View Full Version : "The Trouble With Black Men"

Thursday, August 19th, 2004, 07:05 PM

'Controversy is a good thing'

By Cindi John
BBC News Online community affairs reporter

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39972000/jpg/_39972836_matthews2_203.jpg No stranger to controversy: David Matthews

"Unbalanced... insulting... exploits racist stereotypes" - a storm of controversy has erupted over a new BBC TV series, The Trouble With Black Men. How does the show's presenter answer his critics?

David Matthews laughs heartily when asked if he considers himself a role model for young black men.

"That's a cheeky question," he says. Cheeky maybe, but pertinent.

Matthews is the presenter of a controversial documentary series, The Trouble With Black Men, which critics have lambasted for reinforcing all the old stereotypes of black men being lazy, womanisers and bad fathers. Some believe the programme to be so damaging they want it pulled from the schedules.

But Matthews, 37, says while he's made it as a journalist and writer in spite of an under-privileged start in east London, his show doesn't suggest he's a role model who's got all the answers.

"I'm not talking about me and what I'm all about, the programmes are about issues and about real people.

"What I'm saying is when looking at things like education and the fact that just 25% of black boys will get five good GCSEs, when looking at the percentage of black men that are in prison and issues relating to the family and relationships, these are things that need to be tackled.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/o.gifhttp://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/start_quote_rb.gif Black men have become some kind of documentary subject where there's something always wrong with them http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/end_quote_rb.gif

Paul Lowe, black men's group organiser

"Many of my critics have been slightly misguided because they haven't seen any of the series and they don't know what's in it. I think a lot of people will be extremely surprised when they see the films and understand the content," he says.

The programmes have drawn sharp criticism from leading black figures, such as Lee Jasper, race adviser to the Mayor of London, who accused Matthews of being a "gift to the British National Party and leader writers for the Sun and the Mail".

The leading black newspaper, The Voice, ran an editorial accusing the series of "exploiting the racist stereotype of black men as promiscuous, lazy and obsessed with rap".

But Matthews says such considerations are not a reason for self-censorship.

"I think we can't avoid self-criticism because there is a perception it will fuel the sick right-wing agendas of others.

"Controversy is a good thing anyway when it sparks debate and it gets people talking, so to that end I'm quite happy for it to be controversial," he says.

'Out-dated stereotype'

Others are more concerned with the way the issues are being presented.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39969000/jpg/_39969738_babyfather_203.jpg TV series Babyfather also dealt with issues facing black men

Trevor Lloyd, of the support group Working With Men, which runs parenting courses in south London, thinks Matthews has simply latched on to an out-dated stereotype.

Around 70% of the youngsters who attend its sessions are young black men who want to be better prepared for fatherhood, he says.

"What we're finding is that there's an increasing number of young black men who are saying 'I don't want to do it the way my father did', so they're more likely to be looking to take responsibility than their own fathers did.

"I think there should be an active debate about the issue but I doubt whether presenting it in this form is the place to start," Lloyd says.

That's also the view of Paul Lowe who helps runs a black men's group in Forest Hill, south-east London.

"I just don't think at the end of the day you would get a programme called The Trouble With White Men.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/o.gifhttp://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/start_quote_rb.gif I think it's great we live in an environment where people have got the freedom and the luxury to express alternative or radical views http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/end_quote_rb.gif

David Matthews

"Black men have become some kind of documentary subject where there's something always wrong with them. I can't see the programme doing anything to help black men as a whole," he says.

However, Matthews defends the fact that the issues will be aired to a television audience, saying the majority of black people get their information from mainstream media.

"We have to be very public, we take these issues and put them out in the open and say we're not afraid to deal with them, that we're not hiding, we're not a secret society," he says.


He is used to such hostility. In 2002 Matthews provoked outrage, especially among black women, with a newspaper article entitled Why I Prefer To Date White Women.

In it he said many black women were obsessed with how much money a man earned and were "strait-laced" compared to white women when it came to sex.

But Matthews denies he makes a habit of writing sensational articles demeaning other black people simply to appeal to mainstream media.

"That was a deliberately provocative, thought-provoking piece which was a bit tongue-in-cheek. "Of course people aren't always going to agree with my perspective but I think it's great we live in an environment where people have got the freedom and the luxury to express alternative or radical views." The Trouble With Black Men is on BBC Three on Thursday at 2100

Thursday, August 19th, 2004, 07:14 PM
The trouble with black men is just that, they are black.

