current obsession, news notes

News Notes: Jackson Katz’s TED Talk on Gender Issues

Do you ever hear something that so clearly sums up your opinion on a topic way better than you ever could?

Jackson Katz is an educator, author and filmmaker who co-founded Mentors in Violence Prevention. Mr. Katz recently delivered an eloquent and brilliant TED talk where he argues that intrinsically issue that are viewed as women issues by society are, in fact, men’s issues.

This would be relevant in any point in society, but exceptionally poignant today when new information just surfaced that suggests that Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, knowingly knew of the severity of Ray Rice’s attack on his then fiancee back in April. Meaning with this full knowledge (of which he claimed he only found out about this week), he decided that a two game suspension was sufficient.

Domestic violence is an issue outside the NFL, of course. However, it would be naive to think that it isn’t a prevalent issue within the NFL. Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization of Women (NOW), who calls for the resignation of Goodell cites that, over half of the offenses of which NFL players are arrested for stem from domestic violence, while almost forty percent stem from sex offenses. So clearly this is an NFL problem.

Furthermore – as Jackson so clearly states domestic violence is a men’s issue. We often put the stress and blame of issues on the “victim”, the “minority”. Race issues are problems that people of color should be trying to solve. Gender issues are problems that women should be trying to solve. But in reality – shouldn’t we be examining the “oppressor”, the majority? The NFL is a microcosm that demonstrates the problem with how we deal with gender issues in this country.

The solution isn’t in carrying a rape whistle or not provoking violence, the solution is in education and a shift in how we punish and treat those who commit these crime – usually men, not always of course.

The way we educate, raise and teach our sons needs to change. We need to stress and raise our sons to, of course, not be the aggressors but also to be champions and the voice for a cause that does in fact affect them directly.

Hopefully the NFL and it’s leadership can remedy this situation and serve as a better example for it’s fan’s and society, in general.