Male Marginalisation Revisited. In Gender in the 21st Century: Caribbean Perspectives, Visions, and Possibilities. Editors: Barbara Bailey and Elsa Leo-Rhynie Editors. Ian Randle Publishers. Kingston. 2004. Pp 99-133.
The focus of this paper will be on expanding and refining the explanation of the phenomenon first advanced by me over a decade ago. It is important to note that male marginalization is not restricted to Jamaica or the Caribbean or to any one racial group or any particular society; rather, it is a universal phenomenon with different degrees of manifestation and different forms of expression. It is by no means a recent phenomenon but its current forms are new expressions related to the circumstances of contemporary society. I will employ both theory and history to support these positions.
- Just over 17 years ago, on April 30, 1986, I had the honor to deliver the first Aubrey Phillips Memorial Lecture here on the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies as a tribute to my late mentor and colleague, Professor Aubrey Phillips. The title of that lecture was: Marginalisation of the Black Male’. What followed was a controversy that has persisted until the present time. At that time, some credited me with identifying and highlighting a dimension of gender that had not previously been explored. Others accused me of obscurantism, being a male chauvinist parading in the guise of scientific research and of diverting attention from women’s issues.
My approach was to ignore the inducements to become embroiled in a futile man versus woman debate but to continue to research the subject, being convinced that the phenomenon highlighted was not going away but rather would become more evident and widespread over time. It is fair to say that the passage of these 17 years has vindicated that position. The phenomenon is no longer in question. The current puzzlement centers on explanation. I, therefore, welcome the opportunity afforded me by this Mona Academic Conference, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the GenderStudies Unit, not only to revisit the subject of male marginalization but also to further advance the discussion of the subject by virtue of additional insights gained from exploration over these 17 years. Allow me to join in the celebration and commendation of the Gender Studies Unit for having reached this milestone in the journey and to wish for the unit even greater accomplishments through full exploration
of gender issues as they relate to both women and men. In addressing the topic, Male Marginalisation Revisited, I am not going to recite empirical and statistical evidence highlighting aspectsrelated to the phenomenon such as:
• More male babies are being abandoned than female babies;
• More boys suffering from stunted growth than girls;
• The growing tendency for boys to start school later, attend more irregularly, drop out more often, repeat more grades, have lower rates of completion of schooling and lower levels of achievement than girls on most indicators of educational attainment;
• fewer males than females being enrolled in and graduating from tertiary institutions;
• More boys and men becoming patients in psychiatric wards or psychiatric hospitals than girls and women;
• More men being homeless than women;
• More boys and men committing violent crimes than girls and women;
• Much larger numbers of boys and men being incarcerated in correctional institutions and maximum-security prisons.