A little more than a week ago I wrote two scathing articles about Umar Johnson. I called him a charlatan (I think ... I call a lot of charlatans “charlatan”). I castigated him for taking people’s money without showing them where it went. I said that there was no evidence he ever tried to buy a school or would ever build a school.
Most famously, I insinuated that he never earned a doctorate. I researched. I looked through the yearbooks of every school he ever attended. I went through the archived graduation programs. I watched videos of the graduation ceremonies. I paid my own money to verify his degrees. To be clear, instead of outright saying that he wasn’t a doctor, I said that I could find no evidence that Johnson had earned a graduate degree, but I knew what I was insinuating. I think I’m pretty good at this writing thing. I knew what people would think.
I was wrong.
It turns out that Umar Johnson is a doctor of psychology. The National Student Clearinghouse verified it for me late last night after researching his files. You can view the certificate here.
Here is my problem with stupid people and narcissists. They will argue their side of a debate just to save face. They can know they are wrong, yet they will still belabor their point. They don’t want truth or understanding; they just want to be right. Dumb people do that. It’s why Donald Trump’s personal mantra is, “Never admit you were wrong. It shows weakness.”
I have always said privately and publicly that I agree with a lot of what Johnson says. Part of my problem with him (aside from our disagreement about homosexuality ruining the black race and some of his more misogynistic rhetoric) was that many people listened to him because he said he was a doctor of psychology. Some people gave him the benefit of the doubt simply because of his credentials.
I don’t think “the white man’s degree” makes Johnson any more or less credible. He was the one going around calling himself “doctor.” If his credentials were fake, then, in my opinion, his foundation was built on lies.
There are opponents of Johnson who will say that we are now giving him credibility. His fans will say I slandered him and will want Hoteparations. Look through what I wrote about him and tell me this: Where’s the lie?
I call balls and strikes. I did not have a vendetta against Johnson; nor am I now an Umar apologist. I will admit that I use humor and sarcasm to make my point, and I know that it can come off as smug. Some people don’t like it, and I’m fine with that. You know why I’m comfortable doing it?
Because I’ll never be too self-important or high-strung to say I was wrong.
I stand by what I said about him. No one knows where any of the money has gone that he collected. No one has seen any evidence that he is building a school. I think he’s homophobic. I believe he’s a misogynist. I believe he inflated his connection with Frederick Douglass or doesn’t know what the term “descendant” means. I believe he had an affair with a stripper. I believe he mixes opinion with facts and sells it as truth.
I also believe that he has some good rhetoric and ideas. I don’t believe that anyone should dismiss every single thing he says because of the things I said in the previous paragraph. I do feel that he erases so much of the good with inane, unfounded, bullshit mythology and Hotepery. I believe he takes advantage of people who want to be taught who aren’t critical thinkers.
Ultimately, I believe in nuance. I believe it is possible to be a scholar and a charlatan. I would still like to know what happened to those people’s money. I actually hope that he builds a school for black boys. But there is one thing I must be clear about:
His name is Doctor Umar Johnson.