In his new book, “Man Out: Men on the Sidelines of American Life,” author Andrew Yarrow attempts to explain why so many men are feeling unwanted, unloved, disenfranchised, and left behind.
Mr. Yarrow, who is a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute and former New York Times reporter, Labor Department speechwriter, and United States history professor at American University, examines the complex interplay between economics and culture that has devastated many American men. He rejects the cut-and-dry assessment that these men are either victims or culprits and draws on empirical data and personal interviews in communities across the United States to untangle the reasons why many men feel disconnected from family, work, and civic and community life.
While critiquing the flaws of the modern family court system, Mr. Yarrow speaks to Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joseph Cordell regarding how courts tend to minimize the importance of fathers when making child custody decisions.
“We regard it as a basic truth that the father-child relationship is as important as the mother-child relationship and that gender-based discrimination in family court is unconscionable,” Mr. Cordell said. “You’re up against the stereotype that women are the primary caregivers and men are the primary breadwinners. Today those stereotypes have more exceptions than they did twenty years ago.”
The issue, Mr. Cordell goes on to say, is one of civil rights.
“This is a civil rights issue,” he said. “What civil right is more important than the role that a parent plays in a child’s life? But this civil right is in the dark corner of the room. It’s an orphan. Most people are not particularly disturbed by it. There are no powerful voices.”
Mr. Yarrow explains how the political climate further complicates matters by coloring peoples’ perceptions of the issue. Progressives primarily focus on how the modern economy has resulted in stagnant wages for millions of men and how few job prospects there are for men who were formerly incarcerated. Conservatives see a culture that tolerates laziness, loss of work ethic, and skirting of fatherly responsibilities.
“Labels like ‘progressive’ or ‘conservative’ don’t really characterize this debate,” Mr. Yarrow said in a press release. “Both sets of factors are at play and they interact – if not cause – each other.”
Mr. Yarrow not only explores the root causes of these complex problems, but also proposes a way to move forward. He suggests national and local changes that could improve education, job opportunities, criminal justice, and public health and cultural improvements that would emphasize values such as responsibility and hard work while dismantling the misogyny and toxic masculinity that fuels the “angry white man.”
The book will be released on September 11. Click here to pre-order.