The Transformative Power of Reading

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One of the most powerful ways to awaken, develop, strengthen, and renew your inner intellectual is through reading substantive pieces each day. When you read substantive works, your knowledge grows, your imagination becomes broader, and your capacity to dream elevates. Reading permits you to not only discover many or most of the answers you seek, but also it enables you to formulate the right questions, questions that will lead you to a better, more interesting, and more successful life. This intentional focus on your inner intellectual will pay true dividends in enhancing your self-concept and naturally and ultimately your self-esteem.

When you read quality material, material that relates to your interests, aspirations, and search for answers, your purposeful reading will serve as a strong defense against negative factors affecting and influencing your self-concept and self-esteem.

Reading substantive literature, such as slave narratives, allows for you to place the challenges, barriers, and problems you face in their proper context. When you read slave narratives, you will learn about individuals who persevered and triumphed in impossible conditions—conditions much more difficult than you will ever be able to imagine. These stories about how American heroes and heroines endured these impossible conditions will inspire you to continue to strive for success—even when success falsely appears unlikely and barriers seem like they will never be conquered. Look for the strategies, values, principles, and thinking that led to those individuals’ success. Find ways to incorporate what contributed to their success into your own life.

Use your school library, public library, and the internet to find books and articles that pertain to your interests and goals. One of the greatest investments you can make in yourself each day is to read something that is going to support your interests and place you further on the path to achieving your goals. Each day is an opportunity to learn something new. Don’t waste a moment in self-doubt. Expand your knowledge, expand your horizons, expand your imagination through a commitment to reading meaningful books and articles that pertain to your interests and goals.

A commitment to purposeful reading every day is one of the most powerful ways of strengthening your self-concept and self-esteem. With this commitment, your mind becomes occupied with self-advancement, pursuing your interests, and meeting your goals.

Let books and articles occupy your mind, limiting the amount of time for condemnation, peer pressure, and self-doubt to discourage you and halt your progress.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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10 Tips To Improve Your Self-Esteem

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self-esteemNumerous people can benefit from a significant improvement in their self-esteem. When you have low self-esteem or unsatisfactory self-esteem, don’t be ashamed; take steps to boost it. You possess the authority necessary to take control of your life. A healthy self-esteem is essential for a healthy life to materialize. Recognizing how important a strong self-esteem is to a productive and fulfilling life, this piece offers ten tips to aid you in strengthening your self-esteem.

1. Take Charge of Your Own Life. This is your life—choose what you want it to do for you. Make life submit to you; don’t allow it to dominate you.

2. Accept the Notion that You Are Responsible for You. When you claim responsibility for your life and are able to own your failures and celebrate your successes, you place yourself on the path to a healthier self-esteem.

3. Reject Those Committed to Destroying You. Surround yourself with people committed to building you up and advancing you. Disconnect from those who consistently attempt to undermine and attack you. Refuse to allow your friends and family to destroy you with their words and actions. If necessary, separate yourself from them.

4. Speak Positive Words to Yourself. People with an unproductive self-esteem constantly speak negative words to themselves. Their thought-life is consumed with self-defeating thoughts and images.

5. Take Calculated Risks. If you’re going to reach your full potential, comfort zones must be eradicated. Comfort zones kill dreams; comfort zones extinguish passions; comfort zones limit possibilities. Never permit the fear of failure to prevent you from tackling a challenge.

6. Discontinue Comparing Yourself to Others. Focus on yourself. Become the best version of yourself possible.

7. Love Yourself. You will never experience true happiness and joy when you fail to love yourself.

8. Be Trustworthy and Loyal. Let your words and actions prove you to be trustworthy and loyal.

9. Win with Grace, Lose with Class. Be a great winner and lose honorably.

10. Be a Giver. Being an authentic giver fills you with joy and dismantles the elements that compose low self-esteem.

Revolutionarypaideia.com

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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10 Reasons Your Church Could Be in Decline

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Mountains of debt, significantly plummeting church attendance and membership, and uninspired members: fundamental signs your church is in decline or failing. Do the members of your church have nostalgia for “the good old days” instead of enjoying the present and looking forward to the future? Unfortunately, too many church leaders are unwilling to engage honestly with serious issues and questions about their ministries. If in the past a church had great attendance, a constantly burgeoning membership, and limited to no indebtedness, and those phenomena are no longer in place, the leaders of the church must be candid in their approach to resolving these problems. Pretending like problems don’t exist in your church will further exacerbate them. The purpose of this piece is to offer 10 reasons your church could be in decline or failing.

