Black Male Elder Recognition by Jonathan Wills

AFRS 130

December 12, 2011

Alvin Wills is a husband and a father. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, in an area known as South Central. His father left when he was a toddler so he and his nine siblings were raised predominantly by his mother. He grew up in an atmosphere where he had to mature fast in order to help his family. As a teenager, he played basketball and football and ran track. He continued participating in these sports all the way through high school. He attended junior college after high school while also picking up jobs here and there to help support his family.

During his free time, he really enjoyed playing basketball and did so any chance he got. He and his group of friends would play basketball at local parks and middle school gyms any chance they received. Because South Central is a heavily populated area, these basketball games would attract a lot of people. Alvin knew almost everyone there was to know in the neighborhood. The basketball games he participated in drew large crowds. This was not some type of recreational league or organized basketball either; it was just teenagers having a good time. However, he played with some good players so the games were very good and extremely competitive. Some of the players he played with ended up becoming college basketball stars. Some of them even went on to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA). His passion and love for the game of basketball, not to mention his wide network of friends that he played with, would be an important cornerstone in later accomplishments and opportunities for him in life.

After college, he worked some jobs here and there, just trying to save up money. Finally he applied for and received a job at the electricity company known as Edison. He has been working there ever since. Due to his love for sports, he also began to get into the field of becoming a sport’s official. He would referee basketball and football games. To this day, he still continues to referee, basketball only now, and does so on many different age levels. Currently, he only officiates games at the high school level, adult leagues, and children leagues. At one point, he got as far up as college games with a couple of different offers to referee in the NBA. However, the constant traveling would interfere with his job and family life so he respectfully had to turn the offers down. All of this work and networking would not just go away in vain, but instead lead to a later accomplishment that would be monumental. Through all his contacts and networks of friends, Alvin wanted to do something big for the game of basketball. With the help of his close friend, he started the Drew League. The Drew League is a summer basketball league that allows good street players, amateurs, and professional basketball players to all participate together. He named it the Drew League because up until about three or four years ago, the games were played at Charles Drew Middle School in Los Angeles. In recent years, the league had to move to a bigger court because of the publicity and media attention it received. More and more NBA players have participated in it each year and even some of the NBA’s best have come out. This past summer Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and Lebron James have each participated in the Drew League.

Alvin is a hard-working family man. He does not conform to the social stereotypes that the media portrays about black men. He does not fit the stereotype that black men have children and do not stay around to raise, provide for, or take care of them. Alvin has two children whose lives he was a part of from day one. He took care of his oldest son, Alvin Jr, even though he was not married to nor did he get along with Alvin Jr’s mother. After meeting and marrying his current wife, Jean, they had a son. Not only does he take care of his own children, but he also serves as a father figure to his wife’s other children as well. If the stereotype of black men not raising their own kids is true, then it would be assumed that they most certainly would not raise another person’s children. Jean came into their marriage with two other children of her own. He took them in, raised them in his household, and treated them as if they were one of his own.

Another stereotype attached to black men is that they are violent thugs. This is not the case with Alvin. Because of where he grew up, there was violence and gangs all around him. However, he did not take part in that lifestyle. He is not a violent man, nor is he a thug or criminal. This does not mean, however, that he is soft and weak and will not defend himself or his family. It just means that he does not initiate or promote violence as a solution to problems that he may face.

The asserted stereotype that black men are “playas” and do not respect woman is also not represented by Alvin. He is a family man. He treats his wife as a husband should. Alvin also treats his step-daughter the same way, with love and respect. In fact, he does not even refer to her as his step-daughter. To him, she is just merely his daughter. He does not talk down to them or angrily degrade them in any type of way. Alvin and his wife have been married for twenty-three years. He has not had affairs with other women during their relationship together.

Black Male Elder Recognition by Ryan Logan

Ryan Logan

December 12, 2011


Dr. Johnson


Black Male Elder Recognition

            For this project I instantly knew the perfect fit for my paper. My Grandpa James Earl Vaughn or as I call him, “Papa”. I knew interviewing him it would help me gain a better understanding with him, hear some great stories and also add to the argument that Black men aren’t limited to what we see in the media and I think my Papa is a great example of how a Man should be.

James Earl Vaughn, my loving grandpa, was born on February 25, 1943 in Florence Arizona to parents Gladis & James D. Vaughn. He said, “Thank god I wasn’t a junior”. He didn’t like his father’s middle name, Delocha and I do not blame him. His family consists of 5 boys and 3 girls: Sam, Willy, Jimmy Ray, Andrew, Gloria Lee and Nora Lee (who are twins) and Nelly May. He is the oldest out of all of them. He is married to my grandma Norma Vaughn and they have two children, Ronda and Terence. Ronda is my Mother and has two children, My brother Anthony and I. Terry has 3 Children: Sheena, Terence and Johnathan. Terence, Johnathan and Anthony all have one child with Jay expecting his second soon. My grandpa and Grandma have been the glue to our family keeping us together. They both are very caring & loving, provide their wisdom and set a great example of how we should be when us younger kids grow old.