Thursday, August 19th, 2004, 07:15 PM
http://www.bbc.co.uk/furniture/tiny.gifDocumentaries & Arts:
The Trouble With
Black Men
http://www.bbc.co.uk/furniture/tiny.gifThu 19 Aug at 21:00 on BBC Three
Fri 20 Aug at 01:55 on BBC Three
Thu 26 Aug at 21:00 on BBC Three
http://www.bbc.co.uk/furniture/tiny.gif"There is no single cause for the problems young black men face in Britain today. But one thing I do know is your race, colour or class shouldn't make you deny yourself genuine opportunities or hold you back or limit your ambitions."
David Matthews

http://www.bbc.co.uk/furniture/tiny.gifAre black males in this country in crisis? In this three-part series author and journalist David Matthews unpicks the misconceptions that surround African-Caribbean men in Britain today to reveal the real problems they face.

David grew up in an environment where crime, violence and social decay were seen as the norm and knows people who have been shot, shot others or taken drugs.

However, through self-determination David got his act together, went to university and forged a career as a writer - something he had wanted to do since childhood.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/furniture/tiny.gifProgramme 1: Work and Education
Only 25% of African-Caribbean boys get five good GCSEs compared with 51% of the population as a whole.

Black men are also being under represented in the traditional professions of law, medicine, finance and teaching.

David tries to find out why they prefer street life and turn to music, yearning for success as producers or as footballers as a way to escape the lives they are currently leading.

To discover why so many black boys are going off the rails David goes back to the school room and speaks to Tony Sewell, an ex-teacher and educationalist known for his controversial views.

Tony believes that African-Caribbean boys are under intense pressure from their peers to conform to certain stereotypes of black masculinity and are often denied decent male role models.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/furniture/tiny.gifProgramme 2: Crime
David explores the criminal sub-culture and bad boy image which is gripping black youth culture and confronts a startling statistic: British black men form 12% of the prison population despite being just 1% of the population as a whole.

His contemporaries in the 70s and 80s saw street life as a form of rebellion and a protest against racism and social exclusion. But today, it seems, a worrying number of youths, armed with guns, knives and a gangster ideology, have found a new urban enemy: each other.

To explain why this is the case David meets a range of people, from cult South London DJ Yardi to QC Courtenay Griffiths, who blame a combination of the media, Jamaican Yardie culture, the lack of adult role models and absent fathers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/furniture/tiny.gifProgramme 3: Sex
How accurate is the sexual stereotype of the black man as a well-endowed super-stud who can’t hold down a long term relationship and who's a bad, absent father?

David wonders what its prevalence means for relations between black men and black women and the state of the black family. If the statistics are anything to go by, it hasn't had a positive influence: 48% of African-Caribbean families in Britain are headed by a single parent (mainly mothers) compared to 22% of the general population.

David concludes that maybe it's time for black men, including himself, to take a long, hard look at what they value in themselves as men and redefine what it means to be a black man.

Thursday, August 19th, 2004, 07:44 PM
Besides the social pathologies, Black men are even uglier than Black women -- or maybe it's a toss up. I dunno.

I can't imagine anyone interested in having children wanting to birth anything that resembles a Black person and that includes Black people. I'm just telling the truth as I see it.

Thursday, August 19th, 2004, 07:55 PM
Besides the social pathologies, Black men are even uglier than Black women -- or maybe it's a toss up. I dunno.

I can't imagine anyone interested in having children wanting to birth anything that resembles a Black person and that includes Black people. I'm just telling the truth as I see it.
It is true that black people are particularly unpleasing to the eye... or the nose, in most cases. :(

Believe it or not, there are some white women who would love to bear the mongrelized/bestialized offspring of these primitive brutes in their bellies. :eek:

The Eastern Front
Thursday, August 19th, 2004, 11:22 PM
If I had it my way I would ship the blacks back Afrika to there wheat. And there they can steal, throw spears, and spread AIDS as much as they want.
I heard from a comrade that black people commit over 56 billion crimes a year and we outnumber blacks 10:1. (statistics may be WAY off)


Friday, August 20th, 2004, 01:13 AM
I am somewhat glad to see that a few important people are starting to realize that Blacks are responsible for their actions. The former view being that it was the fault of others for putting them in such situations. The article about white women was disturbing, but the TV show may put an end to all the suppression of scientifical studies about race.