Panel tackles tough topics
Jay Benedict | Editor-in-Chief
The PSU Office of Student Diversity held a student panel last Friday and the first question posed to the six panel members was, “Why is victimization in African-American communities so prevalent, yet given less attention?”
Rashid Bey says the media was to blame for the continuation of stereotypes.
“We live in an era of technological development,” said Bey, sophomore in sociology and art. “Technology distances the parent/child relationship, and the media teaches the kids certain negative stereotypes.”
The OSD held the student panel as part of the celebration of Black History Month. Deatrea Rose, director of student diversity programs, says the panel was given prompts to encourage discussion and create ideas to better promote Black History Month and black culture.
Jada Resse, sophomore in psychology and Spanish, says the media covers more bad than good because people are drawn to the drama.
Mike Davis echoed that thought.
“Negativity sells, and when all you see is negativity, you think negatively,” said Davis, senior in communication.
The panel agreed that African-American youths lack positive role models.
“It’s hard to convince kids that working for $7 an hour, serving burgers, is better than some more profitable, illegal activities,” Davis said. “My father works hard and respects my mother, and I have always wanted to be like him.”
Ramon Taylor says the hip-hop culture is also to blame. He says young people are ridiculed by their peers for doing the right thing.
“Lil Wayne is not a role model,” said Taylor, senior in history and international studies. “I don’t want my children cursing in public and grabbing their crotch. We need positive role models at home.”
The second prompt given to the panel concerned graduation rates among African-American college students. Taylor says black men need to focus more on their education.
“When will we recruit black men for academics as well as sports?” Taylor said. “Black women graduate at a higher rate than black men because men use college as an avenue to play sports. They also need to use it as an opportunity to find their place in life.”
Cierra Bailey says the prevalence of single-parent homes was a major factor in her decision to attend PSU.
“I have a dream of raising a family and being a mother,” said Bailey, sophomore in business administration. “I’m setting myself up to be able to provide because I don’t want to have to struggle.”
Raylan White says her parents were a major part in her decision to attend college. She says they stressed the “American Dream.”
“My mother and father worked all the time, and they don’t want me to have to struggle,” said White, senior in social work. “I want to succeed because and I want to ‘make it.’”
The panel agreed that campus involvement and the university’s efforts to reach out to black students have positively contributed to graduation rates. Taylor says that PSU could do more to reach out to African-American students, but Bailey disagreed.
“We shouldn’t wait to be reached out to,” Bailey said. “Get out of your comfort zone and be proactive.”
Taylor also questioned the lack of African-American faculty on campus.
“This is my fifth year of college, and I’ve never had a black professor. There are two black professors left on campus and I’ve asked why there are so few,” Taylor said. “I was told we don’t have the money to recruit black professors. But we can recruit black football players? That doesn’t make sense.”