During my grandpa’s childhood, he moved around from city to city and sometimes state to state. He said, “We finally get settled in, then we move again”. He has lived in 6 different cities: Florence, Arizona, Pixley, Marysville, Oroville and Madera, CA and last Portland, Oregon. The reason for moving a lot was because his father often followed his Father and Mother where ever they went, which was often back in the day as my grandma said. His Father did irrigation and farm work so they often lived in the country and houses his father built on his own. The main city he stayed in was Madera, CA, which He and I still live in to this day. While in his stay in Madera, his father became a shade tree mechanic where my Papa learned much about mechanics from because of the shop his father ran out of their own house. While in school in Madera, I asked if there were any problems relating to race, or schools population being dominated by a race. He said, “I didn’t pay much attention to anything about race while in school, I was just focused on class.” He did say that while in Portland, Oregon after a recent move across that it was “Earth shattering” moving from a predominately white school to a mainly Black school. It was the first time he had witnessed a school like this. He would later encounter a racist problem that eventually got him kicked out of high school.

Riding the bus home one day, kids in the back were throwing firecrackers on the bus. One had landed next to my papa’s foot, so he stomped on it and threw it out the window. The bus driver stopped and told him to stop throwing firecrackers on the bus. He said in reply, “Take your antique ass to the back because I didn’t throw any firecrackers.” The following day he and 6 other Black boys rode the bus to school but did not make it. They were dropped off at the bus shed and told to walk to school, while the other kids were taken to school. While at the bus shed they were talked to by the transportation manger and Vice principal. They accused the boys of throwing firecrackers even though 2 of the 6 were on the bus that day including my grandpa. The real boys throwing them were Mexican. They waited until someone confessed bit no did and my papa saying to them” We’ll be here all day because no one threw them”. The VP told the boys I am going to get you out of trouble but my papa laughed and said, “No one is in trouble”. VP then asked if he wanted to go home, he replied no and the VP said answer me in No sir or yes sir and until then you’re going home. My grandpa never returned to that school again and was never able to finish until far later in life when he went back to get his GED. It’s He wanted to go back but after telling his father, his father responded “It’s ok, you can stay home with me”. My papa told me that he was upset because he thought his father was going to fight to get him back in school but he didn’t. He said his father had the mindset, “Well he got further than me in school, and I made it in life, so he will be just fine.”

My grandpa would later join the army and score high on the test in Mechanics, so he became a truck driver in the army for 41 years, retiring in 2003. He joined because he wanted a different life than doing farm work and shade tree mechanics like his father did. Even if he didn’t join, he didn’t want to be like his father, he didn’t want his life. He wanted a better one.This was the real start for him becoming a man making his own decisions and what he wanted to become in the future as a man. While in the army he was stationed anywhere from Fresno, Texas, Washington and Germany. Soon after he joined he married my grandma on August 31, 1962 and have been together ever since. While in Germany his first child, my mother, was born there. Also in Germany to add a brief note. My grandpa told me that White U.S. soldiers told the germans that, “Black people had tails that only came out at night”. Outside of the Army, my grandpa drove school buses in Madera up until he retired in 2003 the same year he retired from the army.

I wanted to get a deeper sense of why my grandpa does the things he does and how he became the man he is today, so I asked him, What made him, him? His response was “ I didn’t want to be like my father. Whatever he did, I didn’t and vice versa.” He told me that his father always asked him “Why can’t you do something like that?” He then told me that his father wanted him to succeed and be successful but never was willing to help them be successful. He had to do it on his own with no help. He voweled ever since he was little that he would never do the same. He was going to be better. I never got the chance to see my great grandpa and how he was but If you ask me, I think my Papa has succeed in his goal to be better.

Having lived most of my life in the same household as my grandparents, My papa has been involved in my life everyday since day one. He used to work on his cars when I was little and he would take me out there in the garage and I would help him. I used to love helping him on cars, even though I couldn’t do much nor remember much about it. It was still fun. I would help him work on his lawn cutting business and he would give me money for my work so I could spend it. When I was little I used to love trains. He bought me the biggest train set I have seen. It took up nearly the whole backyard patio. Later in High school when I continued to play Football and was pretty good at it, He would be at every home game and some close away ones too, filming me and cheering me on. I think he was more excited when I moved from starting running back to starting QB for the Varsity team. He couldn’t be more proud of me, even if I wasn’t the best QB. I was to him what Tim Tebow is to his fans now.

My point I am making is that near every point in my life, my Grandpa has been there for me. If I need help, there is no need to ask, He’s there and willing. I see that now transferring over to his great grandchildren. My uncle told me that Lexy, my 2 year old niece, has him whipped. I asked him if she did and his response was “Yeah, She does” with a smile. Recently he and my grandmother had some problems and he temporarily moved out. During that time, the house just didn’t feel the same. His presence was truly missed. On his time away, every single day. He texted me at 7 in the morning saying, “Good Morning”. He never missed a day and hasn’t  missed one since moving back in. This is something I never heard any one of doing. I am not the only who gets this text, My Mom and my Brother got this text and even my Grandma got this when he was away. I am pretty sure there is more on the list but this is all I know of.

A stereotype that would be applied to my grandpa would be “An angry Black man” since he is big and strong but everyone who knows him would dispute this. He is lovable as a teddy bear. Every year during christmas time he makes these candy reeves, bakes cookies and sweets that he takes to former coworkers, army friends and family members. Now tell me how he feeds into those stereotypes that plague us Black men? I will say that you don’t want to make him mad because you do not want to see that side but who doesn’t get angry when made mad? That is just an emotion every human being has. I don’t think there is a stereotype that would be able to fit my grandpa. He is just one of a kind. My grandpa stands up and fights for what is right and also for what he loves. I can guarantee that my Papa will be the first one, right there on the front line, ready. Like I said him and my Grandma are the glue to my family. Without him or her, I think our family would be dysfunctional. They are the heart and soul to our whole family and for my papa, he sets a great example for me to follow in. His goal for me as he told me, “Do better than I did”.

