“8 ways black men can fight rape.”

That’s the title of a very interesting article at Colorlines, by Akibo Solomon.   She is responding to coverage of the Cleveland case. Let me stresss that no one on this blog accepts that rape is just a black problem. See also commenys 4 & 6.

Solomon is largely reporting the ideas of “Dr. R. L’Heureux Lewis, a sociology professor at the City University of New York who frequently writes and speaks about black masculinity and sexual violence”. The eight way particularly interested me, and I wish I had tried it with my own  son. This is in part because it seems to me a good idea to talk about the ideas being picked up in the culture on this very topic. It is also, however, because he is gay and so he might have been puzzled in adolescence about where he fit it, to put it mildly.

Before I repeat the advice, let me ask you whether you think the advice is principally for boys who do not fit easily into the dominant white male world of power, or whether all boys are apt to feel lost in adolescence.

Here it is, from Colorlines:

“One easy exercise you can try with boys or even among your friends: Ask them to describe a ‘real man.’ You’ll likely get a laundry list like, ‘A real man is strong! A real man has all the money! A real man has the power!’ Next, ask, ‘Of all of those things, which do you have?’ In answering this question, boys realize how unreal it is to be a baller-slash-star-athlete-slash-rocket scientist. They begin to see how anybody can question their manhood because they don’t have all of these qualities. Finally, ask, ‘Of the men you know in your community, name the ones you respect and what you respect about them.’ This exercise helps boys create an alternate view of masculinity. That’s the first step in forming a model for healthy black male sexuality.”

Is Misogyny the left’s last bigotry?

We debated during the presidential primaries whether misogyny was the last public prejudice.  It seemed very unlikely, despite the press’s efforts.  Now the question arises again with regard to an aricle in the Nation.  And while we would be foolish, I think, to suppose the left does not have it’s own collection of biases, is hard to imagine the Nation published a racist version of the misogynistic post it has published.  Castrating women, yes; dangerous black men, no.

From the Nation:
First up, Robert Dreyfuss (stress mine):

So three or four of Obama’s advisers, all women, wanted war against Libya.

We’d like to think that women in power would somehow be less pro-war, but in the Obama administration at least it appears that the bellicosity is worst among Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power. All three are liberal interventionists, and all three seem to believe that when the United States exercises military force it has some profound, moral, life-saving character to it. Far from it. Unless President Obama’s better instincts manage to reign in his warrior women—and happily, there’s a chance of that—the United States could find itself engaged in open war in Libya, and soon. The troika pushed Obama into accepting the demands of neoconservatives, such as Joe Lieberman, John McCain and The Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol, along with various other liberal interventionists outside the administration, such as John Kerry. The (sic) rode roughshod over the realists in the administration.

Sexist tropes are like the smell of napalm in the morning.

And then Katha Pollitt:

It’s been a long time since anyone seriously maintained that women in power, simply by virtue of their gender, are reliably less warlike than men—how could they be, given that men set up and control the system through which those women must rise? But apparently Nation blogger Robert Dreyfuss has just noticed this fact. 
In a post entitled “Obama’s Women Advisers Pushed War Against Libya” (originally titled “Obama’s Women” tout court) he’s shocked-shocked-shocked that UN Ambassador Susan Rice, human-rights adviser Samantha Power and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were keen on intervening militarily in Libya. The piece is dotted with arch and sexist language—the advisers are a “troika,” a “trio” who “rode roughshod over the realists in the administration” (all men) and “pushed Obama to war.” Now it’s up to the henpecked president to “reign (sic) in his warrior women.” Interestingly, the same trope—ballbreaking women ganging up on a weak president—is all over the right-wing blogosphere.

Whatever you think of the action against Qaddafi—count me as extremely apprehensive—it might just be that someone, even a woman, could support it for a reason other than sheer viciousness.

The new body news

First you have the body news and its development. You learn about BMI and its relation to the relevant whatever. Analyses are done to show why the symptom is implicated in the disease. You hear about solutions if you are one of those with a real problem. You start to notice who among your friends has the problem and how worried they seem. Whatever it is, your doctor assures you that you will have less of a problem if you lose weight.

And then five or ten years later, you learn the new body news: the old body news was completely wrong. For example, from the NY Times, March 22, 2011:

A major new analysis challenges the long-held idea that obese people who carry their extra weight mainly around the middle — those with an “apple” shape — are at greater risk for heart disease than “pears,” whose fat tends to cluster on their thighs and buttocks. …
Conventional risk factors like blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and smoking were accurate predictors of a heart attack or stroke, but additional information about weight or body shape (ascertained by measuring waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio) did not improve the ability to predict risk.

“Whatever your shape is doesn’t really matter,” said Dr. Emanuele Di Angelantonio, a lecturer at the University of Cambridge and a member of the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration, which carried out the study.