Event targets male, female relationships

The FAMU section of the National Council of Negro Women, along with the Alpha Xi chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., hosted “Ask the Men Themselves” in Lee Hall Monday night.

The event was a forum to confront key issues that exist in male and female relationships within the black community.

Sabrina Davis, the president of NCNW, said that the organization held the forum in hopes of giving women further insight into the rationale of the men on FAMU’s campus.

“We basically wanted to further open the lines of communication between African-American men and women, and achieve a greater understanding of each other as a whole,” said Davis, a senior psychology student from Fort Lauderdale.

“Often times the strong positive black male personas on this campus don’t have an opportunity to express their point of view and we wanted to give them that also.”

Beginning shortly after its scheduled start time of 7 p.m., the event consisted of a selected panel of six men from different clubs and organizations on campus. Members of the panel took turns answering thought-provoking questions from both the moderators and the audience.

Many of the panelists hoped to accomplish different goals with their participation in the event.

Panelist Jesse McCoy II, a senior English student from Durham, N.C. said that he hoped to better bridge the gap that exists in the thinking of men and women.

“Any time that you have a colloquium of students sitting down and talking about issues that affect them, that’s always going to be a positive learning experience,” McCoy said.

Jarreau Harris, on the other hand, said that he agreed to sit on the panel to send some shock waves through the audience.

“People need to open their minds (on some issues) and then also close them too,” said the 21-year-old senior political science student from Washington D.C.

Harris also said that the most important topic that he was looking to tackle was the matter of whether skin complexion plays a role in relationships.

“I believe its OK to hold a bias. It’s not forbidden and people who think it should be are just ridiculous.”

During the first half of the event, the panel took questions from a group of three moderators, two members of NCNW and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi.

The moderators picked the minds of the panel on topics such as interracial dating and the definition of cheating.

Moderator Alesha Carter said she wanted to inquire into the male perspective on topics that women discuss on a regular basis among themselves, but never had an opportunity to get a male’s opinion.

“We wanted to ask common questions that women ask their girlfriends,” said Carter, the Dorothy I. Height Leadership Committee Co-chair for NCNW.

During the second half of the event, the men of the panel faced another round of questions from members of the audience.

Daeni Clatenburg, 20, a junior Business Administration student from Houston said she thought the event was very helpful.

“Females do have a lot of questions about men and their answers gave us a better view into the minds of men and why they do the things that they do,” Clatenburg said.

SGA President and Trustee Virgil Miller said he thought the event was a great success and that it accomplished exactly what NCNW was looking to accomplish.

“Building responsible and mature relationships are very important to the health of the black community,” Miller said.

Others thought that the questions could have been more meaningful and in-depth.

“I expected much more,” said Korey Jackson, 22, a senior engineering student from Jackson, Miss.

“The questions weren’t hard hitting and they didn’t address any issues that are plaguing black relationships.”

Contact Anthony M. Moore at a_m_moore@hotmail.com.