I AM...

I am whatever YOU think I am until YOU get to KNOW me. This is true for everyone else too, of course.. so don't make assumptions about anyone or pass judgment; ask questions. You might just make a new friend.


Sunday, May 27, 2012


"The thing to do is to get
organized; keep separated and you will be exploited, you will be robbed, you
will be killed. Get organized and you will compel the world to respect you."

Marcus Garvey.


Editor's note: LZ
Granderson, who writes a weekly column for, was named journalist of the
year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and a 2011 Online
Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist
for ESPN the Magazine and and the 2009 winner of the Gay and Lesbian
Alliance Against Defamation award for online journalism. Follow him on Twitter:

(CNN) -- My son had
barely taken his first breath when the people in the hospital started telling
me how lucky I was. 

Not because he was healthy,
mind you, but because he was a he.

"It's easier to raise
boys," I was told. 


And for a while I actually
believed them. 

Then I started paying

you know boys are more likely to drop out of
high school than girls
? Or that there are more female college
students than male? And did you know the imprisonment rate for men is roughly
15 times higher than the rate for women? 

If this is what boys being
easier to raise than girls looks like, could you imagine how many men would be
in jail if raising girls got any harder? We worry so much about girls getting
hurt -- and justifiably so -- but interestingly enough, the stats show it's our
boys who are more likely to get robbed, attacked or even murdered.
We see girls as fragile orchids and boys as plastic plants. But let's face it:
At the core of this line of thinking isn't safety -- it's sex.

When someone offers this piece
of advice, it's with the thinking that girls have to be protected from boys who
will say and do just about anything to get in their pants. What's typically
missing from this discussion is the challenge to parents -- particularly
fathers -- not to raise a liar and a cheat.  

True, parents of boys do
not  have to worry about them coming home pregnant, but does that mean an
unplanned pregnancy can be considered "the girl's problem"? After
all, a boy's girlfriend did not get pregnant asexually. That's why I'm Tebowing
day and night, hoping my 15-year-old has the will to stay away from sex -- even
though the world all around him tells him there's something wrong with him if
he does. 

Easier? Ha. Try

A little girl who likes to
play sports is called a tomboy. A little boy who doesn't like to play sports is
called weird. A teen girl who says "no" is called a good girl. A teen
boy who says "no" is called a sissy. A lot of words describe what
it's like for parents who are trying to teach their teenage son how to be his
own man in a high school setting that demands conformity, but "easy"
is not one of them. 

I know, I know, "boys
will be boys" is the accepted rule of thumb. But given that we have a
federal department that hunts down and sometimes arrests deadbeat fathers,
doesn't that raise the question: What kind of boys are we raising? And if
they're dropping out of high school at a faster clip than girls, why do we
think raising them is easier?

Last year, I wrote a piece
with the headline "Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps."
I received a lot of e-mails from offended readers who told me I had no idea how
hard it was to avoid buying sexy clothing for their little princesses. I
usually responded by reminding them I never said it wasn't hard.

And then I asked if they've
ever seen the words on many of the T-shirts aimed at young men. They may not be
blatantly inappropriate, like a cut-off shirt that reveals their bellybuttons,
but if I had a dollar for every T-shirt I've read that sexualizes the words
"balls," "sticks" or "size," I could

I guess if parents don't care
if their son thinks being a man begins and ends with his penis, then yes, I can
see how some would think raising a boy is easier. But if you're actually trying
to raise a gentleman, and you hear LMFAO rap "I'm running through these
hos like Drano" -- as they do in "Party Rock Anthem," the second
most popular song of 2011 -- then you're not breathing a sigh of relief because
it's so much easier to raise a boy. Instead you're wondering how much of what
you're trying to teach him soaks in, versus what our culture says is OK. 

We've made so many advances as
a society in terms of gender equity, and yet we still hold on to this
nonsensical double standard that celebrates sexually active boys while
demonizing their female counterparts, as if we can have a lot of one without
the other. This kind of thinking is handed down from generation to generation
almost as soon as the umbilical cord is cut.

But how can we continue to
believe boys are easier to raise than girls, when only 42% of custodial moms
received all of their child support payments in 2009? Some see loose women in
that statistic. I see some men who are punks. 

Perhaps if we stopped viewing
raising our boys as easier, we wouldn't have to deal with so many men who still
behave like boys later in life.        



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