and Justice. In order to do this, we must do what Dr. Joyce L. Cherry once said, “Pull the hoods and sheets off your head and expose you for who you really are.”

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison