Thursday, January 17, 2019

Speaking Of Toxic Masculinity

Rod Dreher weighs in on the American Psychological Association report about "traditional masculinity" being harmful: Manhood As Mental Disorder. In it he makes a point that is worth pondering. We are told that one of the harmful effects of traditional masculinity is violence. Rod writes:

Plus, I don’t trust the spin. For example, this line:

"Men commit 90 percent of homicides in the United States and represent 77 percent of homicide victims."

That is absolutely correct but that is not in itself an argument. In the thousands and thousands of years that mankind has some sort of recorded history, mankind has always engaged in violence and war and almost all of it has come from men. This is true long before we had navel-gazing psychologists telling us being manly is "harmful" and, this is key, that will be true as far into the future as you care to look. While Western man is becoming more flaccid and weak, the rest of the world is not. Men in drug gangs in Central America, in ISIS and myriad other Islamist gangs around the world, in fact men in almost every non-Western/East Asian culture are just as violent as ever. Rod continues and points out one of the Forbidden Facts™ that we are not allowed to notice...

True, but misleading. Homicides in the US are disproportionately committed by black men. The American Council on Science and Health reported in 2017:

"The CDC confirms that, following an extended period of general decline, the overall homicide rate — as well as the homicide rate within each racial group — has increased from 2014 to 2015. In 2015, the homicide rates were (per 100,000 population):

20.9 for blacks (non-Hispanic)
4.9 for Hispanics
2.6 for whites (non-Hispanic)
5.7 for all races

Compared to the national average, the homicide rate was 54% lower for whites, 14% lower for Hispanics, and 267% higher for blacks. Put another way, the homicide rate among African-Americans is nearly quadruple that of the national average.

Last year, President Obama highlighted the importance of this issue. He said, “The single greatest cause of death for young black men between the ages of 18 and 35 is homicide. And that’s crazy. That is crazy.” Actually, it’s worse than that. According to the CDC, homicide is the #1 cause of death for African-Americans in all age groups from 15 to 34 (i.e., 15 to 19, 20 to 24, and 25 to 34)."

On the other hand, the white male suicide rate is six times higher for white men than for black men.

Rod shared a screenshot from the FBI crime stats website.


When you take out black men especially and also Hispanic men from the murder statistics, the murder rate in America is actually quite low. Hispanics commit murder at almost twice the rate of whites and blacks commit murder at a rate more than 8 times the rate of whites. This is similar in other violent crime categories from assault to rape. Violent crime in America is drastically different when viewed in racial categories.

No one serious disputes this. It is no secret that the cities that are slaughterhouses like Baltimore, Detroit and St. Louis have large black populations and that in those cities the murder problem is overwhelmingly contained in that community. You can argue about what the root cause of this violence is but I would point out that the rise in black on black violence seems to track along with the rise of fatherlessness in that community. It seems that lacking stable male role models in the home, demonstrating "traditional masculine" roles like provider and protector, has left black men to find their identity in the violent street culture, especially rap music that glorifies violence and misogyny. Other segments of the American people have serious drug and crime issues but nowhere near the same level of murder.

The problems with masculinity in America are not found in cartoonish depictions of leering men and references to the #MeToo political movement. They are found in a lack of traditional masculinity, the same masculinity that the American Psychological Association describes as harmful. In the place of traditional masculinity, we have true toxic masculinity: violence, sloth, ignorance. The solution to the toxic masculinity that plagues America is not to make men more effeminate but to return to the traditional notions of masculinity: leadership, courage, responsibility, chivalry. We won't find that in psychologist's offices or Gender Studies departments. We will only find that in homes headed by fathers. The fact that saying that is considered controversial is a testament to just how much trouble we are in. Millions of young men without direction or character form a very dangerous powder keg. We are very close to seeing the fuse lit and when it is lit, I only hope there are enough traditionally masculine men left to contain the inferno.

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