Re: non-traditional males

CFlood (
Wed, 25 Mar 1998 09:42:38 EST

Jen, Tim, et al:

I have resisted getting into this dialogue primarily because of time
limitations...the perils of an active mind, but the tragedy in Arkansas
yesterday has galvanized the issue of "our boys" for me to the point that I am
compelled, time or not, to get involved in raising the questions that we need
to ask about what WE are doing to our boys...both consciously or, as in most
cases, unconsciously through inactivity, passivity or hoping that someone else
steps forward. Well, here I am...I am making a conscious commitment to step
into the "fray."

Try looking at recent books such as Terrance Real's, "I Don't Want to Talk
About It" or Bernard Lefkowitz' "Our Guys" to get a sense of the impact of
male socialization in our culture. I used sections from each in my graduate
course on gender equity (in a class session devoted to "The Changing Roles of
Men") and they were incredible catalysts for discussion...far more powerful
than most of the reading we have used in the past. Jeffrey Canada's "Reaching
Up for Manhood" is also an excellent resource...he is in NYC and doing
wonderful work with boys there. There was an excellent interview with him on
Fresh Air in January...might try the Fresh Air archives to see if it is in
Real Audio.

Also, I have been part of a project in New York State that we ran from
1995-1997 called "Men Helping Boys with Choices" that focused on connecting
middle school educators with boys in their schools in order to help them
explore and attempt to interrupt the negative messages with respect to male
socialization (I can share the Final Reports with anyone who might be
interested) Those messages are tragically connected to the shootings at
schools these past six months...all by boys. One of the "young men" (as they
were referred to on one newscast...these are 11 and 13 yr. old BOYS!!!) in
yesterday's shootings in Arkansas apparently was bothered by girls always
"dumping" him and vowed to retaliate. We are effectively socializing empathy
out of our is not masculine and the results are reaching a critical
boil. Just follow the news for a couple days, either local or national, and
try to connect as many stories with that isn't hard work.

I would also urge people to look at Daniel Goleman's book, "Emotional
Intelligence" which he essentially equates with the ability to connect with
others, to empathize and to feel compassion. Virtually all of the examples he
uses in the book with respect to "deficits" or problems with lack of "EI" are
about males...either boys or men. This is not a coincidence, yet I am struck
by our inability or unwillingness to confront the issue head on as a gender
issue. We cannot dance around these issues anymore.

We are bringing in three of Gilligan's Doctoral students for a spring
conference who have been either doing research with boys or promoting the
kinds of programs and pedagogies that address the problems I have briefly

I'd appreciate comments.

Craig Flood, Director
NYS Career Options Institute

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