  1. Envy present at all levels. When church leaders are envious and they refuse to address envy among their members, this leads to damaging disunity in their churches. Your church will never grow and experience success when its leaders and membership are dominated by a spirit of envy. Although you might claim that the power of the Holy Spirit is flowing powerfully in your church, you’re being dishonest when envy is highly prevalent in your church. The pastor of your church has to check his or her own envy and promote a spirit of unity among the membership. When people are more talented and anointed to do sundry tasks than you, provide loving support for them and don’t undermine them.
  1. The pastor is a manager instead of a leader. If your pastor has to have his or her fingerprints on everything, he or she is simply a tyrant. In various religious communities, we’re too quick to call someone a leader simply because he or she is occupying a position. A pastor who micromanages every aspect of the church’s affairs is a manager—not a leader. An effective pastor delegates authority and responsibility to other leaders and members of his or her church, and he or she trusts them to accomplish what needs executing; he or she does not supervise every detail of their work. People should feel comfortable operating in their gift without fear of receiving a negative critique or unnecessary requests from him or her to modify their work.
  1. Too many messy people. Messy pastors, church leaders, and members are the ultimate destruction of churches. Pastors and church leaders should be working to resolve messiness in the church and not participate in the messiness themselves. What are some of the ways in which a pastor can be messy, you ask? One way is for him or her to sit at home with members of his or her family and plot the undermining of certain individuals they don’t support. Another way a pastor can be messy is to pick and choose “favorites” in the church and believe anything those favorites run and tell him or her. Finally, one of the most damaging ways in which a pastor can be messy is to use his or her sermons as vehicles to attack those members he or she has problems with and to galvanize support from other leaders and members to join him or her in opposing those members. Too many churches have people who are committed to gossiping about members of their own churches, and this results in breakdowns in communication and relationships, envy, disengagement, and a dearth of productivity.
  1. The pastor selects “favorites.” Everyone in your church should be valued and feel valued. There shouldn’t be a class system within a church where “the favorites” rule as elites and everyone else is powerless and voiceless. What would Jesus do? Treat everyone the same.
  1. Too much emphasis on giving money. While it takes money to have a successful church and do effective ministry, members shouldn’t be bombarded with unremitting discourse about giving money. If your church really has something great to offer, then people will give liberally without relentless requests for and talks about money. Too many pastors are so focused on money that they have turned Jesus into a footnote and afterthought in their churches. Jesus should always be put in first place. When you put Jesus in first place, He will bless your church and abundantly supply you with money.
  1. A lack of focus on serious evangelism. Incessant focusing on money in many churches has led to soul-winning not being a top priority. Many church leaders will say that soul-winning is their top priority—only to turn immediately to soliciting money again. If you want your church to grow, you have to make a real commitment to winning souls for Christ. The money your church needs is found outside of the church: the lost souls who need to come to Christ are the additional sources of money. You cannot continue to ask for money from the same people already in your church; recruit new members through evangelism. Want a successful church? Have a church without borders—don’t remain stuck in the four walls of your building.
  1. The absence of the Gospel of Grace. One of the most frustrating phenomena about most churches is their pastors are still teaching, preaching, and witnessing as if the Mosaic and Levitical Laws are still in effect. Pastors, Jesus didn’t die on the Cross to grant you the right to lord your authority over people. Jesus died on the Cross to empower people with freedom and power through Him. Unfortunately, too many pastors are afraid to teach and preach about grace in a comprehensive way because they know this will mean that they will have to surrender their micro-managing control over their members. The New Covenant is not about subjecting one’s self to a bunch of rules and regulations; it’s about receiving God’s agape love and being empowered through the grace of Christ. When your pastor refuses to engage deeply with grace, he or she is simply a control-freak! The absence of the Gospel of Grace results in church members believing in their own performances instead of believing in what Jesus has already done at the Cross. Right believing produces right living—not vice versa.
  1. Not enough focus on teaching and studying the Bible. It seems that all many preachers want to do is scream, holler, and speak in tongues. What about imparting the Word of God, though? It’s a close and consistent study of the Word of God that brings deliverance, prosperity, healing, joy, peace, happiness, love, and etc. to people—not your screaming, hollering, speaking in tongues, requests for money, rules, regulations, and “good advice.” Unfortunately, too many pastors aren’t equipped to teach the bible properly. Many lack the necessary intellectual aptitude to teach the bible so they just attack those who are educated and say that “the Holy Ghost will reveal all things” as cheap cop out for their inability to rightly divide the Word of Truth. A pastor and his or her congregation can only progress successfully through the regenerating washing of the Word of God. Instead of having all of these revivals and “tarry services,” start having more Word of God revivals where a close study of the bible occurs. You can always identify a pastor does not really know much about the bible when he or she turns Bible Study into regular Sunday service—where testimony, singing, and non-scriptural focused discourse are placed at the forefront over teaching and studying the Word of God.
  1. A lack of meaningful innovation. Although all change is not good change, numerous churches across the nation are declining or failing because they refuse to discontinue their useless traditions. This does not mean that they need to fuse secular phenomena into their church services and practices, but your churches shouldn’t suffer from routinization. Church leaders should listen closely to members about new ideas, and they should observe successful practices and programs of other churches and implement them.
  1. Jesus isn’t being made the top priority. Too many churches aren’t being governed by the dominant principle of Jesus being in first place in all matters. When this governing principle is absent, churches continue to decline and inevitably fail. In every decision that one makes in your church, there should always be a focus on how the decision reflects Jesus being put in first place.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

