Students in the political science department discussed the Plight of African American males at length last week.The department sponsored numerous seminars including “The Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina”, “Disparities Amongst African American Males,” and “The Current Health care Debate.”
The discussion continued as sociologists, attorneys, spiritual leaders and students brainstormed community solutions.
Listeners were encouraged to worship a higher power for guidance and surround theselves with positive influences.
The audience was asked to reassess societal definitions of manhood, especially when applicable to Black men.
The audience was encouraged to embody an expansive concept of family and embrace people outside of one’s bloodline.
After viewing a documentary and presentation of Grambling State student, Genta Hayes’ extensive research, the conversations shifted to uplift of the Black community.
Countless ladies and gentlemen stressed the importance of raising standards and getting to know partners before having sexual exchanges. Hasty encounters often lead to more Black women becoming single parents.
This psychological shift to optimism was continued with noted actor and best-selling author Hill Harper’s discussion last Saturday.
His seminar was also entitled “The Plight of the African American Male.”
A more accurate description is the “possibility” of African American males, and people as a whole. Hill encouraged Black men and women to redefine their dreams.
Whatever the dream currently is, it isn’t a tenth as big as it could be, Harper proclaimed.
Harper also noted the mostly female audience. He said that when he arrived to GSU, he asked where the Brothers were. He soon realized that dozens were on the basketball court instead of in the nursing building auditorium.
Harper used the opportunity to encourage the players to continue their game another day, and give him the opportunity to share wisdom with them.
Many men continued to play ball, he said.
Although one young man wouldn’t come to the seminar, he asked Harper to put him in a movie.
Harper used the anecdote as an opportunity to explore what he dubbed the “hook-up” mentality.
Rather than ask to follow Harper onto the set of a movie or work as an unpaid intern, the young man saw a successful Black man and made faulty assumptions.
The young man presumed that their similar pigment translated to an unearned opportunity.
Harper was a dynamic speaker who shared no-nonsense advice and delivered his message from the aisles of the auditorium.
His choice not to use a podium symbolized oneness with the people he came to teach and learn from.
The possibilities continued as students scurried to the bookstore after the event to purchase one, two or all three of his books. The bookstore bustled as the line dominated the bookstore’s floor space.
Ecstatic students, children and community members clutched books, chatted and waited for an opportunity to converse with Harper, who signed autographs, posed for pictures and chatted for hours after the seminar.
The two-time Harvard graduate told The Gramblinite that he continued to relate to African Americans because he kept in contact with them. He stressed the importance of looking people in their eyes and working with the community.
Connecting with people of all backgrounds is possible, he said.
Harper is the author of “Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny”, “Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny”, and “The Conversation.