Maggie Cassidy, a student at the University of Maryland, has a problem with "white males"--as in How dare a "white male" point out that institutionalized hostility to the rights of college men constitutes a war on men. Cassidy takes issue with noted law professor Glenn Reynolds USA Today article about Congressman Jared Polis's willingness to expel innocent men to insure the guilty are punished.
Cassidy points out that Reynolds is a dreaded "white man" in order to tarnish his credentials to speak to this subject. Does Cassidy have a problem with "men" as a class? I ask that because of this comment in her article: "The numbers crunched by the National Association of Scholars further show that men still aren’t grasping the sinister presence of sexual assault." Did you get that? "Men" still aren't grasping. Not "a very small percentage of men," not "men who commit sexual assault." Just "men."
Given the culture we live in, I'm not sure if my moral superiors (i.e., anyone who is not a white male) will allow me to deal with--you know, silly things like facts--but here goes: of the rape claims that can be definitively classified, false claims are more common than actual rapes. Shocking? Try and refute it--I mean actually refute it. Don't do what English major Maggie Cassidy does--her idea of arguing is to reduce people she disagrees with to vile caricature (e.g., "right-wing zanies who publish political manifestos on their misogynistic blogospheres") and to invent straw men instead of dealing in reality (men are lashing out not because of indisputable injustices that some of the most reputable law professors in America have taken issue with, but because they want "to resume their rightful place on top" of society).
Cassidy raised a point that merits special attention. She blithely dismisses Prof. Reynold's concern that "men are wildly underrepresented" in the college "positions charged with interpreting and enforcing the sexual harassment rules." Professor Reynolds points out that this is problematic “considering that the overwhelming preponderance of sexual harassment allegations are directed by women at men." Maggie Cassidy doesn't buy it: "Yes, Reynolds is statistically right that men don’t play a large role in groups that promote diversity and sexual assault awareness, but how does that help his argument against the war on men? Because it doesn’t."
But, of course, it does. Men and women do not look at the issue the same way. A much-touted new survey on sexual assault in American colleges shows a significant gender divide on key issues. College women believe, by an overwhelming margin, that it's better that innocent young men be punished for offenses they didn't commit than to allow a guilty man to go free. (Question 32) Most college men take the opposite view. In addition, the National Institute of Justice has said that when it comes to rape, men and women may have different perceptions of the same incident. In what universe is it fair to de facto exclude men from the positions that will decide men's punishment for alleged sexual assault?
What's alarming is that Prof. Reynolds' well-reasoned piece apparently so incensed Maggie Cassidy that she felt a need to refute it. Some people just can't stand it when a man points out that, yes, young men are the targets of certain injustices. That's not to say women aren't, or that men have it "worse," or that sexual assault isn't a problem.
The injustices Prof. Reynolds wrote about will continue so long as the prevailing mindset in this culture is that the one group not allowed to complain about even real oppression is young white men.