– ACDA’s Essay Winners
Last week I attended the presentation of the finalists of the youth essay competition for Black History Month past, sponsored by ACDA, there were nine finalists, eight females, and one male- the winner was a female.
Over the years I’ve observed school debate compositions on and off, and have witnessed a constant rise in females, even to a dominant ratio. There’s nothing wrong with this. I’m one of the fathers who insisted to my daughters that their interests as children must not only revolve around dolls and dollhouse games. I even took offense some years ago with a female relative who objected to having my last daughter watch ‘Schindler’s List’ which that person referred to as a “man movie”.
My child did close her eyes when the brisk little girl in the orange-pink coat, (the movie was black and white-greyscale, this was an insert for effect that fulfilled its purpose) was seen in a human pile of murdered civilians, executed by the Nazi forces- her coloured coat unavoidable in the greyscale setting of the scene. But my daughter did open her eyes, we discussed it then and have discussed it over the years, then she went back and played with her Bratz dolls. So far she is no less female but much wiser about the world we live in, which does not discriminate in its savagery based on gender or age, or in directing the focus of its bigotry.
That males are in a crisis should hardly be a debate on the ‘Ifs’ rather it should be on what has transpired to socially derail the cultural values that worked before. It would seem that areas of those previous value systems lacked a coherent vein to sustain continuity, and evolve against the challenges of inevitable changing times. The first thing is, writing an essay is a challenge that requires research, but before that, a perspective on the subject must exist. The research eliminates aspects of the perspective that are rooted in misinformation, stereotypes etc. Research requires credible sources, not Google exclusively, thus, there must be a link that knows, or is aware of someone who does, to point the way.
What then is feeding the imagination of youth? This question is the crucible; to answer we must first recognise what has changed, what is lost, and the simple proven methods that we have taken for granted that are no longer positively exploited. For example, we all have fluid imaginary friends, a character of fiction, a statesman, a musician, athlete, or historical personality that we quote for emphasis in respect to this or that cultural value or definition of a social question that points to a credible human virtue. We have even embraced the wisdom attributed to characters that actors have brought to life, leaving a script writers narrative as a potent authority to be used as clarification and emphasise from our imaginary friendship with the character when necessary.
Though Guyana is not without talents, they have never been challenged to capture specific social group experiences in stage or radio drama, comic strip or in Newspaper drama- episodes; void of embellishment, and rooted in experiences rather than presumptions, but with values and strengths that resonate the human ‘will’ to morph and transcend the stereotype, to which real parallels can be pointed to, should members of our over populated Criticising population-that differs from Critics of an idiom, step forward, we can suffice the public with real inspiration. Our youth, especially our young men are hooked on social media platforms and radio where the world beyond Guyana is the dominating interest.
I traveled in a minibus recently where for almost an hour a radio conversation by ladies was conducted on American entertainment characters, the driver near me sucked his teeth and was about to turn it off when I asked him not to. I asked a young lady in the immediate seat behind if she was listening, she said yes. Nothing is wrong with this but there should be parallels and not the safe ‘don’t want to offend type’ but real stuff based on research.
I have an example which I wrote about earlier, when some two years ago a Headmistress from a school in the old South Georgetown (from Hadfield Street to Le Penitence) through Elton Mcray, asked us, meaning the RESCU group to come and talk specifically to the males in her school, we did this to her satisfaction, because I knew the area, and its problems, which unfortunately are still active, and have not earned the intense attention input necessary for almost 100 years, which indeed requires a major push in finance and with ground knowledge, because in Guyana everything is diluted to the fate of failure because of the inclusion of politics and familiar friends (RESCU is a self-financed group that delivers engagements with youth on Drugs and lifestyles).
We have got to put effort into our youth, male and female, in this case, emphasis is directed on our young men, or we will face angry young men in the near future, and from experience, they take different actions to angry young women. I say all these not to diminish or ignore the effects of the intense negative elder male societal influences, which I will dwell on, in a following article.