The Cost of Not Being Alert and Conscious

Meet Author Luis Quiros on Zoom June 18th!

By Luis Quiros

Much of what we’ve missed and the lack of urgency to completely overhaul our systems, the social injustice many of us have experienced, is due to how scholarship and its language have co-opted a semblance of progress and justified methods that Otherized our existence[1].  These conditions led me to be vigilant of academia and to see it as a major accomplice to the historical chaos of these United States. Our inability to differentiate between the oppressor and the liberator, or when the oppression starts in dialogue and literature, especially at conferences, panel discussions, and classrooms, has too many Others thanking the privileged community for our “not so bad” oppression.


Words from my mentor, Dr. John Hope Franklin, and Judge Robert Carter, who defended Ms. Brown in the Brown case, “Except for a short while following 9/11, White people have not been vulnerable and White supremacy continues. This sense of invincibility allows an elite group of designated leaders to govern with entitlement.” Such words and teaching led me into deep controversy and possible termination of opportunities for my take and desire to have Trump win if that was the candidate that this nation allowed to take center stage. I recall vividly at the start of Trump’s reign purchasing the Kaepernick football jersey and wearing it in the streets creating road rage and disturbing looks and comments and classrooms I once taught in.[i] Worst of all was the violence that ended Kaepernick’s career as a professional player and his family received. Now, towards the end of Trump’s first term, June 5, 2020, the National Football League addresses a player’s right to kneel and protest against the racism in the United States, “We were wrong, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says”[2].

With misguided poll calculations using colonized math and language under an era where critical thinking, thanks to our educational system, is more like a indulgence, we now have in our midst a president who is representative of every assault and anything else that is exclusive since the first European yelled out, “Land!” in 1492 and even from our own community of Others. It was painful learning about and not thinking about the Beer Summit. Obama, early in his tenure as president had a beer with Professor Henry Louis Gates on July 30, 2009 in the White House. Gates was arrested, July 16, by an officer who thought Gates was breaking into what was his own home. Having a beer with Gates was the best strategy employed to appease any racial tensions while we had a Black president and a Black scholar in plain view.


Born in 1945, Harlem New York, I know well that until White people are affected does patience for justice cease to exist and we are all reminded of a unified humanity and religious values. Now that White people and their deep pockets are affected, we are face to face with the fact that we have not been in this together[3].



Hence, it became easy to predict a year before the start of the 21st century and the distracting chaos about the Y2K – digit zero – that the greatest friction and challenges would actually be race-based and a government-justified, fascist, invasion into our privacy. Also predicted right after the Columbine, Colorado school violence was that many more violent occurrences would be experienced, especially from and within the middle and upper class communities threatened by social consciousness. It again not only revealed this nation’s shortcomings around race relations, but it also detracted a movement for social justice into one-issue advocacy and allyship with White communities that has yet to prevent the violence or attacks against communities of color.


By April 2017 I was specific in defining mental health as the truest epidemic in the United States with a doctor dedicated to health and social justice during his radio program. Our collaborative made it obvious that when a people are void of alertness and consciousness much is missed, and much is at risk. He contributed that as I had referenced patterns, and the importance of history in the present tense, he too saw the patterns in public health. He noted that just like the ignored phenomenon of mental illness we were ignoring a growing flu epidemic that could cause the death of hundreds and thousands of people![4]


For over 20 years of adjunct teaching and two published books, working on the power of language and deciphering words, and historical and philosophical supplements provided a the remedy to academic propaganda and exploitative research and analytical methods. It is only through seeking out the connection and mentorship of those who have also found their own remedies that we can refuse to be misinformed and exploited and shift the paradigm from a self to a collective able to transform by all means necessary.


Luis Quiros, M.P.A., M.S.W.

[1] Luis Quiros, An Other’s Mind (2011). Bloomfield, IN: AuthorHouse, pgs. 48-49, 57-58, 62, 83, 95, 148: The Puerto Rican Migrant in New York City. Lawrence Chenault. New York: Russell & Russell, 140–142. 1938.

[2] CBS News, June 6, 2020.

[3] Luis Quiros, “Are We Really All In This Together?” April 6, 2020

[4] Testimony, Rebuttals & Opinions; 4/14/2017 WVOX Politics & Your Health Bob Marrone & Dr. Victor Sternberg. Start at minute 12:30

Author of An Other’s Mind (2011) and Justice Unplugged (2020)


About the Author: Luis Quiros learned early in life the value of forming a strong partnership between “street smarts” and scholarship. Quiros used this partnership to expose historical and sociological myths, as well as how fiscal policies and systems have plagued and affected the lives of those viewed as Others. Within classrooms and through writing and social commentary, Quiros goes beyond the research and captures narratives with a mentoring and community-building intention. Through his roles within non-profit and proprietary institutions, Quiros has brought expertise to challenge levels of service models that measure impact and how diversity and inclusion are defined.


One comment

  1. Your article is perfect in both timing as well as the dire need for critical thinking. James Baldwin once said “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” The consciousness that James Baldwin was speaking about is exactly what you have placed in this article. The hyper awareness of language, action, and in action. The way in which words are woven together and images are placed before the people, absent of critical dissection of what we are indoctrinated with as members of this society.

    Having read both books you authored, it was easy to connect the “unprecedented” times we are faced with to the historical lessons that this country has yet to, and turns away from facing. We see the power of language as we watch civil unrest, resistance, to the oppressive structure – Justice Delayed No more & Our Responsibility/Opportunity is the perfect name for this moment – these moments – the moments which create an inevitable resistance to Western Philosophy.

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