If You Don’t Stand for Something, You Will Fall for Anything

Our cultural traditions value truth, justice, and freedom among all things. Dr. King got in trouble for his protests with “white liberals” because they said he should get along with segregation, but he noted it was morally repugnant and unjust and that silence in the face of that was complicity. I get along with people all over the world, but I have never been willing to sacrifice truth and what is right to do so, and if the people in question are truly people of right and justice themselves, they would never ask me to do such a thing.

There can be and actually SHOULD be no intellectual consensus on that which is PROVABLY FALSE and MORALLY WRONG. That stands against everything scholarship is about. Only Eurocentric relativists believe that everything is up for debate and nothing is certain. I’m not one of them and think those who subscribe to that are far outside the realm of being able to do much practical scholarship on political and social issues involving oppression, because they are the ones who will ultimately legitimate status quo configurations of power on the grounds that one just “thinks” or “perceives” that they are oppressed (the folks who invite you to look at slavery from the slavemasters’ point of view or the police beating from the perspective of the officers DOING the beating) and their narratives are always trying to get the oppressed to capitulate rather than addressing themselves to power.

I reject the Napoleonic Eurocentric vision of history or any other discipline as “a lie agreed upon.” Certainly there is always an ideological dimension to knowledge, yet I am not a relativist, and I do believe there is truth and I believe a true scholar and a TRUE institution of learning should seek it when it can be found in all situations.

Afrikan people have always been told to “get along” by Eurocentric philosophy. Get along with slavery, get along with segregation, and it’s always by the people who are not vulnerable to the problems and not effected if nothing changes anyway.

As Digital Underground’s Humpty said “Allow me to introduce myself..my name is Mani…” It’s time for someone to tell the truth and I intend to, the whole truth, until the end. I am here because I serve first God, second the ancestors, third the people, and only after those do we get to do various other social and political constituencies. These first three REQUIRE truth and justice and to “go along” with unethical and untruthful acts merely to collect a paycheck or have a position would be disrespectful and betrayal with respect to each of them. I WILL NOT betray, nor be bought or sold for ANY price. My dignity is NOT for sale and I will not be party to any political ruse or subterfuge aimed at destroying or undermining institutions that the community fought for and built. I may not be able to stop them, but I will NOT be complicit. Too many are and too many have been. I will stand until the last moment of my last day even if it is today.

Whenever I introduce myself to officials I will be working with or for in an institution, Eurocentric or otherwise, I say “I am a straight shooter. I will always tell you the truth and act on the truth and acknowledge the decisions I make. You may not always agree with my decisions, but I will always tell you what they are, explain my rationale, and take responsibility.” I have always kept my word. Even when I am involved in negative events. I take responsibility, apologize if need be, and try to atone for my error and I ask God to help me. The problem is that I believe in holding others to the same standards. And that I also believe a GREAT institution or one that aspires to be, will accept such standards as its own and strive towards them. There is perhaps no institution that must do so more, than a institution that would call itself “educational.”

There are times when “getting it right” is more important than “getting along”. Narrow is the way, straight is the gate. “Getting along” often means “going along,” which means heading towards the same mutual destination. A critical question for you before you make a decision to strive to “get along” and “go along” in a particular situation is whether you are actually trying to go where everyone you are “going along with” and “getting along with” are going.


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