Dr. Umar Johnson speaks about GMOs, Government, Naturopathy, Natural Hair, Faith
Dr. Umar Johnson speaks about GMO’s, Government, Naturopathy, Natural Hair, Faith and much more
Interviewed and written by Aaron Robinson and Tocarra Eldridge
Cover photo credit: Cedric H. Jones
Cover photo credit: Cedric H. Jones
As an ancestor of Frederick Douglass, Dr. Umar Johnson was called upon by the universe to make an astonishing change for all Black communities and for every existing African across the world. Dr. Umar Johnson is a Certified School Psychologist and doctor of Clinical psychology who holds numerous degrees in political science and education.
We had the opportunity to interview Dr. Umar Johnson, who is one of the most requested and highly sought after motivational and informational speaker in the world. Here is an extremely powerful and very informational message that he shared with the readers.
Aaron Robinson: How do you define Consciousness and what does Conscious Leadership mean to you?
Dr. Umar Johnson: Consciousness for me is a two part construct. Firstly, it requires that one, you’re thoroughly educated and aware about all the forces, major and minor, that serve to undermine the progress of African people, and also all the forces, major and minor, that can serve to advance the cause of African people. That includes our history, our culture, our spirituality, our intellectual potential, our family systems and traditions. It includes knowing all the bad that is working against us, but also knowing all the good that we’ve done, as well as all the potential that we have. That’s one half – the Consciousness itself.
The other half I think we struggle with a little bit in the Conscious community and in the African neighborhood as a whole is the action phase of consciousness. To know does not change anything; to do is what changes it. So, the other action that is required is the responsibility and the accountability to make a difference.
Aaron Robinson: You are an ancestor of Frederick Douglass. Somewhere in your life something inspired you to take on this great endeavor. Was there one specific piece of advice or information that you received from a mentor or guru in which you attribute to making you the conscious leader that you are today? If so, who was that individual and what was that pertinent piece of information?
Dr. Umar Johnson: Great question! Primarily, I would say that the example lead by Frederick Douglass, who I do consider the greatest black man that walked on American soil, I think his example, being a blood relative of me, gave me a sense of responsibility to try to finish what he started. I would also say that my motivation to do this work is something that was influenced by a lot of elders that I met in my life who played a role in my development. As a youth, I was always one who really listened to the counsel of the elders. I was always blessed to just have people walk up to me who could teach me something. So, I would say it was the collectiveness of the elders that I came in contact with throughout my life that inspired me to stay on this path, although I would say it was my bloodline ancestors that actually got me started on the path.
Tocarra Eldridge: What are your thoughts regarding Blacks who claim to have faith in God, but who are totally dependent on the government for monthly cash assistance? For example, if their faith in God is truly that high, why do they panic when there is talk about maybe their government or work checks being late or funds being cut? Is that a contradiction? Why don’t they just depend on their higher power to get them through minus the government assistance?
Dr. Umar Johnson: Here is the thing; slavery gave us a very unhealthy relationship to supreme consciousness. It gave us a very unhealthy perspective of God. The average black person, their concept of God is based on an external locust of control. In other words, if anything is going to change in our life, it must happen from outside…God has to make the change for me. But in African cosmology, it is internal locust of control. God exists but God exists within you as well, and to the extent that you want to solve an issue, God is working and solving that issue because you are one of the many manifestations of supreme consciousness. That is saying, if we are going to get out of slavery or from under white supremacists we are going to have to fight to do it. The slave masters knew that if he conditioned them to a God that had an external locust of control, that doesn’t work through you but works for you, it would make us dependent on external events for our salvation. That is the problem with black people today.
Now, when we talk about blacks being dependent on the government subsidies, I like to only refer to that as a collective, because we do have single mothers out there who need that type of assistance because the black community does not have the economics and structure necessary to provide for all the needs of our people. If they need the assistance, I don’t have a problem with them getting the assistance.
But, I know what you’re meaning to say that [why believers don’t depend on their higher power rather than government] and I agree with you. How can you be so spiritual, how can you claim to be so in touch with the universe, how can you claim to be so in touch with your ancestors and so in tuned with almighty God, but at the same time this so called spiritual power that you claim you have in abundance is not manifesting in your life. It is a contradiction my sister.
Aaron Robinson: How can we get through to the youth via conscious leaders like yourself? More so, how do we get through to the youth who are on their way to destruction and distracted by television, playing video games and just plain nonsense? What is the key to getting them to make the appropriate changes to better themselves and become leaders like yourself?
Dr. Umar Johnson: We have to keep in mind that our youth are very very intelligent; because of that it is easy for them to discern a sincere person from an insincere person. They can discern a coward from a courageous person. Because of that, I think the youth are often blamed for not listening to their elders; however, I would argue that a lot of that is not the fault of the youth.