10 Reasons Your Church Could Be in Decline

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Don’t Blame It on the Alcohol

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When you do stupid stuff under the influence of alcohol, don’t blame it on the alcohol—blame it on your own stupid self! Alcohol has to take the blame for far too many things that it is not causing. Alcohol does not make people do stupid things—people do stuff things because they want to do them. When you know that drinking too much alcohol is going to cause you to act foolishly, you are to be held fully responsible for your actions—not the Grey Goose! While I love Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It,” it’s just a fun song; it’s not a song with a profound message for you to apply to your life. In some ways, I think Jamie Foxx’s song is actually making fun of how people use alcohol as an excuse for all of the poor decisions they make.

When you are drunk and run into a car and kill people, alcohol is not going to save you from prison. Alcohol is not going to bring those people back to life. Alcohol is not going to comfort the victims’ families.

I am not trying to discourage you from drinking alcohol. There’s nothing wrong with you drinking alcohol at all. I just want you to drink alcohol responsibly. If you are going to get drunk, make sure that you don’t plan to get behind the wheel of a car. The only time when it’s a problem for you to get drunk is when you put yourself in a position to hurt someone else because you are intoxicated. Don’t let your love of alcohol be the ruin of yourself, and please don’t let it be ruin of others.

Some people think that it’s so cute to say that they got so “messed up” from drinking alcohol. They go to extremes to try to promulgate that they got “messed up.” It seems to me that they are not simply enjoying the alcohol, but are enjoying the attention that the alcohol can get them. Drink for yourself—don’t drink for others.

Make sure that you are able to handle your alcohol. I have seen people become so violent when they are drunk. To men, being drunk is not an excuse for you to raise your hands and hit a woman. If you raise your hands and hit a woman while you are drunk, I think that you deserve to go to jail. I know that the judge is just going to love to hear your excuse that the alcohol made you do it.

