Unpacking Masculinity

Members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in collaboration with You Beautiful Black Woman (YBBW), and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., held a discussion in a safe and open environment in the Walton/Putnam lounge on Wednesday, January 17. The events' discussion was about whether or not there is toxic masculinity within the African American male community.

Members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in collaboration with You Beautiful Black Woman (YBBW), and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., held a discussion in a safe and open environment in the Walton/Putnam lounge on Wednesday, January 17. The events' discussion was about whether or not there is toxic masculinity within the African American male community. 

Before the start of the event, music filled the room, helping fill a void and set the mood

for discussions. It started with a good number of people and was steadily growing. Everyone was

placed in a large circle to allow a better view of each speaker and further helped keep the floor

open for discussions. 

Jaiquan Rodwell, NAACP chairman over membership committee, and Ariel Cotton-Jackson, co-chairman of NAACP, opened up the discussion with a list of rules expected to follow to ensure a safe and open environment. 

Letia Austin, President of YBBW, handed out various questions to random individuals around the room. Each individual was given

one question to read and then the floor was open for discussion on that topic. 

“I think it went well, it’s good to have these conversations on campus especially in our

community. This semester we always have our committee chairs through different events and so

our membership chair and co-chair decided to come up with this event and we approved it and

felt like this was a topic that needed to be discussed in our community.” Deaundra Myers,

President of NAACP, said. 

The topics were solely based on: what could be considered 'toxic masculinity' in the African

American community, expectations of black men, how society plays a part in this role, and many

more issues. It was a very active crowd with many different opinions and even though it was a

discussion about masculinity, there was a good ratio of men to women.

“The goal of today’s event was to bring awareness [of toxic masculinity] to not just the African American community, but all communities around Eastern. The event went really well, it was very controversial. I think a lot of people really got their opinions out. There were a lot of things that people typically don’t talk about and people were able to come out to a safe place and talk about it.” Jaiquan Rodwell said. 

There were many opinions voiced in the discussions and at times some individuals went back and

forth, but everything seemed to stay in control and every question was answered.

“I feel like today’s event was a pretty good discussion, there were some good questions. I would

like to see a further discussion. We talked a lot about the problems and brought it to the forefront.

I would like to hear more about solutions and possible ways to move forward in the future.”

Eugene Lowe, current fund-raising chair for Kappa Alpha Psi Delta Nu Chapter, said.

It seems that others thought the event went very well and look forward to having another

discussion to continue the topic of the night and gather solutions to the problem of toxic

masculinity.

“I thought it was needed, we needed to speak about it, but I also thought it got argumentative in a

lot of cases because some people didn’t know how to express their opinion in the right tone. I

think we still need to talk about it because there were a lot of tension and we should have another

one like this, but also one for females because we too have a stigma against us as ‘angry black

women’ and should speak about women and men together.” Jessica Ingram said, a sophomore who attended the event.

“I thought it was really eye opening, but I feel like the issue wasn’t addressed fully. I feel like the

time constraints really hindered the conversations because people who needed more elaboration

on a question and more in-depth responses weren’t able to do it and I feel like that kind of played

a role in not having the discussion be as fully as effective as I thought it would be and people

would address the fact that there is an issue and maybe come up with ideas of how to solve the

issues of toxic masculinity. Maybe there should be a second part.” Raihaanah Hall said, another sophomore.

If you’re ever interested in joining the NAACP, Jaiquan Rodwell announced it is 15 dollars to join for a full year.

"It’s a good way to become a leader and to have a stance on campus and to be a student activist, to be something more than just going to class. The NAACP people get misconstrued, it’s not just for black

people, it’s for all students.” Jaiquan Rodwell said.


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