Aren’t men the perpetrators of this violence, and isn’t this violence a reflection of male power?
We have no problem seeing this last Item as a reflection of black powerless ness, but we rarely see men ’s greater likelihood of being victims of violence as a reflection of male powerlessness. When we hear men are the greater victims of crime, we tend to say, "Well, it’s men hurting other men." When
we hear that blacks are the greater victims, we consider it racist to say, “Well, it’s blacks hurting blacks ‘* The victim is a victim no matter who the perpetrator was.
But why do men commit most of the violent crime? Is it a reflection of male power? Hardly Blacks do not commit proportionately more crimes than whites because blacks have more power. Flint, Michigan, gives us a clue.
In the mid-1980s. Flint was faced with the closing of a number of General Motors plants, forcing 30,000 auto workers to leave the area and leaving numerous others unemployed.11 By 1985, a town formerly low in its crime rate reponed huge increases not only in suicides and alcoholism, but in spouse abuse, rape, and murder Flint soon had a higher rate of violent crime than New York City. And it reported 285 rapes in 1985, a staggering figure for a city of 150,000.
What does this tell us? It gives us a hint that murder, rape, and spouse abuse, like suicide and alcoholism, are but a minute s worth of superficial power to compensate for years of underlying powerlessness. They are manifestations of hopelessness committed by the powerless, which is why they are acts committed disproportionately by blacks and by men.
Crime, especially crime involving money, reflects the gap between the expectation to provide and the ability to provide.12 Thus women who work and earn enough to meet their expectations rarely commit crimes. But women who are working and not meeting expectations do commit more crime.
If we really want men to commit crime as infrequently as women, we can start by not expecting men to provide for women more than we expea women to provide for men.