Let alcohol be a commodity that bring us together and not one that destroys us. Alcohol can always be a positive commodity, but it’s going to take responsible consumers to always make it a positive commodity. If you are not a responsible person, then stay away from alcohol. If you are friends with a person who is not a responsible drinker, then encourage him or her to be a more responsible drinker. Your friend may reject your advice but at least you will have played a part in trying to get him or her to change the way he or she drinks.

Blame your ignorance on yourself!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Bombarded with Relationship Advice…

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givingadviceSometimes you can simply get too much relationship advice. Too much relationship advice can cause you to lack the will to solve your own relationship problems. Now, there’s nothing wrong with listening to the advice of others about your relationship problems, but don’t listen to too many voices. When you listen to too many voices about your relationship problems, this means you are talking to too many people about your relationship problems. You just might be having some of those relationship quandaries because you are sharing too much with too many folks. For those of you who have discovered that the more information you share with others about your relationship, the worse it gets. Pause one moment. Did you ever think about the reason that it keeps getting worse and worse stems from those people who you keep sharing information with all the time? The ones you are telling all of your relationship business to could be the ones that are going to take your woman or man—just a thought.

Women, when your man cheats on you, you just might want to seek out the advice of another man and not another woman. Many of the responses of women I have encountered will simply say, “Girl, you need to leave him.” Although cheating is one of the greatest betrayals, it’s not always best to simply discontinue a relationship with someone because he or she has cheated on you. The reason that many women will tell you that you should just leave him is they are not the ones who have to climb back in that empty bed night after night. No, I’m not advocating for you to let a man continue to dishonor you by cheating on you time after time, but you should not simply listen to the voices of people who are not going to rationally help you to think about this situation in its totality and who are not going to help you to make the decision that is truly best for you.

Yes, I know that I mentioned previously that you are bombarded with too much relationship advice and it seems that you are getting relationship advice from what I have composed thus far. The only reason that I have written what I have thus far is to cause you to seriously reflect on the relationship advice you get and to expose some of the irrationality and lack of depth in thought that accompanies much of the relationship advice you receive.

The person who needs to be the expert about the relationship you are in or about relationships in general is you. Why would you allow someone to be an expert about a person who you know better than he or she does? That’s silly! Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with getting other viewpoints, but you should not allow those viewpoints to skew the realities about the person you are in a relationship with.

It seems like every time I go to various blogs there’s someone giving people relationship advice. So many talk shows frequently focus on giving relationship advice. Too many people’s discourses are concentrated on relationship advice.  What qualifies a person to give relationship advice to another person? Why should anyone listen to what you have to say about relationships? Can your personal relationship advice really be applied to another person’s relationship?

Random question (I think): Why have so many people allowed Steve Harvey to become a popular national relationship “expert” for women and men?

On Facebook, I have noticed that people will disclose the things that are going on in their relationships through their statuses, and from what they have learned in their relationships, they will share with the rest of their Facebook friends their “profound epiphanies.”

Be more selective about the people who you elect to get relationship advice from when you are having relationship problems. Try to solve your own relationship problems before you let some blog writer, Steve Harvey, Oprah, your pastor, and/or others attempt to solve them for you. When you begin to feel overwhelmed with so much relationship advice, I want you to think about how much you are responsible for this feeling. Most of the time you are so bombarded with relationship advice because you allowed yourself to be overwhelmed with it.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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The Problem is You—Not Someone Else

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When one allows his or her challenges, problems and circumstances to overtake him or her, the resolution lies in the mirror. You are the problem. Stop running around trying to make it seem like the problem is someone else. Even when you do underhanded stuff to attempt to make the real problem seem like it’s someone else, the fact still remains the true problem is you. People will allow their intellectual and spiritual vision to become clouded by listening to the lies and noise of folks who really don’t mean to do them any good in the first place. You have to be careful who you lend your ears to, considering you might be lending them to someone who is responsible for your downward spiral or downfall. Always allow the wisdom and discernment God gives you to lead you, even when you’re at home with members of your immediate family. Lending your ears to the words and “advice” of those immediate family members may be the reason why you’re dealing with the challenges, problems and circumstances you’re currently facing.

