Live: Debate On Report on Young Black Males

May 21, 2010

Today [May 21] MPs are debating the Mincy Report in the House of Assembly. The report is entitled: “A Study of Employment, Earnings, and Educational Gaps between Young Black Bermudian Males and their Same-Age Peers.” The study was commissioned in 2007 by the Government, in partnership with Atlantic Philanthropies. The study was conducted by the Columbia University School of Social Work and led by Professor Ronald Mincy. You can download or view the full report [233 page PDF]

11:47am: Premier calls it one of the most important debates of his career. He calls it a moral imperative to reverse the historical marginalization of black males in this country. You can read his full statement here.

12:20pm: Dr Grant Gibbons starts to speak, then says he will yield to Zane DeSilva [PLP] as he has “somewhere important” to go [Editors note: Mr Desilva's daughter is marrying singer Collie Buddz today]. Mr DeSilva thanks him, says his daughter thanks him, and jokingly says he will send Dr Gibbons one of Collie.Buddz’s new CDs.

12:21pm: Minister Zane DeSilva [PLP] says the “speed of the leader determines the rate of the pack”, and says he thinks it’s a very important subject for the country now and in the future, and thanks the Premier for bringing it forward. He`talks about fixing the “longstanding inequities” in our country.  He calls for the business community, and wealthy families in Bermuda to do their part, and support any programs that assist in improvement. He says most white males do not face the challenges of their black counterparts. He says we can only move forward as one people, if we acknowledge the past.

12:34pm: House adjourns for lunch.

2:40pm: Dr Grant Gibbons [UBP]: Says the report is useful in many respects, suggests an all male school, not another school per se, maybe a “school within a school”. Says it should have a large percentage of male teachers, and even if one has to raise salaries to do it, do so. Asked why if the Premier thought the report was so important, why the Premier took so long to bring it in.

2:55pm: Elvin James [PLP] speaks extensively about education, of which he is the Minister. Says they are trying some gender specific classes, and refers to the Blueprint. Says he knows it will be controversial, but thinks going back to the old system of a longer primary school, then to high school may be beneficial. Also saying it may be controversial, he mentions school consolidation.

3:22pm: Shawn Crockwell [BDA] speaks on historical inaccuracies.Says if “we don’t correct this problem, the future of this country is in jeopardy”. Goes on to mention the UBP is going back in history candidate wise. Like those before him, he says education is a large portion, and fixing it would benefit. Says although the Government and school system is not perfect, alot comes down to personal responsibility. Praises his own father, whom he says his primary objection was to ensure his children were educated.

3:45pm: Bob Richards speaks greatly to the importance of education.

4:00pm: Terry Lister [PLP] says he has a slight concern on the report, and wished they talked to more students.

5:00pm: Louise Jackson [UBP] speaks, also on education. Refers to her background as a teacher, says the answer to closing the gap is “education, education, education”. Said she is a black mother, grandmother, and teacher with more than fifty years experience of all. Spoke about Dr Ben Carson, referred to Bermudian Dr Malcolm Brock. Referred to experience of Georgia where they had formed Task Forces made up of teenagers and sought to find and identify the problems that they saw, and suggested this as a model for Bermuda.

5:10pm: Paula Cox [PLP] speaks on various matters, including education – as most have. Saying some members of the community should come to the table and assist, rather then only complain. Said we as family and parents must be careful about the messages we communicate. Called it a constructive conversation

5:30pm: Charles Swan [UBP]: Says this report is the latest in a number of reports, references ones back to the 60s. Said the importance of offering technical education as an option should be considering more, saying he knows work has been done on that. He talks about the Mincy report, and notes that only 18 students were interviewed. Would like to hear less talk about “tortured past” and more about opportunities.

5:58pm: Dale Butler [PLP] says its important to have a plan when raising a child, references the feminist movement and says that partnership when raising children is essential. Speaks mostly on the importance of raising children well and giving them attention. Says we can get rid of racism all we want, but if you aren’t qualified you won’t get the job. Comments on the fact only 18 students were interviewed says that if one turned in a paper like that in college, it wouldn’t be graded well. References his own book on raising boys. Also speaks to education.

