Teenage pregnancy, consumerism and weakening family structures were just a few of the topics brought to the table in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center on Thursday during a discussion of the decline of values in black families.
The discussion, hosted by Progressive Black Men (PBM), was dedicated to generating dialogue about the values of black society in USF’s black community, said PBM Parliamentarian Keith Babb.
“It helped to open minds and generate discussion about where our values are as black people and what we can do to get them back,” Babb said.
The discussion consisted of a five-member panel answering questions posed by Babb. This panel included a current USF student, a USF graduate, a doctoral student and two representatives from USF’s NAACP chapter.
During the discussion, many issues were raised as culprits in the decline in values of today’s generation of blacks.
The panel discussed how unity is being lost among blacks because of single-parent homes, teenage pregnancy and an increased emphasis on consumerism.
“Value is being placed in material things,” said Jalohn Stewart, an NAACP Officer.
The discussion reached a pivotal point when Babb posed the question: “How have those of Caribbean descent held on to values?”
Tempers in the crowed flared when a member of the audience said that African Americans born in the United States do not have a culture.
Others said that African American culture cannot be compared to Caribbean culture with regard to values.
The group wrapped up the discussion with a consensus that a lack of values cannot be connected to cultural backgrounds.
“There are people that face immediate issues that are more germane to their immediate survival, so there are folks who have no idea what lineage means,” said Seft Hunter, the doctoral panelist. “Our goal is to help those who don’t know what’s possible (realize) what can be possible for them.”
Jamel Marshall, a junior majoring in political science, found the discussion beneficial.
“I like hearing discussions like this,” Marshall said. “It talked about how I can be a resource to my community.”