” The University of Akron hosted Dr. Joseph White as they opened the second annual Black Male Summit on Friday. White was welcome to university by a diverse crowd of over 600 people in the Student Union ballroom. White, professor emeritus of psychology and psychiatry at the University California, Irvine, spoke of the call to action among African American men in the United States.””
The University of Akron hosted Dr. Joseph White as they opened the second annual Black Male Summit on Friday.
White was welcome to university by a diverse crowd of over 600 people in the Student Union ballroom.
White, professor emeritus of psychology and psychiatry at the University California, Irvine, spoke of the call to action among African American men in the United States. As he looked to helping future generations achieve their dreams by saying that they should dream big and those who came before them need to help them develop the tools they need to be successful.
He asked the group to participate as he asked them to name how they have survived. People shouted out their answers: faith, will power, determination, resilience, self-respect and love were among them.
He then shared with the audience the seven psychological strengths that have led to the survival of people. Those seven steps were improvisation, resilience, connectedness to others, spirituality, emotional vitality, healthy suspicion of the ‘the man’ and humor.
White, who has written seven books, used his own life for a lot of his examples, stating that every child realizes at some point that there is something wrong with America. He spoke of how upset he was when his teachers would tell him that this is the land of the free when all of his teachers were white along with all the police officers. His mother then provided him with the challenge of creating something out of nothing.
Opportunity would not come in my house, I had to go out and find it, White said. His mother wanted him to think and know that nobody was going to give him anything; he would have to work for it.
As he shared his stories, he took the opportunity to joke around with the crowd. During one story he told the audience that if they were to retell the story they needed to get it right. The story involved a young girl pulling him through a window as he walked through the alley.
I don’t want you going around saying Dr. White had sex, we had unsupervised activity, he told the audience.
His main point was simply the idea that everyone needs to bounce back after they have either misstep or plainly gone awry. A good example was that of Marion Barry, former Mayor of Washington D.C who was arrested and jailed for cocaine. Barry was elected as mayor after his release.
While be able to make a comeback is something most people can do for themselves, White pointed to a need that people cannot fulfill for themselves.
The idea of human connection is something he provided as important for human survival, pointing to nurses who are suppose to pick up newborn babies at least three times a day. Stating that we need to feel connected to others around us or part of a community.
While he spoke, White often quoted lyrics of songs from artists of generation’s pasts including gospel and secular music.
This tied in with his idea of keeping and having faith and also being able to see the humor in a situation once a person is done laughing or crying over it.
As he hurried to finish his speech that was over the time allotted he was greeted by massive applause and a standing ovation. Regardless of being over time he asked the audience to join hands in what could have been seen as a group chant of sorts.
The Black Male Summit is hosted by the office of Multi-Cultural Development and hosts two days full of seminars for those in attendance.