A person who has great character does not allow what he or she is going through to have a deleterious impact on his or her character. People with great character rise above the problem and seek an effective and amicable resolution to the problem.

If you’re truly interested in resolving your problems, then you should welcome the input of people you’ve known for a long time. When they offer their opinions and critiques, you shouldn’t turn them into your enemies simply because they express unsettling sentiments. Those unsettling sentiments might be the vehicles through which you realize what you need to do to remedy your problems. God intentionally designed us to be dependent on one another, evidenced from the beginning of the world by Adam’s longing for human companionship and a “help meet.” Never allow a spirit of intolerance to cause you to think and act ignorantly.

When people challenge you, embrace the challenge.

Never be afraid to acknowledge and admit you’re losing your way. Although people are willing to give superficial support to someone who says, “be yourself,” many don’t demonstrate an authentic commitment to being themselves.

Get out of your comfort zone and respond to your problems candidly. You will live a more enjoyable life when you muster the courage to deal squarely with your problems. Take the necessary time to conduct a frank self-assessment. Engage in deep thought about the way you process problems and your style(s) for addressing them. Make the essential modifications and begin to live life to the fullest.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Church Shouldn’t Mirror the Night Club

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In many churches, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish them from nightclubs. The Apostle Paul delivered a New Covenant of Grace command to Believers: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). When preachers allow elements of the nightclub to become regular parts of their services, they engender a milieu within their Sanctuaries that becomes confused. At one moment, many preachers are passionately advocating holy living; however, at another moment, they’re permitting young and old congregants to participate in worldliness inside of the church. There should be a clear distinction between what’s sacred and what’s secular—those borders shouldn’t be blurred. To attract young people to church and engage them once they arrive, it’s unnecessary to dilute authentic spirituality and Christian worship to make this possible. Jesus should never be lost in anything we do in the church.

Secular music concatenated with some references to God or Jesus here and there is still secular music. Lipstick on a pig is still lipstick on pig—no matter how sophisticated you attempt to portray it.

You cannot put “Christian” in front of any music genre and try to present it as appropriate for church services. Although genuine Christian rap of the type Lecrae offers is appropriate for church services, everyone purporting to be “Christian rappers” aren’t. They’re secular rappers wanting to use churches as spaces to expand their recognition and spheres of influence. When you allow secular rappers masquerading as Christian rappers to perform constantly in your churches, you’re inviting those unclean spirits to reside in your churches as well. After they perform, don’t expect to come behind them and have powerful, life-changing sermons. Don’t expect people to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit after you’ve endorsed all of those evil spirits to come into the church. Many preachers simply aren’t consulting the Lord about the decisions they make and aren’t seeking divine wisdom.

When the House of God becomes the nightclub, God is not pleased and He will hold the pastor of each church that does this accountable.

Young people don’t have to be moved simply by secular beats to come to church and be involved in it. They’re more complex than that. If church leaders would simply offer these young people Jesus, they will drink from the cup of Grace Christ extends to them. You can attract young people to church by offering them opportunities to honor God in ways truly pleasing to Him. Give young people opportunities to sing traditional and contemporary gospel songs. Let them give inspirational messages about their love for Jesus and what He means in their life. Have them to create and recite Christ-centered poetry. Use the diverse talents and skills the young people in your church and community have to glorify Christ by encouraging them to make Jesus the true focus of everything they present during church services.

God’s Altar is sacred and should never be desecrated—neither should His Sanctuary.

When leading the unsaved to Salvation through the Prayer of Salvation, preachers commonly conclude the Prayer of Salvation by asking, “According to what you’ve just prayed, where is Jesus?” Unfortunately, too many of those same preachers aren’t asking the same query when it comes to allowing secular music to be performed in their churches.

