Panelists Smith, Roby, Brown and Pullum

By Sebastian Ross

Black men being oppressed in American society is not a new issue but it was explored in a new way in the recent film #Blackmendream, which provided a raw look at the emotional experiences of nine men. The panel discussion that followed explored some important themes.

The African American Heritage Committee at College of Southern Nevada held a special screening of #Blackmendream, a 45-minute experimental documentary, at the Charleston campus Feb. 13 in honor of Black History Month.

“The film, shot in black and white, features nine males from diverse backgrounds with their backs turned away from the camera,” according to the film’s synopsis by Shikeith Cathey, the director. “They openly discuss the obstacles they have faced as young black men such as depression, parental neglect and racial discrimination.”

Following the viewing a discussion with four panelists took place to give perspectives on issues pertaining to the Black community.

Antanus Pullum, cofounder of Gentlemen By Choice, a program designed to guide young men to improve their self-image, self-esteem, self-discipline, self-respect and self-actualization, participated in the panel.

During the discussion, Pullum said, “What I think is missing from today’s youth culture is the absence of the family: the true village. Everybody states that it takes a village but we don’t even have a village anymore. We don’t take time to give back. We have to set examples and give back especially when they’re young.”

CSN Instructor David Roby also participated in the event. He thinks African-American men can take more accountability with their lives and improve their settings and situations.

“We need to own it,” Roby stated. “It would be easy to blame it on the establishment but the establishment isn’t going to fix it. We have to fix it ourselves. It’s about taking ownership of it and saying we have a problem and saying we’re going to fix it. We can blame it on slavery or whatever happened back in time but is that going to change anything? I know it is cliché but it starts at home.”

Lance Smith, a CSN student, was also on the panel in addition to Dr. Andrea Brown, a CSN instructor, who gave a perspective on the role of men’s treatment of women.

Tavish Bell, CSN librarian and event organizer, shared her thoughts on curating the event. “I think it’s really important to have conversations like these in this current political environment because I think there is a lot of division and misunderstanding so my goal in organizing this event was to try to cultivate understanding, awareness and empathy.”

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