Debate at Black Spectrum Theatre: Can Women Raise Boys to be Men?


The Queens Chronicle:

Boys will be boys — but can they be raised to be men by single mothers?

That was the topic on everyone’s minds last Saturday afternoon at the Black Spectrum Theatre, where a debate, hosted by Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) as part of a salute to Women’s History Month, at times worked the audience of more than 100 vested individuals into a near frenzy of emotions.

The time restrictions were not always observed, the panelists didn’t necessarily speak in turn, and the audience was talking back long before the public participation segment began, but the debate did what Sanders said it set out to accomplish: it educated, motivated and sent the spectators home with plenty of food for thought.

... According to Sanders, the debate was designed to “make us think about our children, our families and the structure of our society. What has happened to the positive male influence, and what happens to our sons if they don’t have one?”

... “There’s a lot going on in our community. Women are left with the burden of raising children,” he said.

The six panelists, representing a wide range of backgrounds, were divided into two even groups, based on their response to the debate’s premise, “Single mothers can’t raise boys to be men.” One side agreed, the other did not.

... Dr. Amandia Speakes-Lewis, a behavioral health consultant, indicated that many women “may not be single by choice.” Married and with two sons, she spoke of the existence of a “circle of love” that encompasses the extended families that often play important roles in a young man’s life.