I think the other issue with that relates to intergenerational transfer of knowledge. We cannot expect the youth to just sit there and listen forever without being given the opportunity to flex their leadership muscles, flex their intellectual muscles, and flex their organizational muscles. We have to give them the opportunity to lead.
Tocarra Eldridge: Many Blacks have become accustomed to depending on physicians and the pharmaceutical industry’s chemical drugs for healing and cures. Since we’ve become so conditioned to this, how do we change the mindset of these individuals, getting them to see and believe that there are other options… and that so-called incurable diseases like cancer and diabetes can be cured by naturopathy and the self healing process thru the use of natural therapies?
Dr. Umar Johnson: Couple things! Number one, demonstration. There is nothing that succeeds like success when black people see examples of alternative medicine or an example of anything alternative in the community that yields success; they’ll be more likely to experiment with it themselves. We have to recognize that our people are bandwagon people because they no longer naturally feel honored to be an African. So, in order to get them energized about anything we want to get them to do - whether it’s health, education, community organization or fighting against police brutality - we have to show them, we have to build momentum before we can expect them to join in. That’s not the way we want it to be; we want people to get in at the grassroots and help us build that momentum, but that’s not how our people are. They want to see success; you have to prove to them that it works before they’ll join. That’s why many are called, but a few are chosen.
We also have to recognize that you can’t change someone from without; all change is from within. We can try to influence and motivate, but at the end of the day they are going to have to want to change. Black people have been sold a sad song about who they are and we’re going to have to sell them a positive song about who they are. We’re going to have to market what the African is all over again for African people in order to change their perspective.
Tocarra Eldridge: A great deal of Black people who I encounter on a daily are not aware that GMO’s exist and do not even know what GMO’s are. In the meantime, Monsanto has made billions, while millions of people have suffered. What are your thoughts on Genetically Modified foods and how do we educate Blacks regarding GMO’s and to also become more conscious of the foods we intake?
Dr. Umar Johnson: I don’t support GMO’s at all. In fact in my lecture in Kansas City last night I was talking about the GMO movement and how I believe many of the so called all natural food markets are also selling genetically modified foods but still call that organic. We have to realize that capitalism is trying to manipulate black people’s desire to eat better by simply stamping non nutritional foods as nutritional. So we have to educate our people a whole lot better.
We have to keep in mind the role of population control and the growth of the GMO movement. GMO’s were not primarily designed for capitalism to get rich; it was primarily designed to reduce the amount of Africans in the world. The GMO has become the weapon of choice in African countries where a lot of African countries are being forced to buy GMO products because as you said companies like Monsanto and others are actively trying to remove all the natural seeds from the world. They don’t want any natural seeds.
Tocarra Eldridge: I am a Black person who embraces my natural hair despite the negative stigma that society has put in place, often referring to our tightly coiled hair as nappy or unattractive. Most often we don’t see influential figures or celebrities that look like us on prime TV shows or movies – rocking natural afros, puffs, locks, etc. Instead we are portrayed with straight European type hair. How do we get the mindset of our Sisters to change so that they realize our kinky hair is beautiful and also embrace their natural beauty and natural curls, no matter if they are loose or tightly coiled?
Dr. Umar Johnson: The hating of natural hair by black women is one of the foremost psychological residuals of slavery manifestations of post traumatic slavery disease for black women. We have to recognize the power of positive influence.
The biggest thing that keeps black women from going natural despite the influence from natural sisters and natural brothers, and that is other black women who don’t change. There are a lot of black women who are aggressively fighting against the natural hair movement. They don’t want it to become mainstream in the black community because they don’t like who they are. They are using their self hate as an influence and a bullying weapon to keep other black women from going natural as well. But again, the more of y’all who go natural, the more sisters will go natural. I think black men also have to take responsibility for the slow rate of natural hair transformation.
For me, it goes beyond the aesthetic of the hair; it validates who the black woman is. It allows her to step out of the Eurocentric beauty paradigm and allows her to say I am beauty in itself. It is a way of going back to the origin where the black woman was once symbolized as the first symbol of the most high, God. For me, it is so important for us to change the mindset of young black girls by having them see black adults with natural hair. We have to look at the influence. Especially black women in leadership positions, they’re the main ones who we really need to go natural, because they have a lot of influence. We have to use our leadership. Imagine if Beyonce went natural. Can you imagine the impact of that? What if Oprah went natural? What if the sister from Scandal went natural? Now we know them sisters aren’t likely to do anything like that, but we do have conscious sisters in other segments of society who can really flex their influential muscle amongst black women.
Listen to full radio interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_o_sZptqKQ
For more information and to keep up with the latest happenings on Dr. Umar Johnson, please visit www.drumarjohnson.com, www.twitter.com/drumarjohnson, https://instagram.com/drumarjohnson and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-Umar-Ifatunde/238278969571713
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