Image by Moses Vega on Unsplash
Boys, Gangs, and America's Concern
August 15, 2021
by Sean Kullman
Exploiting Boys who Lack Purpose and Guidance
When 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed by law-enforcement on March 29, 2021, media outlets showered the airways with stories regarding the unarmed killing of a 13-year-old boy at the hands of law-enforcement. Much of this took place as the Derek Chauvin trial for the killing of George Floyd riveted the nation. Protests ensued almost immediately before much of the information regarding Toledo's death was released. Later footage showed Toledo was armed and the officer had less than a second to react.
Boys are not born violent. They are aggressive, risk takers but they are not inherently violent. But our society often treats them as such and then we wonder why boys who feel desperate and alone participate in violent acts that lead to serious harm and death to themselves and other boys far more frequently. (All one needs to do is look at suicide deaths, opioid deaths, violent crime deaths, high school graduation rates, college acceptance rates, and homelessness to understand this overarching phenomenon known as the boy crisis). There is a long overdo social reckoning that must be confronted: we are not managing our boys well, and the strategies we are using fail to address the biological realities that boys and girls learn differently and respond to different cues. A look at school discipline, for instance, helps us better understand the linear path of a genuine disdain for male energy and the more frightening reality that schools and other institutions do not know how to engage them.
The Harsher Treatment
of Boys Begins Early
In a separate study of data in Washington State and California, data revealed boys do worse than their female counterparts in English Language Arts/Literacy. The California study revealed boys of all races do worse than their female counterparts of the same race. These trends mirror those of the nation.