Dwayne Wilson Sr., age 55 residing in Bakersfield, Ca. Background information on Mr. Wilson, He his a father of three, Married for 25 plus years, owner of his own business with a Sober Living Home assisting those who need some help.
Interview dated: May 3, 2013
Me: Good Evening Sir,
Mr. Wilson: Good Evening
Me: I appreciate your time, and allowing me this interview. Well we can get started, how did you grow up?
Mr. Wilson: I grew up in a poverty stricken neighborhood, raised by a single mother with 3 sisters until 12yrs old. At that time my Mother married my Stepfather. Mom was a hard worker she worked as a Social Worker during the week and as a domestic (housekeeper) on weekends. Stepfather was a handy man and janitor.
Me: Who did you look up to growing up?
Mr. Wilson: Growing up I looked up to my stepfather.
Me: growing up what male figures were you surrounded by in your community?
Mr. Wilson: Males I was surrounded by were my stepfather, older stepbrothers, and uncles. There were also older drug users in our neighborhood
Me: What is your current profession and why did you choose this profession?
Mr. Wilson: I work for the county as a Substance Abuse Specialist at a continuation school as a counselor. What I do is I serve as a counselor and a mentor to these young children from 4th grade to seniors in high school. All who have previously used drugs, are using along with being kicked out of school or coming from deranged homes. It is my job to help these kids to a better future. Letting them no in a short sense that drugs and violence is not the way of the world. I have been there in my won personal journey. If it wasn’t for God and my family I may still be in that realm. Yet I was able to turn it around. I also run a faith based Men’s Sober Living Home. Where I provide living quarters and services to individuals battling an addiction or disease.
Me: You have chosen to make an effort to not be associated with the stereotypes of black males, as savage, violent, not caring about laws, we cant be controlled,
Mr. Wilson: I believe that black males will always have to struggle against the stereotypes of the past. We will always be persecuted for the color of our skin and from the negative perception society has toward us. But it is something that we as a whole have to change we can be defined by what others make us out to be. No matter what I do in life it will not change the way some in society looks at me.
Me: In your opinion do black males use stereotypes as an excuse?
Mr. Wilson: I believe that some still use stereotypes as an excuse, while others use
it as motivation. Those who use it as motivation are those who are not settling for negativity in their life growing up, using a more positive outlook on life. In return those who do “make it out” so to speak should be the same one who give back to their community assisting those who see no way out, making a way for the next generation. Therefore making a difference in return breaking the cycle. It’s nothing that will happen over night, but in time.
Me: Sir, I thank you for your time and allowing me this interview.
This interview sheds light on part of the man that he is and what he has done not only for his wife and three kids but what he has done for his community. Growing up in poverty and not granted the opportunities as other were you are faced with decisions of rising above your surrounding or playing it safe and laying in the sea of your upbringings.
He turned his life into something. He had his troubles through life but he was able to over come those troubles and when it came time be a father and a good husband he stood up like a man and handled those responsibilities. He was not like many fathers who have children and leave them to be raised by a single mother. He has seen those struggles growing up and would not let his children be with out.
Growing up in the shadow up my father I was taught right from wrong, how to stand up on my own and do what I had to do as a man. As well as handing my business and taking care of all my responsibilities. Currently a Reverend at Rising Star Baptist Church in Bakersfield, California he is also the superintendent of Sunday School, the Church Janitor, and The overseer of Vacation Bible School.
He is giving back to his community in every aspect of his life. Rather its counseling students, assist men in their recovery or preaching the Gospel. He has not let the stereotypes of society, as black men being brutes, not being able to have a relation ship, not caring for their women.
We as Black me are plagued not only in the media but in the eyes of many beholders on a day-to-day basis. The media is just the most extravagant. All you see now days are the rappers, singers, and athletes on TV either showing off how much money and women they have or getting in trouble. Past few instances where black males with power and money have got in trouble has been over drugs and weapons. The same thing that has plagued our neighborhoods for decades. In my eyes it’s showing now matter how much money we have we will not be able to escape the reality of society.
We are not meant to succeed in life or in other words make it out of the ghetto. Those of us who do are privileged and many of us do not realize the opportunities we are given. We have be the individuals who make a change in any way possible.
As stars in the black community, the musicians and athletes should use their image in a positive manner. Not all have those intentions, others just want to be able to say they made it out of the hood but then just go crazy flaunting all their money, jewelry cars and clothes and portraying the way of the hood is the life to have. Especially when none of them are living that life style any more they got out soon as possible.
Stereotypes of the black male will always be relevant; it will not subside for the fact that we as black males will not let it. As positive as it is to have a black president, our journey does not stop there, it has just truly begun. What happens when he is not president no more? What will we as African Americans do then? We have to make a change and not be scared of change.