[EDEQUITY Male Dialogue] Race and other factors

From: Catherine P. Dooley (LPCAINC@aol.com)
Date: Wed Dec 13 2000 - 10:31:12 EST

    Hi this is Cate Dooley.
     I wanted to add a bit of my thinking to the race and other confounding

factors discussion. I have found that,for the most part the cultural roles

ascribed to boys (and girls) are universal issues for boys of all races,
ethnicities, religions etc. All boys in our U.S. culture are bombarded by
aggressive, power-over, "show no vulnerability" type definition of
masculinity. Factors of race, SES, etc. may determine the extent of the
discrepancy between family/ethnic models of manhood and those of mainstream

culture, but the overall message is clear regarding what it means to be
in our U.S. society. For example, lesbian mothers have specific issues to

deal with from the culture in raising sons, but as mothers of sons, must
learn how to help their boys deal with mainstream models as boys in our
culture. African American mothers have told me they keep a tight hold on
their sons emotionally and in regard to responsibility and attitude because

of the negative cultural view of blacks. They come up against and have to
deal with the same male mainstream model whites do but have the additional
job of preparing their sons for facing this type racial discrimination. I
think that the over-riding problem in terms of gender, race, SES, etc. is
issue of power and privilege.
    I have never liked the term gender equity because it sounds competitive

when we are really looking at issues of attitude, fairness, power, and
privilege, whether we are talking about gender or racial or SES or
equity. Cultural attitudes toward marginalized groups determine levels of
power and privilege ascribed to any one of these groups. Yvonne Jenkins
coined the term "social esteem" as, the negative or positive attitudes held

by mainstream society about any one particular group in her 1993 paper
"Diversity and Social Esteem". She notes the impact of social esteem on
esteem stating that personal esteem encompasses both. Certainly we have
that in terms of gender with the devalued view of traditionally female
attributes impacting women's view of themselves, but we have also seen this

with negative and disempowering social attitudes toward race, SES,
and religion.
     The issue of equity really has to do with addressing disparaging
cultural attitudes and the resulting discriminations created by these
attitudes. This creates power discrepancies and a pecking order of
in our society that is destructive.

Cate Dooley

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