“All my skinfolk ain’t kinfolk.”: The need to approach black patriarchal male leadership skeptically

Charing Ball recently wrote an excellent article for Madame Noire, where she discusses the latest shenanigans of Dr. Umar Johnson, a favorite in many afrocentric/ black nationalist/ Pan-Africanist circles. Johnson is currently seeking donations to buy St. Paul’s College a former HBCU that closed June 30, 2013. Johnson is proposing to buy the property for $5 million dollars and to start the Frederick Douglass Marcus Garvey  RGB International Leadership Academy. Charing Ball aptly lays out many reasons why this is problematic. She discusses his homophobia and his misogyny which can be seen in many of the videos of lectures and interviews he has given online. Throughout his work are bizarre conspiracy theories about homosexuality as plot by white supremacists to destroy or depopulate the black community and a host of other pseudo-scientific views. He is also a misogynist who blames black women for psychologically damaging their sons and making them gay. He is also featured in the Hidden Colors series, directed by fellow pseudo-historian Tariq Nasheed. I shudder to think what hateful men this school would turn out, when its founders ideologies label black women and black gays and lesbians as race traitors or potential enemies of the black community.

But another one of the big issues with his proposal is his lack of a business plan. Johnson proposes to purchase the campus for $5 million but there is no discussion of the annual cost of running or maintaining the campus. Or what tuition may cost to families who are daft enough to send their children to be influenced by this man. Not to mention that this would be a pretty ostentatious move for anyone to make, but particularly when they haven’t even opened or operated a school themselves. There is absolutely no indication from his previous endeavors that he is capable of running a food truck, let alone an 11-building 185 acre college campus.  Doesn’t seem to be a good start for a school, the aims of which are to teach students how to be  self-employed and entrepreneurial, does it?

Johnson has also opted for a few of the least transparent ways to fund raise in the digital age utilizing donations from PayPal and snail  mail. The lack of transparency, his dubious credentials, and his hateful views should be more than enough to give one pause. It has been interesting especially to see people I know who are apt to regard church finances skeptically due to a lack of transparency and follow through, expressing enthusiasm over the mere two and a half minute video of Johnson requesting donations. It reminds me of the film When Cotton Comes to Harlem, adapted from the novel by Chester Himes. In it Reverend Deke O’Malley presents himself as a Marcus Garvey like figure, raising funds for a ship line to transport black people in America to Africa. It doesn’t take long before it is revealed that O’Malley is running a scam. The film is pretty entertaining but what it impressed upon me as a child is that not everyone who claims to represent or work towards the betterment of the black community or social justice is doing so. I cannot say with absolutely certainty that this will turn out to be a scam like the one in the film but I think that given the lack of forethought and transparency that it is certainly likely. But, even if Johnson’s plans for the donated funds he is receiving are above board (since I doubt that he will raise the $5 million or be able to maintain the St. Paul’s Campus if he were able to acquire it), there is no way that he can be working to improve the black community while embracing an ideology that casts parts of that community, the same gender loving black men and women, black mothers, etc as race traitors, mentally ill, or otherwise deviant. It is an ideology that he intends to teach to impressionable young children.

The defense of Johnson and reactions to the criticism of Charing Ball is demonstrative of the paranoia and misogyny that seems to be part and parcel of many of these afrocentric/ Pan-Africanist/ black nationalist or what I like to call tofu-dashikiist communities. Merely being a woman questioning the motives or methods of people like Johnson, Tariq Nasheed, and others is enough to get you labeled as a lesbian (as though that is the worst thing you can be) or “negro bed wench”. This is something I have experienced directly on many occasions, including, when I and Kimberly Veal criticized the Hidden Colors series. What does it say about these men, these movements, and their followers, when any question or challenge to their views is met with such vitriol? What does it say that challenges to their world view are not evaluated based on their merits? To me it says that they value ideology above all even the community they are supposed to help.


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23 thoughts on ““All my skinfolk ain’t kinfolk.”: The need to approach black patriarchal male leadership skeptically

  1. These do have good intentions. Something about white supremacy, especially the academic holocaust that is occurring in black schools, and across the world. These men have knowledge to give, although they are very patriarchal and hyper-masculine misogynist.


  3. That’s not good intentions, Isaac. That’s highway robbery. These men do not have knowledge to give. According to this, all these men have are intentions to mentally and emotionally abuse children through running an educational institution. It reminds me of the Koch Bros interests in the UNCF. On the surface, it looks utopian but underneath, it’s all rotten and evil. Giving these Black and White Millionaires passes is never a good thing.

    • Something needs to be done. Sometimes you have to put differences aside, and the main issue right now IS WHITE SUPREMACY, a global issue that affects all people of color, especially black people, and particularly black males. What is going on in these schools are a disgrace. It is just disgusting. Tariq has a lot of knowledge to give, especially when it comes to race, history, the elite, and general social dynamics. And this man obviously isn’t a millionaire, which is why he needed the money.

      • lizh08 says:

        Isaac you yourself acknowledge their hyper-masculinity and misogyny; so, please tell me as a woman why I would want to support a person with that kind of mindset? Why would I want to put my son in the hands of people who have misogynistic, sexist, and hyper-masculine mindsets? That’s no better than white supremacy. How does that benefit me as a woman or any daughters I might have?

