America has a problem with human-on-human violence, and the deaths of Charly Keunang, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and Michael Brown – along with the recent shooting of two Ferguson, MO police officers – are only evidence of that. As a professional community gang interventionist, it’s my job to help stem violence and while it’s true that America has a problem, the solution is not impossible. The evidence is living and operating in some of Los Angeles’ most dangerous neighborhoods.
Well, Mr. Basheer, I applaud those who put down their swords and seek to join hands. Nonetheless, your analysis of the roots of violence looks right past the role played by machismo which itself calls for denigrating members of the female gender.
In fact, your closing paragraph shows how deeply sexism (too often expressing as unadulterated misogyny) colors the outlook of persons of all races. The assumptive male pronoun has for many centuries sought to apply what is natural for males in their own baboon pecking order (chiefly expressed through patriarchy’s many ranking systems, militarism and money significant among those metrics) to females. And given the preponderance of the existing male-dominant paradigm, certainly some women in attempts to eke out a measure of status, power, or income adapt to it. However, it does not speak for womankind.
“One of my comrades once told me, “When my time comes, I want people to know I was man enough for change.” I believe that America’s civil unrest will get better. We’re all man enough and if I can successfully work and operate in a world where officers and former gang leaders can peacefully agree, it just proves that anything is possible.”
Being tender is the opposite of being tough and most male brotherhoods rely on the latter. That’s why anything feminine is considered anathema, and that includes all-inclusive feelings like genuine love, empathy, and compassion… all of which, so long absented from the male-dominant equations of modern culture are what make for a balanced humane world reflecting the rainbow hue of all human expressions.
I, and millions like me, have no interest in “manning up.”
If mothers and grandmothers ran things, war and gangs and guns would not hold such objectionable primacy over matters of far greater enduring worth.