Black Male Elder Recognition Project by Julian Muse

 Julian Muse

Black Male Elder Recognition Project

California State University, Fresno



Black Male Elder Recognition Project

             The person I chose to focus this assignment on is my stepfather Brian Irby.  My mother and father divorced when I was only 5 years old.  While my father always remained around, my brothers and I lived with our mother for the remainder of my early years.  Within two years my mother met and began living with Brian, and within three they would be married.  I have known Brian for nearly 18 years, and like any child, adjusting to the authority of a stepparent can be very difficult.  This was especially the case for my brothers and me as we often found our mother trying to settle petty three-against-one disputes.  As we grew older, those disputes grew as well, at times becoming physical.  Through the hard times still, we could only develop respect for this new father figure, because he was not going anywhere any time soon.  

            Brian Irby was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan.  He lived with his parents, brother and sister in a small three-bedroom house in Detroit.  His mother and father were not poor.  They both worked long hours, but they were always around in the household.  His older brother and sister were closer in age, and he was the youngest and somewhat of an outcast because of this.  His older siblings were already in high school while he was still in elementary, so Brian spent a lot of time alone as a child.  He had the responsibility, beginning in fourth grade, to walk to and from school on time.  The school was only a couple of miles away, however in the winter temperatures would fall below the thirties and snow would sometimes be up to his knees.  Even though for the most part he had maintained good grades, naturally, he managed to get into his share of trouble.  “If I got to school late, I’d get detention and my Pops would whip me.  If I got home late, Mama was waiting to whip me.  It wasn’t very fun and I would get bored, so as a kid I would do dumb [things] to try to have fun.  I had to be careful not to get caught though because they did not play!” he remembers. 

Maintaining a B average throughout high school was a priority of Brian’s, “only because it was get good grades or get in trouble,” he recalls.  It was in high school when Brian got into the most trouble.  He was one of the smallest kids in school, and he was the youngest brother, so he was rather hardheaded and quick tempered.  “I couldn’t take [stuff] from [anyone] in high school because I was all I had, and I was the smallest kid around… My only defense was to be crazy.”  He had always told me that we had it good, that things were different nowadays, and I had never took heed to his words.  As he reminisced being chased home by neighborhood gang members, being involved in fights at least bi-weekly at one point, and having to carry a knife to and from school, I began to understand just how different things were.  “See, growing up back then things were way different than they are now… it’s different back home… and [in California] for that matter,” he states as I ask him to reflect on his final years in Detroit, and his move to California.  “You had to do what you had to do.  That was my mentality… growing up.  My pops taught me ‘it’s either them or me,’ and I’ll never forget his [words].” 

Brian eventually would graduate high school at age 17, and it was at that young age he moved to California, not to attend college like some of his closest friends, but to try to start a new life.  His senior year in high school and the summer after, Brian had starting making money by selling marijuana.  He had never got into trouble with the law, however he was leading a life that his parents would not have approved of.  The day his father caught him selling marijuana, he was given an ultimatum; get a job or move out.  Brian had no choice because he could not find a job, so at the age of 17, he moved out – all the way to California.  Brian and a high school friend named Talbert moved to California when he was just 17.  While his friend was moving to attend college, he was just doing what he had to do.  He continued selling marijuana until he found a steady job that could support him.  Through his twenties, he was in and out of school, however he managed to obtain countless jobs.  As he skipped from job to job, he was building up many years of experience on his resume.  He was also picking up certain skills with each new job, including plumbing, electrical work, and irrigation.  “I was able to get jobs just off of my experience.  I could work my way up once I was in a company easy… I had a company car at one point.” 

Brian was learning everything he needed to learn to be able to contribute to my life.  One of the most valuable lessons he has taught me is the same one his father had taught him – do what you got to do.  Soon after Brian and my mom married, they moved into a four-bedroom house in Chino Hills, Ca.  This is where my brothers and I spent the majority of our childhood.  When my brothers and I were in high school, my mother was working in downtown Los Angeles at a bank headquarters.  Brian had been working at a bottle manufacturing company, however he was laid off.  While my mother was making enough money to support our family, Brian was once again doing what he had to do.  He became a stay at home dad, keeping the lawn mowed and the leaves raked, dinner ready on a daily basis, and helping us with our homework if needed.  This epitomizes the opposite of the standard type of masculinity we see today in the media.  Though things have changed, it is still relatively uncommon to see the female in the household working long days making the money, and the male staying at home keeping the household intact.  It had to have been especially stressful for him, because my brothers and I were not his children.  “You guys were bad kids, but nothing like outrageous.  You just had normal kid mischief, but for the most part you all were very respectful.  You would mumble under your breaths, but you all would listen,” he reflects as I ask him how he could have ever done it. 

