Face to Face, Then Maybe Embrace; the Genders Squared off during Leadership Training for Black College Students

Article excerpt

Byline: ADAM AASEN

Nothing fires up a crowd of college students like a battle of the sexes.

On Saturday, a meeting room in the Wyndham Riverside hotel was filled with laughter, applause and yells of "That's right!" as members of the Florida African American Student Association discussed relationships between black men and women.

The think-tank discussion was one of many topics covered at the groups's 2007 conference in Jacksonville. Almost 200 students from 22 schools met for the three-day program, which included leadership training and guest speakers such as state Rep. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville.

"We want to give them the training so they can go back into their communities and make a difference," said Sheila McCants, a member of the association board of elders.

Many students said their favorite part of the conference was debating important social issues. It seemed like half the room of students had their hands raised for comment during the discussion on race and relationships.

Issues like radio personality Don Imus' controversy and recent protests against sexist rap lyrics fueled the discussion about why some men choose to disrespect women.

Calvin White, association president and student at Manatee Community College in Bradenton, said he thinks women shouldn't dress inappropriately because it encourages the wrong type of men.

"You demand a level of respect depending on how you carry yourself," he said. …