The ability to feel what others feel has many well-documented benefits, including, for empathetic people, greater psychological and physical health. The real and socially significant positive impact of empathy, however, is the ways in which it affects behavior toward others. People who are empathetic are less aggressive and prone to denigrate others; they are predisposed to act with care and compassion; they have increased egalitarian beliefs and act with less prejudice and stereotype-based hatred. Empathetic behaviors, however, are associated with being female. And weak.
The stereotypes that plague our lives teach that the characteristics of empathetic understanding are feminine: listening, sensitivity, quiet consideration and gentleness. Empathy is feminized and boys learn quickly that what is feminized is, in a man, the source of disgust. While parents, teachers, coaches, grandparents and others whose ideas shape children aren’t sitting around telling boys, “Don’t be empathetic!” they are saying, in daily micro-aggressive ways, “Don’t be like girls!” The process of “becoming a man” still often means rejecting almost any activity or preference that smacks of cross-gender expression or sympathy.
Expression and empathy are closely related for children. When boys are taught that they can’t “be like girls” it has the threefold effect.
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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2006 Hardcore Gangs Hit Ohio SuburbsGANGS IN THE ’BURBS
Subversive element creeping beyond Columbus’ borders
Last year, Westerville North High School suspended two students who flashed MS-13 hand signs and drew gang insignia during an English-asa-second-language class. MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, is a notoriously violent street gang with roots in Los Angeles. It was formed by immigrants from El Salvador.
Gang crime isn’t nearly as serious or common in the suburbs as in some Columbus neighborhoods, but suburban schools and police departments are increasingly on watch.
"It’s not so centralized in the inner city as it used to be," said Pat Brooks, a veteran Columbus police gang unit officer.
Suburban police call Brooks and his colleagues when they suspect gang activity in their jurisdictions.
Most of the crack dealers in Reynoldsburg are gang members who live in Columbus, said Tye Downard, a Reynoldsburg police narcotics detective.