Acton Institute Powerblog

The (Silent) War On Men

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download (1)According to a recent study in the journal Crime & Delinquency nearly half of black males and almost 40 percent of white males in the U.S. are arrested by age 23. As the study indicates, these arrests can “hurt their ability to find work, go to school and participate fully in their communities.” “The study is an analysis of national survey data from 1997 to 2008 of teenagers and young adults, ages 18-23, and their arrest histories, which run the gamut from truancy and underage drinking to more serious and violent offenses,” according to the press release. These results signal a possible dark future for our country.

Will there be national outrage at these arrest numbers? Doubtful. Some might argue that these numbers are simply a part of the ongoing narrative of the war on drugs and the criminalization of masculinity. Arguably, if the same percentages held for women, regardless of race, feminists would likely charge America with being “obviously” misogynistic. Do these numbers tell us anything about the country’s disposition toward men? Does it show us that misandry is truly legalized and flourishing as some have argued?

Perhaps these numbers should not be too much of a surprise given the fact that there is a war against boys in primary and secondary education with teaching styles and learning environments primarily focused on the advancement of girls and punitive to boys, over 20% of young boys labeled “ADHD,” the increase in single moms raising boys and the shortcomings that follow, a teen unemployment rate of 20%, in addition to failed “war on drugs” policies, and the like. Americans used to transition men into adulthood through family service, service in the church, a hard-working job, serving in the armed forces, and so on, but today the new initiation into manhood comes by standing in front of a judge.

Here are the study’s key findings:

By age 18, 30 percent of black males, 26 percent of Hispanic males and 22 percent of white males have been arrested.

By age 23, 49 percent of black males, 44 percent of Hispanic males and 38 percent of white males have been arrested.

While the prevalence of arrest increased for females from age 18 to 23, the variation between races was slight. At age 18, arrest rates were 12 percent for white females and 11.8 percent and 11.9 percent for Hispanic and black females, respectively. By age 23, arrest rates were 20 percent for white females and 18 percent and 16 percent for Hispanic and black females, respectively.

While there is likely no single cause that will provide an answer to the “why” question, it will be important to swim upstream as far as possible to get a sense of what is happening in our country. My guess is that these numbers are the result of some combination of family breakdown, unemployment, the “war on drugs,” and our nation’s burgeoning misandry. This means that a solution matrix will likely be just as differentiated as the causes.

Anthony Bradley Anthony Bradley, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics in the Public Service Program at The King's College in New York City and serves as a Research Fellow at the Acton Institute. Dr. Bradley lectures at colleges, universities, business organizations, conferences, and churches throughout the U.S. and abroad. His books include: Liberating Black Theology: The Bible and the Black Experience in America (2010),  Black and Tired: Essays on Race, Politics, Culture, and International Development (2011),  The Political Economy of Liberation: Thomas Sowell and James Cone of the Black Experience (2012), Keep Your Head Up: America's New Black Christian Leaders, Social Consciousness, and the Cosby Conversation (2012), Aliens in the Promised Land:  Why Minority Leadership Is Overlooked in White Christian Churches and Institutions (forthcoming, 2013). Dr. Bradley's writings on religious and cultural issues have been published in a variety of journals, including: the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Detroit News, and World Magazine. Dr. Bradley is called upon by members of the broadcast media for comment on current issues and has appeared C-SPAN, NPR, CNN/Headline News, and Fox News, among others. He studies and writes on issues of race in America, hip hop, youth culture, issues among African Americans, the American family, welfare, education, and modern slavery. From 2005-2009, Dr. Bradley was Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO where he also directed the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute.   Dr. Bradley holds Bachelor of Science in biological sciences from Clemson University, a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Westminster Theological Seminary.  Dr. Bradley also holds an M.A. in Ethics and Society at Fordham University.


  • Fraga123

    We need more aid for Single Moms, who are heroes. And support for American white women in STEM, since they need more help to be adequately represented among the women from feminist strongholds such as China, Korea and India.

    When those budgets are spent, then some of the money left over can be spent on boys.

    • This is incredibly sexist and short-sighted. Do you think those single moms are all raising girls? If single moms are raising boys, should those moms get the “leftovers?” And those mothers should be models for both sons and daughters of being self-reliant, not self-serving.

      • Fraga123

        Single mothers are heroes.

        • Why? Why is it heroic to purposely raise a child without a father?

      • Andrew Orlovsky

        I think Fraga was being sarcastic.

    • fools2234

      Either this is a “parody” comment of typical feminist thinking…or its a feminist who actually believes what she spews. Either way, it is a great comment as it represents what most feminists believe when it comes to gender issues.

      Girls first, then women, then if their are any pennies left you can give it to the groups that need it the most (men and boys).

  • Andrew Orlovsky

    In many lower income communities, it appears to be almost a status symbol for a teenage girl to get pregnant. I am a current foster parent and its amazing how many girls intentionally get pregnant out of wedlock as teens. No amount of free birth control pills will change that. On the other hand, it appears to be the complete opposite for men. Many men view becoming a father as throwing away his masculinity.

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  • ray

    The “solution matrix” must begin with reconnecting fathers with children, especially sons — and boys with men generally.
    This is not possible in a male-unfriendly and father-disparaging nation. The nation whose ideologies and behavior set the global standard.
    The solution begins with father-headed and father-led families and cultures. That, and dedication before God, will get you going in the right direction.
    Our generation has let down the sons of America, and the sons of the West. If we don’t do a lot better, all these things will be taken from us.
    Thanks for this important article.

  • Andrew Orlovsky

    Yes, I am not a fan of men’s rights activists because too many seem to be sympathetic to “pick-up artists” and many of them defend dead-beat fathers, but they often seem to be the only ones willing to make that obvious statement that most crime is coming from the children of single mothers. I think conservatives have been accused of “hating single mothers” too much that they have become gun shy to pointing out the truth.

  • srlucado

    I suggest that we raise boys to become men, not just superannuated children.
    Teach the virtues of honesty, responsibility (“Baby daddy” is not an honorific), work, caring for others, and cooperation.

    Not an easy task, especially in a culture that vilifies fatherhood and manliness. But if we don’t succeed, we’ll fail as a society…if we haven’t already.

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