I had a brief discussion yesterday in regards to the situation of black males in America. I won't recount it here but I wanted to speak on something that has bothered me for a while.
As indicated on the right side of the blog I micro-lend via Kiva to Africa. When I see discussions about micro-lending (or other aide) a lot of it is about women. I follow Kiva on twitter and most of the tweets in regard to lenders is around women. When I read about people lending a hand to developing countries it is invariably about women. Now you may think that I have a problem with lending to women. Absolutely not. What I have a problem with is this apparent attitude that men have it made (or fucked up so badly) that they don't need/want help.
One needs to ask the question: What are these men to do? One of the most dangerous things one can have in any society are men who have no connection to anything. Men who are unable to or do not see themselves as a necessary part of the family or society become a danger to themselves, to the women and children around them and to society at large.
One paper I read yesterday said that the wars were fought and caused by men and that was why women needed to be funded. The statement is factually true. There is no disputing that men have been the primary causes of war. The problem is that we must look at the circumstances. Why are so many men, say in the DRC, killing? What alternatives do they have? I don't ask that question lightly. In reality what employment can they get that has any reasonably rate of income and "benefits" do these men have? If they wanted to start their own businesses how many of them could qualify for a loan? And IF they had wives and children, how many of them could actually earn enough for all?
How many of the men in these areas are actually teenagers and young men whom their society has created no productive space for them and for whom the military (which is nothing but a gang) is the only place they perceive to be somewhere where they are valued (for as long as they can survive)?
How many of these men had been under brutal regimes and therefore resolved that the only way for a man to rule was through violence? How do we condemn them and yet not offer a meaningful alternative?
It is clear that where men have a stake in society and feel that they can provide for their families without resorting to crime, that those societies are able to flourish. Women are relatively safer and children are better educated. They are less likely to to have power trips and rape women and abuse children.
Personally I micro-lend to males and females equally (as possible). It makes no sense to me to brag about how I helped 1/2 the gender pair. It is to our benefit to anchor a man to his family and society and to provide help for him to do so.