The “U.N.I.T.Y.” as Queen Latifah stated in her 1993 hit song seems to be disappearing between black women and men according to many students.
In efforts to revive unity on our campus, the Progressive Black Men and members of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity hosted a Black Male Unity Seminar Oct. 4, in the new pharmacy building. Several guest panelists were in attendance.
Some of the guests included FAMU Police Chief Calvin Ross and FAMU pharmacy professors Naryan Persaud and Shawnta Friday-Stroud.
“We really wanted to focus on communication barriers that exist between African-American males in society,” said 22-year-old Xavier Durden, a member of both organizations.
Durden, a graduate marketing student from Miami, said he also hoped the seminar would bring together the male fraternities on campus.
“We wanted to showcase fraternities in a more positive light on FAMU’s campus and maybe put an end to the bickering among the organizations,” Durden said.
One issue that was addressed at the seminar was how black men perceive black women. Often times, miscommunication can lead to the way black women are perceived by black men. The guest panelists re-emphasized the importance of unity and communication among men and women.
“I think the black male should rid himself of the mindset of conquest,” Persaud said.
Persuad commented that some black males refer to their women as “their baby’s momma,” as if they are objects and not people.
He also said young black women need to “stop seeing themselves as commodities.”
Ross agreed with Persaud saying, “The black woman is there to stand beside you and compliment you.”
Ross also said there are still mental chains from the past that need to be broken today. He said most men want to “wear the pants” in a relationship and do not realize that “women were designed to compliment you, not serve you.”
“I am the man, because my wife is the “woman” and she compliments me so well that I look like “the man,” Ross said.
A number of males said they believe some black women take on too much of the maternal role in a relationship and blur the lines of communication.
“It’s amazing how our marriages are breaking up. Often times our women mean well, but it comes off as I’m coming down on you,” said Cornell Guion, a 20-year-old senior business administration student from Orlando.
Guion said he also believes some black women often take the role of the black male’s mother instead of being his friend.
He said he does understand a woman’s nurturing side, but communication is something that both males and females could improve to build unity
Another issue the group thought disrupted the unity between black women and men is the value placed on higher education.
“We don’t have to be in competition with one another. It’s not about each of us individually, but it’s about us collectively,” Friday-Stroud said.
Friday-Stroud said values are placed on how much education a person has and how much a person earns.
She said blacks become divided when they begin to prejudge and forget to lift each other up.
“It’s about the two of you winning together,” Friday-Stroud said.
The Progressive Black Men and the members of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity say that they plan to host another seminar aimed at promoting unity next year.
Contact Sarah Chester at firstname.lastname@example.org