6:25pm: Michael Scott [PLP] speaks to wage disparities, says the problem extends past education to when an individual gets into the workforce. Says the report stimulates clear options for policy changes. Says we need to be sensitive and bold, and mentions wiping away debt.

6:55pm: Pat Gordon-Pamplin [UBP] says she will start at the backend, says that we have major contracts that have been offered to contractors, not black contractors and says that young black males are looking at their fathers, who were not given the contracts. Says the lack of opportunity has a “profound” effect on the sons. Speaks to material goods and the impact in the black community, and says their counterparts parents are giving kids things which will appreciate in value. Speaks to importance of raising children, and said she wishes there were more local references used in it, versus American.

7:26pm: Randy Horton [PLP] says the report doesn’t tell us much we don’t already know, but does give us solid data. Speaks to need for job skills, quality education, says all teachers need to be counselors as well.  Speaks to need for intervention from various sectors, so “we can help our young people”. Mentions sports, saying he himself would not be there today if not for sports.

7:55pm: Mark Pettingill [BDA] praised Randy Horton’s speech, speaks to education, says we need more male role models. Says we can’t get over this, until we “get our heads around it”. References Barack Obama.

8:11pm: Wayne Perenchief [PLP] says Rolfe Commissiong lobbied for the study to be done. Says the family is the building block of the community, says females are raising many children in the black community, and we have reduced male role models.

8:36pm: John Barritt [UBP]: Speaks of the effect of criminal behavior in future income. Says he is no way means to demean the issue which is very important, but as far as the study “consultants take our watch and tell us the time”, references local studies and books.

8:55pm: Cole Simons [UBP] says education is the cornerstone, but is only one block to move forward. Says we are “so wrapped up in international business and tourism to a lesser degree” that we are neglecting other possible industries.

9:20pm: Derrick Burgess [PLP] Speaks to racism, says one reason there is so many blacks in government, as historically the doors in the private sector were closed or limited. Says whites are more then welcome to join the PLP, it’s not a black party as such. Says we need to promote harmony overall.

9:51pm: Darius Tucker [Independent] talks about job prospects. Says due to historical issues there are some whites who get a start in life, parents maybe buy them a home, get money in the back etc, whereas a lower percentage of blacks have this happen. Says we all have a role to play, it’s only 21sq miles here.

10:16pm: Ashfield DeVent [PLP] says his constituency probably contains a disproportionate level of disaffected black males. Says many of us “are not caring as we should”, saying “nothing comes from talk but sound”. Says a “tribal war is out there, in a 21sq mile place”, says “we are in some serious crap”. Says in some aspects people get props for going to prison, when it should be getting props for getting a degree.

10:45pm: Neletha Butterfield [PLP] says the statistics are alarming, speaks of experiences as Social Rehabilitation Minister, and of necessity of good parenting.

11:15pm: Michael Weeks [PLP] says he is very passionate about the issue, says he is a father of 3 black males, and spent almost 20 years working in residential care. Speaks to urgency to deal with situation, mentions trade schools as a good idea, and says we have in some cases moved past the matter of unemployment, that some are now becoming unemployable.

11:28pm: Kim Swan [UBP] says we must look forward with hope. Says it’s important to reflect historically, and the institutionalized racism didn’t just “up and go away” and a fraction still remains, and we have to thwart them. Says we must think positively and teach our young people to be the best that they can be. He says people keep saying we need role models, 67% of the House are black males, 19% are black females, 0% are white females – says black males in House are the majority, and they need to lead by example.

[Disclaimer: This does not represent all statements made, or speakers. For previous live blogging coverage click here.]

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  1. From the Perspective of a Young Black Man | | December 7, 2010
  1. terry says:

    Rule 1.

    Never make wedding plans when the House is in session.

    Rule 2.

    Never say your gonna send a “CD” to an “MP” made by “CB”


    Why would an “MP” accept a “CD” from another “MP” made by a “CB”

    Rule 4.

    “GG” is an “MP” without a “CD” by a “CB”.

    Rule 5.

    To hell with the House. Have a great wedding day Miss Desilva

    This “Budz” for you……………

    (better leave the ‘cold’ part out)