Male Aggressiveness Essay, Research Paper
Compared to many other places in the world, the homicide rate for Miami-Dade County is troublingly high. The principal contributors are men. It is known that men are more prone to commit homicides than women. It is not known, though, what makes men so much more aggressive than women. Experts propose various theories, yet none provides a definitive explanation. Should one look to the side of genetics for answers or explore social structures and cultures? It may be some combination of genetics and social structure that will lead us to the answers, including to the question of why Miami?s homicide rate is comparatively high.
Some say that aggression can be traced to genetics. Testosterone, a male hormone that is linked to aggressive behavior, pumps through the veins of all men in large quantities, whereas only a small amount is found in women. By contrast men have low levels, but women have high levels, of the neurotransmitter seratonin, which inhibits aggression and impulsivity. Female have a larger “verbal” portion of the brain which is said to be the reason why they can express feelings and emotions more readily than males. These facts point to genetic reasons why men are so aggressive, but there is still another side of the question to explore.
Why is the homicide rate in Miami-Dade County higher than that of, say, urban areas of Switzerland which have virtually no violent crime? If biologists are correct, there are no rational differences in the genetic makeup of males, or for that matter females, that can account for such variation in rates of homicide and other kinds of violent crime. Thus there must be some nongenetic reason why homicide rates differ from country to country. In areas of Europe such as Switzerland, a homicide is nearly unheard of; people rarely kill each other. They live in peace with one another and learn to respect other men and women. Such societies teach their men and women to be tolerant and to solve disputes in peaceful ways. It would seem, than, that such societies are more effective than U.S. society in dampering expressions of genetic propensities to commit violent acts.
Cultures differ in so many ways, from the tolerance that people within a society have towards each other to the way that children are taught in classrooms. For example, in the Arab world people are tuaght to be very open and sensual with each other. They live together in close proximity and spend time together in, often, one room. This could lead to a higher tolerance for fellow human beings and a deeper understanding for others.
Japanese teach their children in a group oriented fashion. Students work together and not individually to teach each other and to solve problems as a class. They are not put in groups based on their ability, but rather the brighter children help the slower children to learn. At lunch time boys and girls work together to serve food and clean up. Then after classes, the children clean up the school and prepare for the next day. This arrangement fosters mutual respect and cooperation rather than belligerence. So too do practices such as bringing in a mediator to resolve disputes between two parties. This is an effective way to avoid conflict and keep harmony.
The testosterone levels in the male?s body combined with his surroundings and manner by which he was brought up can all take affect and be the deciding factors in his aggressiveness. People with different tolerance levels, upbringing and many other factors can clash when put together into a common place. The variations in the way males are taught and brought up change from group to group as well as from place to place. These variations are a cause for the differing homicide rates from Miami- Dade to a city on the other side of the world. This is seen in the troubling homicide rate for Miami- Dade. I am sure that culture and social structure take over what genetics started in a male?s body, and continue the path to a male?s aggressive or non-aggressive tendencies.
As the commission?s head, I propose that we begin to work toward reducing Miami-Dade?s homicide rate by focusing on our children. If we model our educational system on Japan?s we might begin to reverse the aggressiveness in our boys. We should have them feel as if they are part of a group and teach them to care for each other rather then fend for themselves and compete for attention. We should also require that schools and businesses appoint mediators to mitigate conflicts. More importantly, Miami- Dade County needs to teach its people to be more tolerant of each other. This can be taught in the schools but it should mainly be instilled in children by their families.