Children should be seen and Heard
100 Black Men of London present ‘An Audience with our Children’
7th July 2012, London South Bank University
Yes, indeed. Turning this popular phrase about children being seen but not heard on its head for the second year running, the 100 Black Men of London community mentoring organisation, held a debate entitled, ‘An Audience with our children II’. The seminar was an opportunity to discuss various issues and moreover hear not just adults voices, but children’s viewpoints too.
Major topics under discussion included: (1) the differences between raising boys v girls; (2) self-esteem and (3) peer relations and the English riots of August 2011.
The highlight of the day was a full group debate on all three topics with delegates from all of the individual workshops uniting. Impassioned debate ensued about the August 2011 riots, the causes and solutions. Some felt it was a result of out and out lawlessness and opportunism; others considered it a result of abject poverty. Why else would some people, for instance, have stolen rice, of all things, during the riots?
Black men are an endangered species
One lady, Paulette Douglas, 100BMOL Volunteer, controversially said she felt that Black men were an endangered species. When challenged on this, she countered, saying, “Go into any School and you’ll see what I mean.” She alluded to the situation re boys falling behind academically, being over represented in the prison system and under-represented in further and higher education.
Educated Black Women can’t find long-term relationships
This neatly lead onto another controversial claim by a young man, who stated with great certainty, that “it’s a statistical fact that only 10% of University education Black women will find themselves in stable, long-term relationships.” Interesting and not a comment I disagree with as it’s something I’ve thought for a long time, although I’m not sure of the statistics, as they are notoriously hard to find, but through observation and talking to people it’s hard to disagree with this rather sad statement of failure of educated women to find lasting love. I believe, in part, it ties into the relative paucity of Black of Black men studying at the highest levels, which has resulted in women soaring ahead academically and in the workplace and not unsurprisingly seeking soul mates of similar academic bent and/or able to earn a living commensurate with theirs or at least the lifestyle they live.
Comedian and radio Broadcaster Geoff Schumann (pictured standing below), stated that, “we need to tackle the negative sub-culture within our community,” in order to solve the myriad problems within our community.
What was so wonderful and positive about this event was that the audience experienced heated debate, whilst controversial views were aired, but respectfully listened to and discussed, with children’s views centre stage.
Mentees of the 100BMOL, known as Diamonds, who have been through their Community Mentoring Programme, will be honoured at the 100’s Annual Community Programme Graduation Ceremony on 21st July 2012, from 11am-2pm. Attendance at the London South Bank University event, is completely FREE. People can register on-line or simply turn up on the day.
The debate was chaired by Paul Lawrence, appointed Vice-President Programmes, 9th July 2012. Paul also chairs The Grapevine Live discussion events. Their most recent debate, 5th July 2012 tackled the subject of domestic violence.
Young people all too often get such a raw deal from the media and press. Most people realise that is undeserved and many young people are doing positive things and working hard at their studies. An Audience With Our Children and Graduation Ceremonies have clearly demonstrated that there is an alternative narrative to be written and displayed about young people. If you have a little time, I’m sure the Diamonds would really love to see a full house at London South Bank University to watch and applaud them as they collect their end of term certificates and trophies. Support them if you can.
These young people are potential, future leaders.
100BMOL over the years video
Community Programme Graduation Ceremony 2010
Tiemo Talk of the Town
20th July 2012