For a period of about 3 years, Brian was a stay at home father, making money only from his severance package and by being an unofficial handy man.  All of his income had come from doing fences, tile floors, and yard work for the neighbors, and working security at the city hall.  In his newfound free time, he did all of the household cooking, cleaning, laundry, and shopping.  This is still very unconventional today, however it is becoming more common.  I asked if he ever felt like he had made a mistake somewhere, or if he had any regrets.  He stated that he had never really thought about it until after he had gotten another job, working as a security guard and caregiver for a wealthy family.  “When I would see these people and all that they have… those kids were spoiled.  It wasn’t until then when I reflected, and I didn’t see how good I had had it until I saw that family and their problems.  It made me appreciate you guys more… So if ever I had felt a little self conscious, I stopped at that point.” 

Masculinity has its own context when used today.  When you think of the word, you think of manliness, dominance, or strength, both figuratively and literally.  One thing that definitely does not come to mind is being a stay at home dad.  Brian is a living, breathing example that men are not bound by the stereotypes that plague Black men in the media.  He is an upstanding citizen in the community, and he has had tremendous impact on three bright young black men in my brothers and I.  He has taught me much about being a man – a young black man at that – and even though he will never replace my father, he will always be a person who’s opinion I can trust and who’s authority I can respect.  Perhaps if it had not been for the three years of having Brian at home everyday as a stay at home dad, he would not have had such an impact in our lives.  You do not see this picture portrayed in today’s media often: A Black stay at home father who serves as a role model and has a tremendous impact on the lives of his children, or in this case stepchildren, while the mother commutes and works countless hours to provide for the household.  I have never seen it on any TV show or movie, and in fact, if I had seen it on TV I probably would not have even thought it to be feasible if I had not lived through it.  I am glad to have witnessed firsthand that Black men are not forced to conform to their image the way it is portrayed in the media. 




Black Recognition Project

Dana Stennis


Dr. Hasan Johnson

December 13,2011




Dana Rozelle Jackson is the man that I choose to interview. He was and continues to be an influential person in my life. He is my father. He gave me life and taught me a great deal about life. Electing to interview him gave me the opportunity to delve further into the how’s and why’s of his life.


Me: Can you tell me when and where you born? Also can you share your family structure? Can you give me a picture of you growing up?

Mr. Jackson: I was born in Omaha, Nb in 1946. My mother was only 14 when she gave birth to me. My father was 16 at the time. I am the oldest of 4 children. We lived in Omaha throughout my childhood and teenage years. I was highly involved in activities. I played all sports with basketball being my favorite. I also had my own step team. We were pretty good. I had aspirations to play college ball but I tore up my knee and was never able to recover from it. If only the doctors back then were as good as they are now I might have had a chance. Regardless of that I went from being a player to coaching. I always had a leadership quality in me and enjoyed showing people how to do things.

Me: Where there any people you looked up to as role models? If so who?

Mr. Jackson: First and foremost it was my father. He was a hard working man. He took care of his business and did not take crap from anyone. I believe he learned early on that because he became a father at such a young age that he would have to fend for himself if he wanted his family to survive. Malcolm was another whose message I listened to. He offered more to the blacks to me because he talked about ways blacks could better themselves. I was not a believer in Islam but that did not stop me from listening to what he had to say. Because I was young at the time his words really resonated with me.

Me: What made you move to California?

Mr. Jackson: Well after having my second child with your mother we wanted to make a change. I wanted to head west and pursue some better job opportunities. Another reason was my mother and sisters had made the move a couple years earlier. We ended up in Hanford for a couple years then moved to Fresno.

Me: So this interview is about black masculinity. Where or who helped shaped your idea about what black masculinity?

Mr. Jackson: I got my idea of what masculinity was from watching my father and other men in the community. I believed as a man you are suppose to take care of everything the family needs and those are food, a roof over our heads, and paying the bills. As I grew up the women were expected to take care of the house and kids. As I grew older I started to change my stance on the expectation of women. It was because I had 3 daughters myself and I have seen men use women in the wrong way and I did not want my daughters to be taken advantage of.

Me: As I got older I realized that you were not like most men in our community. We lived in a poor neighborhood where a lot of my friends had no father and if they did the father was addicted to some type of drug. Did you ever get the sense that you were different?

Mr. Jackson: I knew that I did not adhere to the status quote that surrounded the community but I just did what I needed to do to support my family. I became a teacher and a coach because teaching was the gift given to me so I used it.

Me: As I watched you coach and teach you showed a lot of emotion. You showed a lot of compassion more so with the girls but many men looked like they did not really mean their compassion when they showed it but yours look real. Where did you get that from?

Mr. Jackson:  I do not know. That is something that would just come out of me. Maybe I could say that over time I learned that you have to be real and show yourself and people will believe in you more.

Me: Did you realize that you were a role model for so many children in the community?

Mr. Jackson: Yes. Going into the teaching/coaching profession you know that people are looking towards you to be a leader and role model. I just wanted kids to have an opportunity and outlet that they might not have in another place.

Me: As life went on you were presented with a new challenge being a single father. How did that make you feel?

Mr. Jackson: Well it was difficult splitting with your mother. Something that made me feel better about that was the fact that all my kids decided to stay with me.

Me: You started to play new roles. You were doing things that moms usually did. Did you have any reservations about doing “women’s work?”

 Mr. Jackson: At first I relied on your sister to fill that role in the house but she was older and ready to move on with her life. Out of necessity I had to do the “women’s work” if not you guys would have been missing an important piece.

Me: Did you know that those times would impact your boy’s life in regards to gender roles and masculinity?

Mr. Jackson: No I did not know the impact at the time because I did not have time to think about that. Now as all of you guys have grown up and become fathers I can see how those times affect you guys now.

