BSU tackles ‘black love’ stigma

Tyler Evains
Staff Writer

Just in time for every romantic’s favorite holiday, the Black Student Union focused Monday’s meeting discussion to the topic of black love.

BSU invited Thomas Allison, assistant debate coach, and Dane Sawyer, senior adjunct professor of philosophy and religion, to share their knowledge on the topic.

A nontraditional BSU meeting, the guest speakers said their pieces and answered the audience’s few questions at the end. Usually an E-board member leads a discussion driven by the club members, but this time members was able to sit back and listen.

“God, myself and my family,” Allison said, is the order he loves in.

Allison explained through his experiences that black love or any love starts with self-love. He said that the stress of practicing law as well as his several other career outlets had made him angry all the time. When he realized this, he decided to put himself first.

Black love is not only about romantic relationships.

Loving oneself is the first step to being able to love someone else, and in the black community love is not always the most easily expressed emotion.

Allison said that because we do not love ourselves (as black people) other people are not inclined to show us love or help change the stigma of black people being angry and not representing love in a normal way.

When an audience member asked Allison about the love in his relationship, he shared that he is married to a white woman.

“You have to connect with your blackness in a different way,” Allison said. “It’s taught me to love my blackness a lot more.”

Sawyer took over the conversation by calling out the white elephant in the room. “You’re probably sitting there thinking, ‘What’s this guy going to tell me about black love?’” Sawyer said.

He continued by introducing a philosophical perspective of love as well as the other emotions that influence us every day like fear and anger. He laid out the anatomy of emotions on the white board: rationality, intelligence, judgement and ethics.

“Emotions seem irrational because we often get the judgement wrong,” Sawyer said.

Humans tend to let their emotions control their thoughts, which can lead to irrational decision. Love is the only emotion that takes time. There must always be a story that leads to love, but one can become angry because of the complications in love.

The black love discussion was more of a lecture on the philosophical fundamentals and political involvement of love.

“There was nothing specifically black about it,” Makeda Beck, junior business major, said. “I thought they would talk about things like uplifting each other and the values of black women and men in relationships.”

The speakers conveyed that as (black) students we need to understand what love is, then truly love ourselves in order to love others properly.

BSU meetings are held at 10 p.m. Mondays in the President’s Dining Room.

Tyler Evains can be reached at

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