If you’ve got an ear to the Black stratosphere of social media, you’ve certainly heard of Dr. Umar Johnson. Chances are you’ve seen him and his rhetoric splattered across your social media friend or you’re an avid follower of his words. Maybe you’re of the camp that believes “he sometimes makes a point,” despite being aware of how problematic he could sometimes be when delivering his message.
Either way, he’s certainly taken center stage in many discussions around race and he is one of the most divisive figures I’ve encountered online in a while. Personal opinions of him notwithstanding, he’s mastered the art of stealing everyone’s attention. As someone who holds a firm and commanding presence in his controversial beliefs, Johnson has been the subject of scrutiny in regards to his credentials’ validity; namely, his doctorate.
As someone whose unyielding claims have been debunked by fact-checkers, one particular thing has remained a bit of a mystery. Where is his alleged doctorate in psychology? Does it even exist? Many skeptics believed that Johnson — like other things — was lying about this, too. One man, Michael Harriot from The Root, decided to get to the bottom of it all. Harriot, a skeptic in his own right didn’t believe his doctor title was legit, either.
After rigorous searching that included a paid degree verification from National Student Clearinghouse, he found that his beliefs were wrong. The degree exists.
In a move that you most likely would never witness from Johnson, Harriot admitted his wrong on a public platform.
“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,” said Harriot.
While the degree may be legit, Harriot points out that it doesn’t wipe away the things that still appear to be sketchy. Allowing for nuance, Harriot concludes with, “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.”
Source: The Root