Apology and Clarification (was Re : Education of Boys)

Robert Tighe (tighe@APSICC.APS.EDU)
Fri, 3 Apr 1998 10:19:45 -0700

>From: Robert Weverka <weverka@optivision.com>
>> >This last comment I find particularly apropos. Attempts to raise gender
>> >equity issues for boys on this list have been met with hostility and
>> Robert Tighe replied:
>> Perhaps this has happened because there has been a growing and
>> media-supported backlash against equity movements, i.e., the
>> "what about white males?" movement and the Promise-Keepers
>> movement.
>Robert Weverka:
>You do a fine job of shredding straw with this post. My posts to this list
>have been in support of equity for both sexes.

First, the backlash against the Feminist and Civil Rights movements
is not a "straw man". It is a very real and effective phenomenon.
I apologize if I made it sound as if you were a member or agent
of this backlash movement. What I meant to point out was that the
reason you were getting "met with hostility and ridicule" was because
your messages were being seen as similar to the concepts commonly
expressed by anti-equity proponents.

When we engage in discussions like this one, especially in an
on-line forum without full opportunities for clarification of
our positions, we must realize that our messages will be compared
to an external social context, and we must make it clear what
our motives are. Often, the chance for clarification only comes
AFTER our initial comments are met with hostile reaction. At that
point, we should explain our real intent. Simply pointing out
that our comments were rejected, without trying to understand why,
is unlikely to be helpful. I was trying to explain why your comments
had been rejected by some members of this list.

> ... in a mean spirited attempt to
>paint me as a racist, telling all that I am concerned only with white
>boys and pretending that I am here to stop efforts to help girls.
>My record on the list speaks for itself. You've slaughtered the
>straw man labeled "We should not do anything about women's rights"
>but this straw man does not have my name on it.

I am glad to hear that you do not agree with the backlash movement
(a movement which opposes equity for minorities as well as women).
However, if your record on this list spoke for itself, there would
be less likelihood of hostility when you posted your messages
clarifying statistics or expressing the problems faced by males.
This may not be your fault--a list like this often has a very short
memory span regarding the character of past messages. In the future,
if someone does reply in a hostile way, please reply with a message
which explains your intent. This will help us all understand.

>> The fact is that the members of EDEQUITY are probably already
>> aware of the problems faced by boys and men, and they are already
>> involved in a process to reduce the societal attitudes which
>> cause those problems. They would rather, however, focus on the
>> negative effects on young women.
>The introductory message for the members of EDEQUITY...
>I believe that my posts have supported equity for both males and females.
>Your message attempts to suppress discussion of half the equity equation.

I ended my message with a simple request: If you want to mention
problems faced by males, include proposals for solutions to those
problems. This will allow others on this list to see that your
intent is truly to address equity problems and will reduce the
likelihood that you will be perceived as a representative of the
backlash movement, which tends to support the social status quo
and to oppose equity concepts and initiatives. My request was
intended to improve understanding, not to suppress discussion.

-- Bob Tighe

Robert Tighe Resource Teacher tighe@apsicc.aps.edu
Instructional Technology
Albuquerque Public Schools Science is always wrong. It never
220 Monroe SW solves a problem without creating
Albuquerque, NM 87108-2811 ten more.
USA - George Bernard Shaw

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