Keep what’s holy, holy; keep what’s sacred, sacred. If the shoe fits, wear it. Period.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

http://revolutionarypaideia.com/2014/12/11/church-shouldnt-mirror-the-nightclub/

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Overcoming Undercover Enemies…

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                       (Photo credit: Money Matters 101)

Your greatest enemies may not be the folks you think: they may be the people you least think.  It’s vital for you to keep your eyes and ears tuned to what’s going on around you. By doing this, you can become more aware of things that can be transpiring behind your back.  Unfortunately, too many people hang around individuals who they think support them, but behind-the-scenes they’re stabbing them in the back.  Yes, folks will laugh with you on the phone and when you hang out, but that does not mean they really like you. They may be using their ability to stay in close connection with you to plan and execute their evil hidden agendas.

Watch out for those people who are always talking about someone to you; chances are they’re talking about you with someone else.

We often don’t engage in enough careful thought about the people in our lives.  Those people you allow in your lives can be some of the very individuals causing you to experience the most vexing problems.  From my experience with people who have been my undercover enemies, I can tell you that I didn’t take serious the warning signs they might be or become my enemies.  While I placed trust in them and devoted significant time to them, I failed to recognize the impact their selfishness and low self-esteem would have on me.  When you love someone, a natural proclivity to accept all that comes with him or her surfaces.  I Peter 1:8 informs us that “love covers a multitude of sins.”  When you have true love for someone, it will, indeed, cover a multitude of  his or her sins.  What you have to do, however, is not allow your love for people to keep you in a state of blindness.

When people don’t really care for you, they will do some direct and subtle things to you.  It’s your job to look for those direct and subtle things.  The subtle things can be the most challenging to detect, however.  What I have found to be one of the most useful ways to determine if someone close to me or someone I spend a considerable amount of time with is really against me is to have honest conversations with him or her about our relationship.  I’ve learned to ask the following questions and more: What do you like most about me? Why do you enjoy spending time with me?  What do you dislike most about me?  What’s one quality you adore most about the person you admire most?  When you ask the aforementioned questions and more, observe any selfishness you see in the responses and any low self-esteem that could ultimately cause problems in your relationship.  Look for any uneasiness the person has speaking about the relationship you share.

If you talk to a person long enough, he or she will tell you everything.

Again, I’ve had some enemies I was unable to identify, but I’ve provided you with ways to recognize your own undercover enemies.  Although you might not want to hear it, you should watch out everyone; nothing’s wrong with being too careful.  Even your closest friends and family members may allow themselves to be used by the forces of evil.

What do you do now that you’ve identified your undercover enemies?  Don’t let them know you know who they really are.  Discontinue hanging out with them and talking to them on the phone.  Let the relationship die a natural death.  Most of your undercover enemies are arrogant enough to think you’ll never discover who they really are, and they will think they hold a certain power over you with this “secret knowledge.”  You will, however, be the one with the real knowledge and power.  You will have removed their disguises and they will not even know it, and you will have the power to turn their evil plans upside down—they’ll never see it coming!

What are some of the problems you struggle with?  Share those problems with me.  We may be able to arrive at some solutions together.  It’s a good thing to converse with people who are genuinely committed to helping you solve your problems.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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10 Ways to Emancipate Yourself from Mental Slavery

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If you desire to emancipate yourself from mental slavery, then the following is a list of ten ways that will lead you to liberating yourself from mental slavery:

  1. Never be a “people-pleaser.”
  2. Give yourself the freedom to think for yourself.
  3. Never worry about the judgments of others.
  4. Always be yourself.
  5. Benefit from learning from revolutionaries. Observe them directly and/or read about them. Learn what makes/made them distinctive and truly liberated.
  6. Enjoy the beauty of everyday life.
  7. Don’t fall in love with tradition of any kind.
  8. Bloom where you’re planted. Be great and a leader in the areas and gifts you naturally have and/or have worked to obtain.
  9. Read and learn something new every day.
  10. Learn how to see things from the perspectives of others and not just your own perspective.

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-Antonio Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Commentary on “If We Must Die” by Claude McKay

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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

www.revolutionarypaideia.com

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