Debate aims to bridge gender divide

FAMU men and women engage in discussion. Photo by Shadell Bromell

Students turned the heat up on a cool Tuesday night during a debate over controversial topics for both genders.

The FAMU Peer Mentor Program hosted Guy Code vs. Girl Code at Perry Paige Auditorium. The aisles were separated by gender, allowing both sides to advocate for their group. Guys and girls examined the ins-and-outs of emotional expression, interracial dating, colorism, mental health, double standards and relationships.

Each topic was served with a side of strong conviction and a dash of perspective.

Males and emotional expression served as one of the lightweight topics for the event. Males said they feel as though Black women don’t allow them to express their feelings. The females disagreed and said that they appreciate when a man is vulnerable and that men are influenced by other guys to be hard and unemotional.

“A lot of these topics are talked about on social media,”  Freshman Experience Peer Mentor President DeAundre Newsome said.  “[but] true feelings, tone, and facial expressions don’t get portrayed correctly through a mobile device.”

Newsome said the peer mentors were the first to have passionate discussions about issues before releasing them at the event. During the process of choosing topics, the mentors were to pick random topics and have a conversation about it. If the issue caused an uproar they considered it a “hot topic” and presented it at the event.

One of the more pressing discussions involved interracial dating and eventually branched to pro-blackness. Both men and women agreed they were not willing to date outside their race for a valid reason. Comfortableness, blood-line, relatability, and protection were all factors opposing interracial dating.

“Events like these are important,” said Savannah Sparrow, a sophomore political science major. “I don’t think people come together to talk about issues that are plaguing the Black community.”

Sparrow said she appreciates events like Guy Code vs. Girl Code because she believes both genders often fail to understand each other’s perspectives. She said she related to many of the issues, especially interracial dating. She is bi-racial and she felt as though that topic was personal and raw for her. Sparrow said if FAME were to have more events like this it would allow Black men and women to learn from each other and progress as a whole.

“This event is going to grow people’s minds, mentalities and perspectives,” she said.

Another conversation dealt with the protection of the Black woman. Women explained why they don’t feel protected or loved by Black men.

“We have to make sure conversations like this aren’t limited to a room,”  Peer Mentor Julian Walker said. “It should transpire into the real world.”

Walker co-hosted the event and acted as a liaison for the men. He believes that most answers were genuine and meaningful. He said he found it interesting that Black women didn’t feel protected by Black men. He agreed, all while wanting the women to know that some men are undeniably willing to love, protect and nurture them.

“That opportunity to see both perspectives allows for relationships to be more successful among Black couples,” he said.