A Talk by Tony Porter
Not many people know about Tony Porter. I didn’t. I didn’t know about him until this morning, when I read from Kalamu ya Salaam‘s NeoGriot. But I like what he is trying to do. It’s not that I haven’t heard of guys like him. He’s one of the few black men who is working to help black youth and men to become real men. Not men who become prisoners of what he calls, “The Man Box.” Doing this, he feels will help destroy sexual, physical and emotional abuse of women. From his organization’s webpage, A Call to Men:
A gifted public speaker, Tony Porter is an educator and activist working in the social justice arena for over twenty years. He is nationally recognized for his effort to end men’s violence against women. Tony is the original visionary and co-founder behind A CALL TO MEN: The National Association of Men and Women Committed to Ending Violence Against Women. He is the author of Well Meaning Men…Breaking Out of the Man Box – Ending Violence Against Women and the visionary for the book, NFL Dads Dedicated to Daughters.
An engaging and sought after lecturer, Tony’s message of accountability is welcome[d] and supported by many grassroots and established organizations. He’s currently working with numerous domestic and sexual violence programs, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, colleges and universities around the country. He has worked with the United States Military Academy at West Point and the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.
I’m all for educating athletes, military, and undergraduates. Because this is exactly when and where misogynistic attitudes really plays out in semi-public behaviors that result in negative media coverage. Tailhook. Ben Roethlisberger. Any frat drinking party that got way, way out of hand, causing death, rape, injuries.
Porter’s organization, A Call to Men, believes that the responsibility for preventing abuse of women lies with men, especially with men and boys who don’t necessarily subscribe to these views. In order to achieve this, ACTM believes that men need tools and support for altering widely held misconceptions about women and girls, and about themselves, thus redefining what it means to be a man.
This is certainly more refreshing than what Bishop Eddie Long has been “accomplishing” in his ministry.
A Call to Men is also an adjunct of The Tides Center, a progressive foundation which has experienced its own headlines this summer. Some delusional, unemployed guy, provoked by dozens of Glenn Beck shows, decided to take some “artillery” down to the offices of the Northern California ACLU and the Tides Center’s headquarters at The Presidio to kill some liberals. After a gunfight, he was apprehended on the 580 freeway by the Highway Patrol before he could perpetrate this atrocity.
Apparently, doing good, real good, does threaten people.
Again, I like what this man and his group, which also includes women, is trying to do. They outline ten things men can do now to keep themselves together.
1. Acknowledge and understand how male dominance and aspects of unhealthy manhood are at the foundation of domestic and sexual violence.
2. Examine and challenge our individual beliefs and the role that we play in supporting men who are abusive.
3. Recognize and stop colluding with other men by getting out of our socially defined roles, and take a stance to prevent domestic and sexual violence.
4. Remember that our silence is affirming. When we choose not to speak out against domestic and sexual violence, we are supporting it.
5. Educate and re-educate our sons and other young men about our responsibility in preventing domestic and sexual violence.
6.”Break out of the man box”- Challenge traditional images of manhood that stop us from actively taking a stand in domestic and sexual violence prevention.
7. Accept and own our responsibility that domestic and sexual violence will not end until men become part of the solution to end it. We must take an active role in creating a cultural and social shift that no longer tolerates violence and discrimination against women and girls.
8. Stop supporting the notion that domestic and sexual violence is due to mental illness, lack of anger management skills, chemical dependency, stress, etc… Domestic and sexual violence is rooted in male dominance and the socialization of men.
9. Take responsibility for creating appropriate and effective ways to educate and raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence prevention.
10. Create responsible and accountable men’s initiatives in your community to support domestic and sexual violence prevention.
For more information regarding A Call to Men, e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org