Me: Thanks for the time and conversation

Mr. Jackson: Your welcome son


            As I interviewed my father I began to realize how fortunate I was. I was exposed to a man that was not afraid to show emotions that most men would classify them as soft. He was not afraid to wear different hats in the family structure. It provided me with a balanced outlook on life in general and masculinity specifically. In my relationship now I am not prohibited Imageackfrom letting my wife assumes some of my duties and I am unencumbered with taking over some of her roles. I have four children an even split 2 girls and 2 boys. I have been able to model for my children different forms of masculinity so that they will have the understanding of how it comes in many different forms. 

Tbone by Adam Youssef

Adam Youssef

Professor Johnson


13 December 2011

                                                                                                                             Tyrone Bradley

The subject of my paper is a counselor at Alta Sierra Middle School, named Tyrone Bradley. Although his name is Tyrone Bradley, he is known as Tbone by the students and staff of the school as well as his friends. Tbone was born into a poor family fifty years ago in Marks, Mississippi. Here his family and most of his community lived under the poverty level. Tbone’s family of fourteen all lived together in a one room house. As a young kid Tbone would pick cotton for two cents a pound to make spending money for himself and to help support his family. Although things were much cheaper back then he recollects that it took a long time just to pick one pound of cotton. Tbone’s mother and father left Marks, Mississippi and moved to Chicago, Illinois to work to support the family. His grandmother looked over the family in Mississippi and taught them morals and values. Although Tbone’s grandma and parents did not have high school diplomas they would stress the importance of education.
Tbone would later join his parents in Chicago. Tbone recollected that his family was the only one he knew where the father was still at home. Most of the neighboring families had fathers who had either left them, gone to prison, or had been killed. He also said that his father was the only man he knew who had a real job; real job meaning that he didn’t sell drugs or pimp on the streets but had a salary and a nine to five. Although the love and guidance from his parents and grandmother kept him on the right track, he says that if it wasn’t for basketball he probably would have fallen into the gang life. He called him and his siblings “latch key kids”, when he explained to mean that they would come home from school and lock themselves in the house until their parents came back, crime was so bad in their neighborhood.
Tbone had started playing basketball in the third grade, the neighborhood was poor and they played on hoop with a wooden backboard and a bicycle tire as a rim. Tbone excelled in basketball and would play for his high school team that would become national champs a team that included now famous players like Doc Rivers and Isaiah Thomas. Although Tbone, was never a gang member himself or interested in the gang life he was well respected by the gangs in his neighborhood because they admired his basketball skills. The most common gang in his are, The Gangster Disciples offered him their friendship and protection even though he wasn’t one of them because they would be on his high school basketball games. Tbone’s school was 99 black, the only non-black being a girl from Puerto Rico. Although, there were many bright kids the teachers guided the students to not go to college but to go into work directly out of college. Tbone explains that the teachers were not necessarily racist but trying to ensure that they would get a job. Large majority of his class did not finish high school or move on to higher education.
Graduating from high school at seventeen, Bradley could have gone to almost any college with a full ride but chose Fresno State because he wanted to get away from the gangs in Chicago. At Fresno state he led the team to two PCAA championships. It was here that Bradley picked up the name Tbone because he was five feet nine inches and about 105 pounds and his initials were T and B. Tbone is considered to be the best point guard to ever play basketball at Fresno State. Tbone worked hard throughout college in fear of letting his friends and family down who were proud of him for making it so far. Tbone wanted to master in physical education but faced withed stereotypes his whole life he didn’t want to fall into another stereotype of athletes majoring in physical education. Therefore he chose criminology because the economy was bad and he felt that there would always be crime so there would always be a need for policeman. However, when he graduated he realized that he could never arrest anyone and he went back to school and got his masters in counseling. When he graduated, both Fresno Unified and Clovis Unified wanted him but he chose Clovis because they offered more money. He easily found employment because he was a local hero. Schools in Clovis Unified are well known to not have many African American employees, the nineteen years Tbone has been at Alta Sierra, their has only been one black teacher and she stayed for only a year. Tbone has constantly urged that African American teachers should be hired.
Tbone feels like he didn’t fall into the black male stereotypes that most his friends growing up did due to the moral lessons taught to him by his grandma and the value for education taught to him by his parents. Most of his friends sought to live the gangster life, getting respect and protection and making quick money. In many ways, Tbone is a direct contradiction to the stereotypical portrayals of black males in the media. Tbone values education more than anything else. He is always extremely well mannered. He doesn’t feel any need to hide his emotions and when he’s sad he cries freely whether it be in front of people or not. Tbone is extremely caring and always puts others before himself. Tbone has devoted his life to be an active member of his community and pushing for what he believes his right. Although he is just an advisor, he often opens debates with the heads of Clovis Unified whenever he feels justice has not been served. Tbone’s best friend is the general manager of the Charlotte Bobcats and through him he has brought Michael Jordan to basketball camps in Fresno for the last thirteen years to help inspire children.
While media portrays blacks to be very showy and image focused, Tbone tells people to judge him not by what they see but how he treats them. Tbone is modest about his accomplishments and says he doesn’t go out of his way to do what is right, he’s just being himself. He has affected the lives of all the children who went through his school and many others. Tbone has brought over fifty friends who were in trapped in the gang life from Chicago to Fresno to help them find another path. One such friend was Brian King, a member of the Disciples gang and one of the biggest dope dealers in all of Chicago. Once here King became clean and started the Fresno Street Saints, and organization devoted to keeping underprivileged kids out of trouble. Tbone has been awarded four keys to the city for all the notable community work and activism he has done. Tbone truly counters the stereotypes of African American males that are shown in the media. Tbone would be an example of exemplarily character whether he is black or white or any other race. Tyrone Bradley to this day attributes his success and character to his grandma for he says he thinks of her always before making a decision.

