Men as a demographic suck. Of course, not all men. Just many. And let’s establish something from the jump, right now: this post is not meant to be anti-male or male bashing. So, in order to establish how precisely I can plainly state “men as a demographic suck” without actually hating men at all, it is extremely necessary to define what I mean, precisely. It is not that the biological “male” sex sucks. I love biologically male humans. I am heterosexual. Some men are my intimate partners and many are my friends. The issue here, why men suck as a demographic, has far less to do with actually being physically man and more to do with how we, as a society, define manhood and promote rigid, dated archetypes for how men should operate in the home and in society at large. The kind of masculinity that promotes aggression, violence, self-absorption and limited views pertaining to “men and women’s roles” is why men suck as a demographic.
Why should anyone want to challenge how manhood is defined? Well, because its current definition– founded on patriarchy, violence and anti-femininity– is doing more harm than good to black people.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, women make up 85% of the victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence. Black women are almost three times likely to experience death as a result of DV/IPV and while Black women only make up 8% of the population, they comprise an entire 22% of homicides that result from such crimes and make up 29% of all victimized women. In other words, death at the hands of a more than likely black man is one of the leading causes of death for young Black women.
When we look to murder statistics in the black community, what precisely do we find? Black men killing black men and women at rates 4 times the national average. Of the black homicide victims in the United States, 5,452 were male and 854 were female and since black people are most likely to be killed by other black people and murderers are typically men, it is safe to assume a vast majority of these victims were victimized by black men.
About rapes and sexual assaults? A CDC study found that 1 in 71 men had been raped or sexually assaulted compared to 1 in 6 women have been victims of attempted or complete rape. 9 out of 10 rape victims are women. Black women are among the demographics with the highest rates of victimization and many of these women were raped or sexually assaulted before the age of 18.
Of course, we cannot discount the reality that 72% of children are being raised in single-parent households by their mother, some with little to no help from the fathers of their children.
And then there are the prevalent gaps in overall achievement between black women and men that grows even more astounding day by day. Only 48% of black boys are graduating high school compared to 59% of black girls. And boy now, everyone should be aware that women are outpacing men in college graduation and higher education attainment. The theories for these achievement gaps, put forth by Thomas A. DiPrete and Claudia Buchmann, sociology professors at Columbia and Ohio State, reiterate my point about masculinity:
“Boys get lower grades than girls, and report liking school less, not because girls are naturally more studious or because schools aren’t “boy-friendly” enough. Our research shows that boys’ underperformance in school has more to do with society’s norms about masculinity … Boys involved in extracurricular cultural activities such as music, art, drama, and foreign languages report higher levels of school engagement and get better grades than other boys. But these activities are often denigrated as un-masculine.”
The examples and statistics go on and on and they point to one simple fact: currently, men suck.
Yet, any attempt to actually address this suckiness is typically met with childish rebuttal and unnecessary restrain.
“Buuhhh….. women do messed up things too.”
“Didn’t you read about that women who killed her husband and kids?”
“Men get raped too.”
“There are single parent fathers too.”
This is no different from a white person trying to point to some example of a black person being prejudiced or hateful to discount the reality that racism is real and many white folks reinforce a system of racism that is detrimental to POC. And I get it. No human being really wants to demonize or scrutinize their own demographic. Yet, how can we expect any type of social change and social progress without these individuals doing just that? If white folks do not take a stance against inequality and racism, it will only be further perpetuated. And if men do not take a stance against male suckiness, men will only continue to suck.
The only difference between white people standing against racism and black men standing against what we will brand sexism and patriarchy is the fact that there is much more in it for black men in this instance than there is for white folk. A system of white supremacy affords white people more access to resources. Gives them dominance and a feigned sense of superiority bolstered by that control.
How, exactly, are black men winning by perpetuating patriarchy and sexism? Do the benefits really outweigh the cost? Right now the currency is black male and female bodies and the answer is indisputably NO. Patriarchy teaches men and boys their worth is measured and expressed through acquisition and control. Money, cars, hoes. It teaches men that they should bury their emotions and steer clear of anything “feminine”. That dominance and respect can be won by violence. And perhaps that has worked for white men. But as black women, men and children continue to disproportionately die at the hands of black men, the proof that it is not working for the black community has never been more clear.
The men who have been infected with these flawed ideologies are the ones that suck. As are the ones who continue to allow them to be left unchallenged. Sadly, such men outweigh those willing to take a stand and make a statement against this type of thinking.
Still, I await the day when men challenge other men to no longer suck. When they begin to challenge their own rigid views of themselves and their participation in society. I welcome that time and will happily then retract my thesis.