The Conversation We Won't Have About Raising Men
Inconvenient questions raised by the Ray Rice abuse scandal.
(/sites/default/files/uploads/2014/09/RayRicePresser.jpg)On Thursday night, the Baltimore Ravens took on the Pittsburgh Steelers. The event carried national significance thanks to the Ravens’ public-induced decision to cut running back Ray Rice after tape emerged of Rice clocking his then-fiancee in the head, knocking her out cold. CBS sportscaster James Brown utilized his pregame show to draw attention to the problem of domestic violence — and suggest widespread culpability for domestic violence. “Our language is important,” Brown suggested. “For instance, when a guy says, ‘You throw the ball like a girl’ or ‘You’re a little sissy,’ it reflects an attitude that devalues women, and attitudes will eventually manifest in some fashion.”
Brown wasn’t the only commentator to blame “The Sandlot” for Ray Rice’s horrifying Mike Tyson-esque blow to his future wife’s head. ESPN commentator Kate Fagan explained, “This is behavior that is happening at the grassroots level that is born through years of our culture like raising men to want to not be like women and using language like ‘sissy’ and ‘you throw like a girl’ that demean women. … [We need to focus on] really reprogramming how we raise men.”
Naturally, this talking point was celebrated far and wide by a mainstream press more interested in perpetuating the tenets of political correctness than in actually fighting domestic abuse. The real solution to domestic abuse is twofold: punishing it to the greatest possible extent, and yes, raising young men differently. But to state that the greatest risk factor for future domestic violence is insulting other boys as “throwing like girls” is pure idiocy. No man has ever hit a woman because she “throws like a girl.” But plenty of young men have hit women because they had no moral compass and did not believe in basic concepts of virtue — and plenty of young men lack such a moral compass and belief in virtue thanks to lack of male role models.
Teaching respect for women begins with ensuring that solid male influences models fill the lives of young men — men who respect women, cherish them, treasure them, and believe in protecting them. This is an unpopular stance, because it suggests that boys require men to raise them. Which they do. But that truth doesn’t fit the logic of the left, which seems to think that lack of fathers counts less than rhetorically bothersome phrases.
For leftists, the answer to domestic violence isn’t to deal with any of the issues that could lead boys to become abusing men. The answer, instead, is to lecture Americans about the use of the word “sissy” — not because that solves the problem, but because it makes those on the left feel warm and fuzzy inside. Similarly, the left will tell Americans that the name of the Washington Redskins matters far more to Native-Americans than the nearly half of Native-American youths who drop out of high school; they will explain that “microaggressions” are the true problem faced by blacks in America, not lack of education, poverty or unwed motherhood.
We extol the language police even as we castigate moral authorities. And so our problems grow worse. But at least we feel better about them.
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