The Life of Patrick J. Lee “Role Models” by Kenny Umeh

ImageKenny Umeh

AFRS 130 T





For My Black Elder Recognition project I interviewed an African American Male by the name of Patrick J. Lee. Patrick was born in Pampa, Texas and raised in Pocola, Oklahoma in a predominately white community with a population of about 3,500 people. His father was black and his mother was white, but he was adopted by a black family from an all white family at the age of 5 years old.  Patrick was raised around elders and was pushed to participate in a plethora of activities at a young age such as sports, music, also playing 13 instruments, church choir, oratory speech contests, and much more. Growing up Patrick spent most of his time around adults, which forced him to be a leader in all his ways. Recently he found his first white family on his mom’s side about seven to eight months ago, I compare Patrick Lee to Malcolm X because his whole life he dealt with a separation of identity being the only black child in his immediate family but adopted from an African American family shortly after his fifth birthday. Mr. Lee contributed to the community all his life and was a role model for young black men like me all around and that’s why I chose to focus on this man for my course project. Some contributions that stood out to me were things like speaking in classes around the country, He founded the first NAACP Chapter atIdahoStateUniversity, Started leading student body marches and received The Parent of the Year Award at his Daughters school inClovislast year.


 Patrick Lee, a former college athlete with both collegiate and professional athletics experience, joined the Hilton Garden Inn Clovis (California) in January of 2010 as the Senior Director of Sales, Marketing & Revenue Management after serving the previous year as the Associate General Manager with Bulldog Sports Properties at Fresno State and the previous three and a half years as the Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs for the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Department of Athletics.


Lee was recently recognized in 2008 as one of InSpire Magazine’s Top 40 Inspirers in America, and in 2007 as one of “Alaska’s Top Forty Under 40” professionals within the state of Alaska. He was awarded the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s (CCHA) Most Outstanding Marketing Campaign of the Year Award in both 2007 and 2006. He was recognized with six awards (two gold, two silver & two bronze) in 2009, nine awards (three gold, one silver & five bronze) in 2008, three awards (one silver & two bronze) in 2007 and five awards (one gold, two silver & two bronze) in 2006 by the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) at their national conventions (23 Total National Awards).  Lee also received the UAF Chancellor’s Diversity Award in 2007 and earned membership into who’s whom amongAmerica’s Teachers and Educators, the Golden Key International Honour Society, Pi Lambda Theta International Honor Society, Who’s Who among Executives and Professionals and Cambridge Who’s who.


Lee currently serves as the Area G1 Governor for District 33 Toastmasters and a member of theEast FresnoRotary Club.  Prior to joining the Hilton Garden Inn Clovis, Lee served on the Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board, as Vice President for the J.P. Jones Community Development Center Board of Directors, on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters Greater Fairbanks Area, a member of the Co-Commander program for the 354th Fighter Wing (Eielson Air Force Base), a member of the Board of Directors for the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation of Fairbanks, on the Board of Advisors and Co-Advisor for the UAF Golden Key International Honour Society and performed numerous speaking engagements each year.  He had also served on the UAF Vision Task Force committee, UAF Vice Chancellor’s Advancement and Community Engagement Advisory Council and the Board of Directors for the Fairbanks Golden Heart Rotary Club.  He is also a member of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators, Minority Opportunities Athletic Association, Black Coaches & Administrators, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Mt. Hermit Masonic Lodge #35. 


In his first two years with the Alaska Nanooks at UAF, the Pocola,Oklahomanative implemented new marketing and promotional concepts, some of which earned him conference and national awards, and increased sponsorship revenues over 45%. He created the Junior Nanooks Club, which had over 95 youth members in its first year, and the Nanook Fund, which is the primary fundraising extension of the athletics department. Lee came to California after Alaska, by way of Tallahassee, Florida, where he owned E&E Consulting and Management Services, serving as the Director of Team Operations for the Jacksonville Wave, an American Basketball Association Team, and serving as Project Director for vending and concessions services for Florida A&M University (FAMU) Athletics.


Lee previously worked atFloridaA&MUniversityin 2003-04 as the Executive Director of the FAMU Boosters Club, Inc. and in 1999-2000 as the Director of Sports Marketing. He also has served as a Sports Marketing Specialist for Daktronics, and worked as Vice President for Marketing and Sales for Davis Group International. He also has been a co-owner of the Florida Blaze, a semi-professional basketball team which featured Roy Jones Jr., and a corporate marketing intern for the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) TOUR.


While a graduate student at Idaho State University (ISU) inPocatello,Idaho, Lee interned under ISU athletic director Irv Cross, a former sports anchor for CBS Sports, who encouraged him to pursue a career in athletics administration. Lee is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in sport administration (PhD) fromFloridaStateUniversity, inTallahassee,Florida, with a 3.52 GPA. He completed a master’s degree in physical education/athletic administration and a bachelor’s degree in speech communications fromIdahoStateUniversityinPocatello,Idaho, along with an associate’s degree in secondary education from Carl Albert State College (CASC) inPoteau,Oklahoma.


