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?
Young: 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 important 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
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,