On February 20, 1895, Frederick Douglass attended a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D.C. During that meeting, he was brought to the platform and given a standing ovation by the audience. It would be the last speech he would give. Shortly after he returned home, Frederick Douglass died of a massive stroke and passed into legend. Over a century later, the voice and blood of our ancestors endure in his descendant, Dr. Umar Johnson.
Even for those of us brand new to Pan-Africanism, chances are that you are already familiar with Brother Umar Johnson from Hidden Colors 2, or from hundreds of Youtube videos and lectures around the country.
As a matter of fact, Black History Week, which was the former name during its early years, was so formed to commemorate the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, who have their birthdays in the second week of February. It was in 1976 that the Black History Week became the Black History Month celebrating the history, culture and evolution of the African American people.
Dr Umar Johnson is a renowned psychologist, known particularly for his diagnosis of psychological health of children aged 3 to 21 years and for his staunch support and promotion of Pan African thought and being. Dr. Umar Johnson is a nationally certified school psychologist and has been working in Philadelphia to help African American children cope with real psychological problems, and the trap of misdiagnosis within public schools.
With his motivational lectures, aid initiatives for African American kids, political commentary and assessment, critic and contribution to Black education and Black psychology, he has become a household name in Pan-African circles. Some of the most popular viewpoints propagated by Dr. Umar Johnson are on the conspiracy to destroy Black boys, disparities for African American students in the Public School System, Black Relationships, and homosexuality.
What Dr Umar Johnson Teaches
The Umar Johnson Theory of Black Male Alienation posits that a five-stage cycle of institutional repression exists that has effectively sent more black men to jail than it has to college. Any attempt to reverse this war against America’s most misunderstood population begins with a firm analysis of the process and it’s origins in boyhood.
Americans, including Blacks, have become so desensitized to the pain of Black boys and so expectant of their failures that their pain is often overlooked and their achievements treated like occasional glitches in a system that has successfully made Black boys a permanent underclass in this country.
The five stages of the Abdullah-Johnson theory of Black Male Alienation are:
2. Psychotropic Medication
3. Mass Incarceration
In one of his most recent lectures in Chicago, he laid out the facts and spoke truth to power:
FACT #1: Black boys are turned off from public education based upon the treatment they receive by a primarily White female teacher population beginning in kindergarten and intensifying by middle school.
FACT #2: Black boys are referred for learning disability and special education support programs intentionally to remove them from the general student population due to routine behavior problems thusly preparing them for a life of marginalization and prison.
FACT #3: Black boys are sent to detention centers and juvenile delinquent programs which interrupts their schooling and encourages school drop-out especially in states where returning to public school after such a placement is illegal.
FACT #4: Prisons are being used as concentration camps for Black men to be detained since the society-at-large is not interested in hiring these men by equipping them with decent livable wage jobs.
FACT #5: American society is more responsible than any Black man for the destabilization of the Black family by stealing fathers away from sons and thusly removing role models and over-burdening Black women with the dual role of both working for and raising their children without any paternal assistance.
FACT #6: The war on drugs has been a war on Black men and has served to destroy the Black community and strip it of its most valuable resource, its men.
FACT #7: Black boys are more likely to be put on dangerous psychiatric medications for emotional problems while White boys are more likely to receive valuable psychotherapy for the causes of their behavior problems, which come with no side effects.
This information has been written to serve as a warning to the Black community, and all of America, to stop institutionalizing and brain drugging our sons. They are normal children and can be successful like other youth, and will respond to love and proper treatment like anyone else.
On Disparities for African American Students in the Public School System
In his article, Rethinking School Desegregation: Was It A Curse Or Cure For Black Male Students?, Dr Umar Johnson chronicles the rise of neo-segregation within the public school system, and suggests re-segregation, a suggestion that we here have made in several articles, including this one. He writes;
“Although never documented in any educational law writings, special education was the panacea that gave calm to White school districts assuring them that they wouldn’t have to truly integrate their schools, but only give the appearance of doing so. When forced busing policies really began to heat up, especially in northern states, in the late ’60s and early ’70s, white schools were able to get away with “cosmetic integration” policies that forced Black children, who rode in on cheese buses, to remain together for the entire school day.
To outside observers, the school appeared integrated, but inside the building, it was business as usual. When community leaders began to push back against the “cosmetic integration” practices of principals and superintendents, coincidentally, special education was born. Now these very same racist public school officials had the ability to legitimize their “Separate But Equal” schooling by slave-stamping the cheese-bus-riding-Blacks with “learning disability” and “mental retardation” labels. This new program, federal special education, the legal right to segregate learning disability students, allegedly, for their own educational benefit, was just the weapon to fix the race problem.
