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Real Talk with Real Men

Contributing Writer

Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 20:10

Marc D. Lee, Lavar Youmans, Lamar White, and Dr. Christopher St. Vil gave their insight of masculinity and manhood at the Howard University Healthy Masculinity Forum Tuesday in the Blackburn Digital Auditorium.  
Lee shared with the audience how his notion of manhood transformed when he enrolled in the Army. After getting into a physical altercation while serving, he had a conversation with his mother that served as turning point in his development as a man. 
 
"She said I needed to be the bigger person, the bigger man," Lee said.
 
White had a different story to share. He was raised by his father, who completely discouraged any display of emotion. His first sex talked consisted of a box of condoms. It wasn’t until he reached college that he was able to come into his own identity. He told the attendees about a time he was with a group of friends and they were discussing relationship problems. Most of his friends suggested that men should never reveal their emotions to women, but White found himself in disagreement. He said that it was at that point he realized that being unemotional was not always necessary.
 
Ehime Sadoh, senior Psychology major from Brooklyn, New York, was in attendance and was enlightened by White’s story. 
 
“I feel like I really got a males perspective of emotion,” Sadoh said. 
 
The next panelist to share their manhood experience was Youmans. As a result of traumatic childhood experiences, Youmans lacked the understanding of what being masculine entailed. Growing up he was a follower and simply acted to conform to others’ ideas of what a man should be.
 
"I realized that there is strength in vulnerability," Youmans  said. 
 
St. Vil told spectators about a time in his college years when he was a resident assistant at Howard and witnessed a student being robbed. The student wanted to retaliate, but St. Vil convinced them to turn the other cheek. 
 
"You need to get rid of that pride and think about the consequences," said St. Vil.
 
After each panelist shared their stories, the floor became open and students were able to discuss issues of masculinity and manhood with the speakers. Topics included the lack of prominent role models in this generation and overcoming fears being inadequate as a man. 
 
In the end, Marc Lee closed the forum off with powerful words of wisdom.
 
“By showing a greater intellect, I show a greater power.” 

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