Quote of the day—Leonard Pitts Jr.

A man or boy has a psychological — perhaps even biological — need to prove his capability, durability, fearlessness, toughness. Recognizing this, it would be a worthwhile mission for families, schools, worship houses and other community institutions working toward violence reduction to formulate means that allow boys to fulfill that imperative constructively.

At the very least, teach them that a gun is not a penis. It’s a tragedy that Crittenton didn’t know that.

Leonard Pitts Jr.
September 2, 2011
Commentary: A gun does not equate manhood
[It’s another Markley’s Law Monday!—Joe]

8 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Leonard Pitts Jr.

  1. I always find it amazing how someone can see something so important, such as his observation about boys and young men needing to prove themselves, and society’s need to find a way to meet that need constructively, and then take such a screw-ball turn on guns as a penis substitute. I think *he’s* the one with the fixation.

  2. i second that, and I totally agree with his first paragraph. boys need to be taught to be men, they don’t just become them. i would like to add that a man is defined by his actions, not the tools he uses to execute those actions. a wise man will choose whatever tool best suites his needs, and recognize it is just a tool. if a better alternative comes along he will choose to use that instead.

    unfortunately gang life does not teach young boys to be men, but rather violent children. they do equate tools with manhood, because they equate capability with status, and if their capability is questioned or disrespected they will not hesitate to “prove” themselves by whatever means necessary. a real man does not need to prove himself in anything, however, as he is confident in his ability. he only does what needs to be done, nothing more. his status, and sense of self worth, is not dependent on the opinions of fickle peers, but on his own loyalty, fortitude and character. it is a maturity sadly lacking in our society.

  3. Considering what Leonard Pitts is all about, i.e., trying to be the Great Connection between Mystical Blackness and the White Nation, he at least took his shot, he at least sees what’s wrong with “celebrate blackness” instead of “celebrate citizenship”. He failed to make his point, because, in the usual Pitts style, he had to get cute and use the attention word, “penis”.

    If Pitts had gone the extra step, and said to the race he claims to represent, “Guns are simply tools, don’t glorify them, and BTW, don’t glorify intimidation of any kind in any way”, I would have actually cheered him. No cheers, he didn’t go far enough.

  4. Leonard J Pitts is one of those writers who I peruse when I feel like my blood pressure is too low. You know that fancy rage-o-meter that Robb made for JayG? Pegged, every time I read a word this man writes. On a tangent note, though, he’s right about one thing- the need to prove themselves, and the need to do it in a constructive way. When a culture gets so focused on emasculation, is it any wonder that young men will look for any other way to prove themselves? After a lifetime of being taught that manliness is wrong, why wonder why kids no longer care when something is considered wrong? Disconnect, have it do we.

  5. Yes, Wolfman, I agree. So, what do we, as manly men, suggest, other than the typical “you are a man when you have done X” list, or something like that? Obviously, things like “setting a good example” should be done. But… *then* what?

    I’m a teacher, or at least trying to be one, and I try to work some basic philosophy into my classes, such as emphasis on “what works?” or “what works -for YOU-?”, or thinking about “then what?”, or brief bits of history that are related to the subject that bring up some of the tangential but essential bits of “why” in addition to the “what” and “how”. But, past that, what sort of formal changes can be made to “the system” to get boys to think about “manhood” it terms of responsibilities, duties, capabilities, as well as authority, “rights,” and “respect”? (I put those last two in quotes because so many young guys seem to have a skewed idea of just what they are.)

    We don’t have “coming of age ceremonies,” or “man trials” like the Mandan Indians (some tough folks, those – look up what they did) “18-y-o bar mitzva equivalents” or whatever. So, what do we come up with? My male-sprout is 6, so I’ve a little bit of time yet to think about it, but the wider population needs something, too.

  6. Exploring and proving “capability, durability, fearlessness, toughness” is part of growing up. School sports, Boy Scouts, and even helping with chores around the house are all part of the mix. Learning to shoot was certainly part of that process for me. I don’t think Mr. Pitts has much understanding of the process. I wonder if that lack of understanding is what leads to the Markley’s law fallacy.

  7. “capability, durability, fearlessness, toughness” and above all, goodness. That last bit is the missing element.

    Rolf; You have no time. Now is the time. Every day is the time.

    No; a gun is not a penis. Though both are valuable tools, they serve very different functions.

  8. “‘capability, durability, fearlessness, toughness’ and above all, goodness. That last bit is the missing element.”

    As a matter of fact, the reason that GOD is depicted as an old man is not to keep women in line, to resurrect an old feminist slander, but to keep young men in line; to show that capability, goodness and compassion are all masculine traits. Without them you get boy/men defining themselves as not-women, which is hard to do what with what Freud referred to as “penis-envy”. Since Freud spoke metaphorically, this is not a desire to have a member of one of one’s own, but to intrude on men-only activities. As an example, there are women-only clubs, and universities (including that one near San Francisco) and even women-only gyms, but there are no men-only clubs or universities. Men-only is unfair, women-only is an expression of their need for mutual support or some sexist hogwash (can’t remember the actual wording lo these 20 years).

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