“For the past 37 years special education has been used to hold in check the promises of the 1954 Brown decision.”– Dr Umar Johnson Quote
Who has been the greatest victim of this modernized segregation policy disguised as special education? Clearly, Black boys have had to bear the greater portion of the burden for their communities forcing them to attend schools where they were not wanted. Had it not been for forced integration, special education may have never been created. Yes, children with true disabilities, like blindness & autism, would have had to receive the services they needed.
Nonetheless, the use and abuse of the “Specific Learning Disability” classification, disproportionately applied to Black learners, wouldn’t be half the problem that it is today for Black parents. In fact, the “Emotional & Behavioral Disturbance” classification, created specifically to castigate Black boys who refused to accept White Rule, would have never been manufactured out of thin air. The most interesting fact of the so-called school desegregation process is that it only focused on the desegregation of student populations, it never address desegregation of the teaching ranks. That’s right, Black children today, as was the case in the ’60s & ’70s, are still almost exclusively taught by white educators.
Why didn’t the Supreme Court address the issue of desegregation within the teacher ranks? After all, isn’t it only fair that if we are to expect Black children to be taught by White teachers, that White children should have to be taught by Black ones? Or better yet, wouldn’t it be a benefit if Black children, attending racially hostile schools, can have the opportunity of being instructed by someone who looks like them – at least once in a while?”
Dr Umar Johnson On Black Relationships
In this article, Dr. Johnson has offered several ruling themes that destroys both the integrity of Black relationships, as well as the strength of family structures.
“As a child therapist, who spends much of my time navigating the parental relationship in order to create an atmosphere of normalcy in which our children can function, and as a doctor of clinical psychology, who studies the emotional and psychological conditions that give rise to relationship difficulties that are unique to African-Americans, I have discovered that there are several themes running through failed families that if brought to your consciousness may help you escape a dead-end relationship, or be able to help resuscitate a dying one back into new life:
1) SEARCHING FOR SECURITY: UNMET EMOTIONAL NEEDS FROM CHILDHOOD
2) SELF-HATRED: LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO LOVE YOU
3) MATERIALISM MELTDOWN: BUYING HAPPINESS
4) ESCAPING MISERY: LOOKING FOR A WAY OUT OF YOUR PAIN
5) POST-TRAUMATIC RELATIONSHIP DISORDER: THE GHOST OF RELATIONSHIPS PAST
6) TYRANNY OF YOUR INNER CHILD: THE PAIN BODY EXPERIENCE
7) WE DON’T HAVE ANYTHING IN COMMON: THE CLASH OF VALUES
8) BLENDING THE UNBLENDABLE FAMILY: YOUR CHILDREN OR OUR CHILDREN
According to Dr. Umar, these 8 themes gives the Black community the power to rebuild our family survival units.
Controversies Surrounding The Dr Umar Johnson School and Behavior
Like all people, Dr Umar Johnson is not without his flaws. For years he has solicited donations for a school that never seemed to materialize. Every year since 2014, Dr. Johnson has promised a school, and 2019 was no different. When his Instagram account featured a post announcing the official opening of the school, many people were doubtful. The Root sarcastically wrote:
This time was different from the 2014 video when he began asking for donations to open the Frederick Douglass Marcus Garvey Leadership Academy for black boys. It was different from when he claimed he had enough funds to purchase St. Paul’s College that same year. This wasn’t like his 2015 speech when he promised to open the school in 2016.
Then he said Paypal froze his accounts. So we waited until 2017.
Then he said GoFundme closed his accounts and took “about $100,000” even though that amount is at about 10 times Gofundme’s actual rate but you should feel free to mail him a donation because he was definitely going to open a school in 2018.
Then Johnson claimed he had the $400,000 that was donated and his woke followers believed him even though he has never shown receipts. Even though he has never shown a business plan. Even though he has never obtained a license or shown a single step towards building Ifatunde Technical Institute except saying words.The Root
As of the writing of this article, there is no mention of an official opening date or location of his school on the Dr Umar Johnson official website.
And much was made about his involvement with a woman who called herself the ‘Conscious Stripper’. While the incident calls into question the hypocrisy of his words and actions, the incident appeared to have been a quarrel between two consenting adults.
And Dr. Umar is notorious for internet feuds. While his online spats are more indicative of his need for a publicist than a lack of intellectual veracity, it makes clear to us that Dr. Umar Johnson is an excellent teacher but an ineffective leader.
Despite these glaring controversies, Dr. Umar Johnson has done much to introduce the masses to the principles of Pan-Africanism.
For his contributions to Pan-Africanism and speaking truth to power, we hail Dr. Umar Johnson as a living legend of Black History.
What do you think? Should we honor Dr. Umar Johnson? Or do his actions – or lack thereof – speak louder than his words? Leave a comment below.