Learning to Be a Man: Culture, Socialization, and Gender Identity in Five Caribbean Communities

Learning to Be a Man: Culture, Socialization, and Gender Identity in Five Caribbean Communities

Learning to Be a Man: Culture, Socialization, and Gender Identity in Five Caribbean Communities

Learning to Be a Man: Culture, Socialization, and Gender Identity in Five Caribbean Communities

Synopsis

This is a study of the processes by which male children are socialized in the Caribbean, against the backdrop of growing concern among educators, social workers and the general public that Caribbean males are becoming increasingly marginalized. It is based on qualitative research.

Excerpt

The research on which this monograph is based was carried out by the present writer, then head of the Department of Sociology and Social Work, in association with Mrs Janet Brown, head of the Caribbean Child Development Centre, both departments of the University of the West Indies, Mona, at the request of the UNICEF Caribbean Office, then headed by Mrs Marjorie Newman-Williams. UNICEF's brief for the children of the world has everywhere focused on the female, universally the more disadvantaged, and subject of severe inequalities. But while it is true that here in the Caribbean women lag behind men in such vital areas as overall employment, income, and power, in certain important respects they seem to be doing much better. The female is present in larger numbers at virtually all levels of the education system, with an increasing attrition of males the further up one goes. In a number of anglophone Caribbean countries, on the other hand, a rising crime rate, much of it related to drug trafficking and substance abuse, and including murder, directly involves male adolescents and young men in increasing numbers. The steady reversal in educational performance over the decades led Professor Errol Miller (1986) to develop his well-known, though little understood, thesis that Jamaican men had been marginalized. His work, which he titled The Marginalization of the Black Male, has been used by many as scientific validation of the popular perception that women were eclipsing men as the public architects and leaders of society, while the latter seemed bent on the destructive course of anomie.

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