      • Thank you for your reply. I agree with you wholeheartedly. @ Lizh08

      • These are not minor differences. Who are you to judge the main issue and deny the experiences of black women and black same gender loving men and women? I can’t stop being a woman any more than I can stop being black so who are you to say that patriarchy is not an issue that deserve the time or attention of black women. And since black women in the black community make up at least half of the community, what concerns us should concern all. But because of patriarchy heterosexist black men can’t recognize our issues as being valid. And Tariq is an idiot.

  4. Raina thank you so much for this expose!

  5. […] For more details you can read analysis by fellow WP blogger Raina over at Rhoades to Reality here and her follow-up blog as well. Now I had no qualms with the idea of the school focusing on a […]

  6. Johnz Doe says:

    I think people who have an issue with this school should attempt to open their own schools for whichever group they deem it necessary for.

    Secondly when beginning any project there are always millions of reasons NOT to go forward with it. There were millions of reasons not to march for civil rights or not to conduct experiments to improve on patents. Imperfections can be repaired along the way. It’s better than the alternative of doing nothing.

    • Saying that someone who has an issue with this school create their own school is not an argument. Also, I never gave millions of reasons I gave two good reasons why this school should not open; because of the founder’s dehumanizing views on women people who identify as LGBT; and his inexperience and the lack of a substantive plan. These are not imperfections these are ignorant viewpoints that lead to violence discrimination towards women and people who identify as LGBT. It is counterproductive for our community to spread those views especially when they are views to be taught to impressionable young children.

  7. Quel Douglas says:

    People why not give him a chance!!? He is trying to put an end to white supremacy which is the main goal. If it turns out to be a scam then shame on him but this is why the black race is down and that’s because we don’t support one another. This blog could be the reason why he doesn’t reach the 5 mil goal and you could stop something that could turn out to be really good for black boys. And another thing it’s no question that the homosexuality rate in black men is rising every year. It is being force fed obviously to the black community. White people know that if they make every black man gay then it will destroy their population. That’s pretty simple. Stop talking about petty flaws and talk about all the good that could come outta this. I mean really black people in general including myself blow money anyways so why not put it to a good cause??

    • Because his views are hateful and counterproductive. Part of white supremacist patriarchy is the oppresion of women and people who identify as LGBT. If yor main goal is not dismantling white supremacist patriarchy than you you are pro-patriarchy and therefore for the oppression of women and people who identify as LGBT. We shouldn’t support people who are not for ending the oppression of all of our people and some of our people are black AND LGBT. Where are the statistics showing an increase in the homosexuality rate? If you are seeing an increase it is because we live at a time where people are increasingly feeling more comfortable coming out and being themselves. There is no plot to make every black man gay to destroy the population. Especially when just under 4% of American people identified themselves as LGBT in 2011. That sounds like a pretty stupid plan. This is not about petty flaws this is about not supporting people who spread misinformation and dehumanizing ideologies. It is not a good cause.

      • Now that I think about it, as someone who is also gay, I agree.

      • TruthLies WithinMe says:

        I agree with everything you have stated Rhoades, and would like to add that he believes pedophiles and rapist can be rehabilitated, fixed, and let back into the community. ANYONE who agree and thinks that a pedophile can be rehabilitated is a pedophile and should not be around children.

      • I honestly don’t know whether or not pedophiles can be rehabilitated. And I can’t say that I believe and I have no reason to believe that Umar Johnson is a pedophile. All I can say is that many of his views are troubling and I am concerned about the impact his teachings and beliefs may have on young children. I don’t think that they would lead to the growth of healthy, well rounded, rational, and loving adults.

  8. Mariah says:

    Can we just admit that black men whether leaders are not, tend to be so full of shit, intraracism and sexism; that the smartest thing a black woman can do is avoid most, if not all of them COMPLETELY.

    They have shown time and again that whether in positions of leadership or not that their main target for malice is black women. Black women who are smart need to see the forest for the trees..these men are NO GOOD.

    • I don’t think I can agree with that completely. If anything most people are FOS. But certainly intraracism and sexism are real issues in our community. I don’t think that these men are no good but the system of white supremacist patriarchy certainly is.

  9. Jeremy Radcliffe says:

    You should be ashamed of yourself brother Umar speaks the truth, you are a trader for your words

    • First, it is spelled traitor. Second, he doesn’t speak the truth. Most of what he speaks is straight up garbage. So I am not ashamed.

    • TruthLies WithinMe says:

      James even the devil spoke to Truth, but guess what he was the damn devil and wants to spread evil. Like the truth shouldn’t be the only thing that you can say about Umar. Like noooooooooooooooo one had mentioned his character and intentions. OR that fact that he has kids himself, and isn’t a active parent in in kids lives. So, what sense does it make to take advice or give my boys minds over to a male who is walking the walk he speaks? Oh and not to mention that he believe pedophiles can be rehabilitated. Im sorry im not gambling with my sons mind, body, and soul for an undercover pedophile for the sake of black unity. Nope. This situation scream Penn State all over.

      Annnnnnd everything that he speaks on is AVAILABLE to anyone who has the time and comprehension skills to pay attention to what is going on around us. He is repeating, differently, what GREAT men before him said.

  10. […] “All my skinfolk ain’t kinfolk.”: The need to approach black patriarchal male lead… […]

  11. Damon Fordham says:

    Well, its been over a year now. Any word on the St. Paul’s project?

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