Lee played junior college basketball from 1992-94 at CASC and was the Vikings’ 1994 Player of the Year, earning All-Conference Honors. He is the 1994 Tri-State Junior College Slam Dunk Champion forArkansas,KansasandOklahoma, and was a top ten selection for theArkansas,Kansasand Oklahoma Junior College All-Star Game. He then competed in basketball for the Idaho State University Bengals from 1994-96 and track from 1994-97. He ranks seventh at ISU in three-point field goal percentage, earned All-Big Sky Conference Honors as a high jumper (and student-athlete) and was a member of the 1997 Big Sky Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship Team.


When I was in the middle of interviewing Patrick Lee I already sensed that his life contributed to the argument that black males are not limited to stereotypes that plague black men in the media. In media the black male race is put into a category of laziness, criminal minds, and uneducated. Just sitting with Patrick and observing his demeanor and diction already tossed him out of the category of black males in media. I learned a great amount of information spending time with Mr. Lee at the Hilton Hotel. Listening to him speak reminded me of my father which is not by my side anymore so I took in as much information as I could. Overtime I noticed that Patrick Lee somewhat of myself, we have similarities such as the Sports Administration major, raised in church, both long jumped and triple jumped at a collegiate level, and is a member of the fraternity I will one day be a part of. Seeing that, I took the interview more seriously and as an opportunity to learn some advice from a role model. He quoted “You always have a second chance to do it right the first time” which he explained meant utilize your resources, find someone that already did what you want to do in your future and ask them how they got there, their mistakes wont be your mistakes. That statement stood out to me because I just so happened to be interviewing someone that already did what I would like to do in life. We then discussed theoretical frameworks and paradigms, which are your personal views on how you see the world. The interview lasted about two hours and in that period of time I soaked up as much information as I could. We then went on to discuss failure and success and how it is dealt with, Patrick told me don’t punish yourself for mistakes because they already happened but instead keep walking because success comes through failure. He elaborated saying it’s not the mistakes you make, but how you deal with the mistakes you make. The last advice he gave me was about educating eyes. He said Exposure is key, because without seeing on your own you will always be blind to what is actually happening. Patrick gave me many tips to take with me and completely satisfied me when I ended the interview by asking him for some advice as a young black male and a student. After he dropped me off at the school and I finish speaking with Mr. Lee I felt an urge of motivation to strive for success in life, talking to him changed my views for the better and I would recommend everyone to speak to this man, I appreciated his time and effort and everything we discussed. And this project was useful to me in many ways.



Carl Young: An Alternative type of Masculine

Carl young was born a 67 year old of native of Fresno, California was interviewed by Whitney Jenkins a student in Africana Studies 130T.

Jenkins: Hello, how are you doing?
Young: I’m fine how are you doing young lady?
Jenkins: I’m great thank you.
Young: So, let’s get down to business shall we.
Jenkins: Okay let’s jump into the first question. Can you tell me a little about yourself? Where you grew up about your early life experience things you witnessed throughout your life.
Young: sure, I was born and raised in Fresno California. My mother (who was your great grandmother was name Caesor young and my father who you never met was named Gabriele. From the time I was six until I graduated high school, I remember coming home from school and neither my other of my father would be here. They weren’t being neglectful as it would be called today. They were just doing what they had to do to make sure that our family made ends meet each month. They were making sure that the bills were paid and that we had food in our stomachs. So from a really young age I had to learn to be self-sufficient. But you can probably see that with a lot of young black people. Most of us ain’t coddled all of our lives. We learn really young that those that do for themselves make it. I mean I didn’t do it all myself I had brothers and sisters to help me out but we were all pretty young so we had to learn independence.
Jenkins: So how do you think having to learn independence at such a young age affected you throughout your life?
Well I feel like me learning independence at such a young age made my transition to adulthood much easier. I feel like by the time I was 13 I was grown. I had a job. I went to school, I helped around the house and anything else you can think of. Kids back then grew up a lot faster. We matured unlike the 37 year old babies that still live at home today.
Jenkins; So when did you finally leave home and once you did what did you do?
Young: Well, I didn’t leave home until I was 18 years old because it was very im
portant to my mother and me that I graduated high school. Then after I graduated high school, I began attending Four C’s accounting college.
Jenkins: Four C’s?
Young: yeah it’s a college that used to be here in Fresno California but closed down once Fresno state began to expand. They couldn’t compete for students. I wasn’t able to graduate from the school though, because before they closed I was drafted to fight in the Vietnam war. Then when I returned from my tour of duty the college had closed. Honestly, I never felt patriotic to this country. I felt like why should I fight and potentially lose my life for a place that thinks I don’t belong here. Why comeback mangled up for a place that treated blacks like second class citizens. You would think that it was so much better in California but it wasn’t. Especially not in Fresno. White people still walked around with a superiority complex. Black People who were considered to have good jobs still made scraps compared to white people. It was disgusting and I had to go all the way to another country and fight for that. Then once I got home people treated me and a lot of the other veterans that I knew like dirt. Like we had committed a crime against humanity because we fought in the war. But we had no choice in the matter. It was either go or get locked up.

Jenkins: So do you regret fighting in Vietnam?

