Voices of Black History Month
By Amber B. Carter and Kenneth Jacobs
From leadership sessions to startling statistics about sex, a wide range of contemporary issues were covered during Red, Black and Green. What Does It Mean?, the month-long series hosted by the University’s Black Student Union (BSU) for Black History Month.
Males at Rider explored brotherhood and manhood as it pertains to the black community at the second annual Black Male Conference on Feb. 16. The Center for Multicultural Affairs and Community Service sponsored the event.
Hosts Bryant Smith, who has conducted workshops on black male development for 14 years, and Rasheed-Ali Cromwell, Esq., an associate at a Washington, D.C.-based law firm, focused on three areas in their presentation of “The Definition of Manhood.” The three areas were: defining manhood, controlling your image and being a better man.
The hosts explained that how men measure, test and defend their manhood is directly connected to when the process of becoming a man begins.
“It was mind opening for all of us because we don’t think this way everyday of [exploring manhood and brotherhood],” said freshman Hamzah Abushabanr. “I now have a better understanding of what brotherhood really is and I appreciate it more now.”
Both of the speakers expressed that the conference was different from last year because “it was more student-centered and not so focused on keeping with the schedule of the conference.”
Last week, the Fireside Lounge became a forum for talk about the perils and pitfalls of having premarital sex when Hasani Pettiford, author of Black Thighs, Black Guys, and Bedroom Lies, led a workshop on Feb. 12.
Pettiford, an award-winning author, travels the country discussing sex and relationships on college campuses. Although the event was called “Celebration of Black Love,” it was geared toward all students.
“[Whether] you’re black, [whether] you’re white, [whether] you’re Asian, [or whether] you’re Latino, there are a lot of thighs and guys and lies going around,” Pettiford said.
Students on college campuses engage in sexual activity with people they barely know to the point where it overshadows the desire to go to class, he said.
“Regardless of your major, lust and self-gratification have become the core curriculum,” Pettiford said.
He also explained the false security that condoms bring. According to Pettiford, the HIV virus organism is 450 times smaller than a sperm cell. Additionally, medical research shows that condoms have a 64 percent success rate.
“If you were to get a 64 percent on a test, quiz or a paper, it would be a D or F for some of you,” he said. “Why would you rely on a condom that has a D or F grade to protect you?”