Monday, January 23, 2006

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Watcha Gonna Do?

For the uninitiated, our headline was swiped, er, re-appropriated, from the "Cops" cable TV show theme song. But we're talking about schoolboys here. You know, the kind of hyperactive but lovable kids that used to disrupt classrooms with their antics but later went on to become our scientists, politicians, and business leaders. Well, not much chance of that happening for boys these days, according to the First Lady and others, as reported by America's newspaper, The Washington Times:
"I think we need to pay more attention to boys. I think we've paid a lot of attention to girls for the last 30 years ... but we have actually neglected boys," Mrs. Bush told Parade magazine early last year.

William Pollack, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, agrees.

"Boys are suffering. They are sitting in classrooms where they can't perform at the same level as girls and so cannot compete with girls," he says. "As a result, they have lower self-esteem. The bottom line is that they are suffering both academically and emotionally."
This isn't exactly news for our pal Luther and others like Christina Hoff Sommers who've repeatedly attempted to put this issue in front of the American public. The gender feminization of our educational institutions has ruthlessly punished a good deal of rambunctious but innocent young male hijinks over the years, or, more subtly, has turned the brains of these cutups into slow-growing mushrooms by fertilizing them with horse manure and Ritalin.

Males are, surprise, different from females, and one has to concede that it's sometimes tough to channel a lot of this useful energy into socially acceptable behavior. In grade school, at least, girls are simply more socialized than boys.

But it's wrong, except in extreme or pernicious cases of violence or aggressive behavior, to declare this kind of behavior abnormal and try to medicate or punish it out of existence. The behavior of the average young male is not wrong, it is different, and that doesn't make it, de facto, bad.

Complicating the problem are the essentially anti-male textbooks that have increasingly taken hold in public school classrooms. We recall a high school textbook on introductory business practices for young people that our daughter brought home in the late 1980s. Wonk was appalled to see that, while each chapter began with a full page picture and short bio of an American business leader, they all, save for Thomas Alva Edison, highlighted women and minorities.

Don't draw the facile (and wrong) conclusion about our reasoning here. The book's stated intend was to primarily highlighted bios of business leaders circa 1870-1960. Rightly or wrongly, nearly 100% of major U.S. business figures during this time period were white males. But, with the exception of Edison, the textbook seems to have forgotten minor personalities like Cyrus McCormick, the Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Walter Chrysler, just to name a few.

The intent of the textbook's biography sections was not to relate the fact of American business life during this period. It was, rather, to address perceived greivances and "right the wrongs" allegedly perpetrated on our society by the white, male patriarchy.

While past textbooks have indeed been guilty of a certain level of intended and unintended bias, one doesn't correct these simply by employing an equal an opposite level of intentional bias. This pattern, repeated in textbooks across all subject areas, has rooted out, over time, a great many male role models who, for all their flaws, have always served as an inspiration for young men, guiding them toward future accomplishments, goals that can be achieved if only they will harness and channel the unbounded energy that seems, these days, to be so socially unacceptable.

The evil done against young males in the public schools over roughly the last half century has been profound. Young males are now dropping out of high school and college in record numbers, and they are no longer the majority in colleges and universities. This is not in and of itself a terrible thing, save for the fact that the educational environment now so demonstrably favors, or as academics like to say, "privileges" females and female behavior to the point where males increasingly feel left out and inadequate in intellectual environments.

It is incontestible that the reverse used to be true. Nonetheless, once again, we fail to see how creating the opposite situation—removing oppressive circumstances from girls and young women and placing them on boys and young men—creates any kind of progress at all.

Once again, the Gramscians, with their agenda of transforming the cultural norm while Americans look elsewhere, have succeeded in undermining not only the educational underpinnings of our society. They are also increasingly robbing this country of an aggressive but moral type of male leadership that is, in fact, needed now more than ever as we confront an often faceless enemy whose endgame, ironically, will result in a horror apparently unimaginable to the smug ideologues on the American feminist and Marxist left.

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