In fall 2015, the African American population made up only 4.9 percent of IU’s population, while white students made up 79.9 percent of IU’s population, according to a report from University Research and Reporting.
This lack of diversity for the black population was a topic of discussion at a National Panhellenic Council event Tuesday called “Barber Shop Talk.” The event was put together by NPHC fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi.
While discussing topics about the problems facing minorities in the world today, attendees received haircuts from three barbers at the event.
“The purpose of the event is to make a better image for us as minorities,” Kappa president Jabari Adkins said.
Barbershops have historically been important in bringing men together to talk about life and issues, Kappa vice president Brandon McGhee said. He said the barbershop theme is a great way to have people meet and discuss race issues.
“Men are individualistic creatures,” McGhee said. “We don’t get out much, so this is a great way to bring unity to black culture.”
Though McGhee said he cannot deny IU’s diversity statistics, he said he thinks the campus is becoming more inclusive.
Junior Brysen Arnold said black culture is suffering because members of the black community are not supporting events put on by other blacks.
“We should get our heads out of our asses and realize there’s a reason why people put on these events,” Arnold said. “And we should go out and support them.”
On a national scale, McGhee said a problem for the black community is the mass incarceration of minorities in the United States.
“The U.S. has only five percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of its prisoners,” McGhee said.
In 2001, one in six black males was incarcerated, McGhee said. Today, he said that statistic has doubled to one in three black males.
To avoid such incarcerations from occurring in the future, IU junior Charles Audu said schools should offer more recreational activities outside of education and sports. He said these activities will prevent black children from geing into trouble with the police.
Along with this, Audu also said having a father figure could also prevent black children from being incarcerated.
The high incarceration rates of black males could be attributed to the fact that they sometimes seek power “in the wrong ways,” freshman Juwan Cottingham said.
This conflict of interests leads to relationship problems, as well, Audu said. He said men in general are encouraged to be sexually involved with multiple women, in order to seem more “powerful.”
During the event, Kappa president Jabari Adkins said meetings of this sort should happen every month.
“Then you can bring new people each time, and we can grow,” Adkins said.
Each of these meetings will have its own unique theme, instead of the barbershop theme each time, Adkins said.
Regardless of these problems faced by minorities, moderator and co-host Marselis Byers said black men should be proud of their culture and each other.
He also said men should to complement each other often and boost each other’s self-esteems.
“We are the most powerful men in the world,” Byers said. “Name one major accomplishment in this world not conceived by a black male. You can’t.”
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