Young: No I do not. I feel like everything happens for a reason and me getting grafted was part of it. When I came back home I was much more appreciative for what I had. I didn’t have to engage in guerilla warfare or fight for my life back on the home front. I just wish that when the demonstrators were speaking out on the war and everything they didn’t take it out on the veterans that fought in the war because like I said there was no option. What I am grateful to the military about is that it afforded veterans the opportunity to get things like houses and such. Not all were fortunate but I was. After I got out of the military I was not able to go back to four C’s for my bachelors but I wanted some degree so I went to Fresno City college and got my associates in account from there.

Jenkins: once you got your degree what did you do?

Young: Once I got my degree I worked for the IRS until my retirement in 2005.

Jenkins: Why did you retire?

Young: years that time I had moved in with my mother to take care of her because she needed help around the house since she was getting older. Then in 2005 she started getting sick and had a stroke so I stayed home to take care of her. I couldn’t do both (provide care and IRS work) so I retired. But you remember that right because when I had to be gone for a while you or your mama would help out.
Jenkins: Yes I remember, so you usually don’t see images of men serving as care givers, nurses, and so on. This is not what you would call a traditional gender role. So what made you want to quit your job at the IRS to act as a nurse to granny? Also how do you feel you went against traditional gender roles?

Young: Well my first and foremost concern at the time I retired from the IRS was my mother. I saw that she was in need and so I decided to step in out of love. As far as gender roles are concerned I think that a traditional gender role should be for men to take care of the ones that they love. If we were not so hell bent on trying to be strong all the time then just maybe the world would be a better place. I mean think about it most murders between two males occur because men are trying to assert their dominance over one another. I ain’t just making this up either it’s been proven…I read a lot….hahaha anyhow if we were able to show are softer side and think about others more often than like I said the world would be a better place.
Jenkins: I totally agree…well (young interrupts)
Young: Whitney, sorry to interrupt but I have to take off I have a doctor’s appointment in 30minutes.
Jenkins: Ok, well I think I have enough information. I certainly thank you for your time and contribution. Have a great day uncle
Young: yeah see you at church on Sunday
Jenkins and young then part ways

My Reflection
When thinking of negative stereotypes that plague African American males many come to mind. Yet none are as pervasive as that of the black brute stereotype. The Black brute is depicted as savage, violent, amazingly strong and not caring about right and wrong and completely disregards others. He is this way for the simple fact that he cannot control himself. Unfortunately, The African American male is faced with many stereotypical images life time one of which is the Black brute. That man then has a choice he can either conform or buck against these images and form his own identity. For this Project I interviewed my Great Uncle carl (my grandmother’s brother). My uncle is one of many African American males that chose not to conform to what society expected him to be and shaped his own identity. This essay will serve as my reflection on just how my uncle’s life contributes to the argument that African American males are not and should not be defined by the stereotypes that have been perpetuated an forced upon African American males through means of the media.
In Many respects my uncle the characteristics of what a man should be. When you think of men you think of strength, and he is strong. You think of intelligence and he is smart. It is the negative stereotypical ideas perpetuated by the media about black males where he does not belong. My uncle is hard working, and caring. He is intelligent and has a gentle side. He is a far cry away for the black brute that media would have us to believe that black men are.
Carl grew up in rural Fresno county with my grandma, great-grandmother his father and her siblings. Both of his parents worked to maintain the household. From a young age he learned to be self-Sufficient and independent. In situations like this the popular assumption is that most Black men would drop out of school and turn to the streets. However my uncle carl had a thirst for knowledge and hence continued with schooling. He went onto college but due to the war was able to finish. From y interview with him I got the impression that he was not a fan of the military. But if the Black brute stereotype is to be believed then one would think that the black man would love going over to another country killing others no matter what reception he got on the home front. However my uncle did not like the entire situation. One he did not want to go into the war to begin with and was genuinely hurt by the anti-war demonstrations that faulted our soldiers as well as the government for the war in Vietnam.
Upon leaving the military my uncle continued working for the U.S government but through different venue. He began working as an accountant for the internal revenue service. This portion of his life also went against the negative stereotypical images of the black male. Rather than being lazy like the coon or a pseudo-intellectual like the zip coon, he was hard working and used his knowledge and schooling to make a living. He relied on his intelligence to complete his task. Then after decades of working with theirs he retired. However the reason he retired was completely unconventional as well. He retired to take care of his mother (my great grandmother). He served as her care provider until her death in 2006. But if we were to listen to the sweeping generalizations about black men and refer back to the Black Brute stereotype this would not be expected of a black man.
We would not imagine an African American male in the role of a nurturer or care provider if we were to believe what we are told. What was great about this is that although I knew my uncle Carl retired to take care of my granny, I always assumed that it was out of obligation. I thought that no one else could do it so he felt he had to. However I was wrong. In this interview my uncle Carl said that he chose to take care of my granny out of love. Love is an emotion that is usually not attributed to the black male and my uncle readily displayed this emotion.
After completing this project and interviewing my uncle I have a found respect for my uncle because he was willing to sacrifice for his loved ones. Also his mere existence on this earth helps to dispel many myths about the black man. He is nowhere near a coon or pseudo-intellectual. It is his intelligence and hard work that helped him garners a career. Most of all he is far from the pervasive image of the black brute for he sacrifice and gave up things like his career in the name of love for his mother. Ultimately this is not an emotion that the black brute can feel hence my uncles ability to defy this stereotype amongst others dispels the sweeping generalizations about black men,