Re: Boy - Girl Talk
Denise Ramsburg Stanley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thu, 26 Jun 1997 21:57:25 -0400
I certainly never intended to suggest that all-girl ships were "lesser"
in any way. Perhaps because I have always been one of those females who
seemed to get along best with the males, I confess that I do not see the
attraction of an all girl ship; but I recognize that many women find
focused women's organizations fulfilling.
The important point is the one you made: Choice. Yes, we should all
have these choices; and if you are in an all-girl ship, or a co-ed ship,
or an all-boy ship because it is your choice to be in it, that is
great. I am concerned, however, that some of the people in the ship,
either now or more likely as it evolves, will join it for other reasons
than choice--such as because it is the one all of their friends are in,
or it is the only ship available in a convenient location. Those people
are joining an exclusive club not by choice but because circumstances
At first this may seem perfectly innocent, and I am sure from your
standpoint it is. But if we change the facts a little, I think you will
see my concern. What if we were talking about all-African American
ships, or all-Hispanic ships, or all-Korean ships? They may start out
perfectly innocently, based on the conscious choices of the
participants. Eventually, however, members of the racial or ethnic
group may join not by choice but because that is the ship where their
friends go or that is located in their neighborhood. The "choice" is no
longer a genuine one.
Here in Baltimore, a residential hi-rise for low income families was
torn down recently. It is being replaced by smaller buildings and fewer
units, causing many families to be displaced from their homes. It is
African-American and low income families and their representatives, such
as the American Civil Liberties Union, that have pushed for this result,
not to displace families, but to force the government to open up new
housing opportunities in more racially and economically diverse
neighborhoods. The reason is that the effect of concentrating so much
poverty in these hi-rise buildings is to segregate the low income
families, many of whom are African-American, in this one region. This
segregation is subtle. Those families who first moved into those
bright, spanking new hi-rise buildings did not perceive that they would
eventually become a segregated area where the problems that go with
poverty, such as alcohol and drug abuse and increased crime rates, would
Eventually, rightly or wrongly, members of exclusive ships may begin to
perceive that the ship populated exclusively by their race or ethnic
group is their only option, or the only place where they will get a fair
shake, or the only ship in which they will be treated equally. That is
not a true choice. Worse, an opportunity to promote diversity among
youth will have been lost.
Necessarily, when only one group is included, others are correspondingly
excluded. As a civil rights lawyer--yes I confess--I am seeing more and
more tension between civil rights of minorities and constitutional
rights of United States citizens in general. Hate crime is on the rise,
and I fear that the government may decide that the only way to solve the
problem of hate crimes and violence is to sacrifice our free speech
rights. So you see, I perceive exclusive groups generally as potentially
dangerous--especially when they are promoted among our youth.
So much for my philosophizing. I realize this is not a debate that
belongs on this list, but I do think that we should be cognizant of this
debate when we consider promoting all-girl and all-boy, or any other
kind of exclusive ships. In Baltimore there is a new ship that is set up
to handle the special needs of physically challenged youth. This is
admirable, and for some youth it may present their only opportunity to
participate in a sea exploring program for reasons beyond anyone's
control; but we must guard against the potential that youth with
disabilities will be encouraged or feel required to join that ship for
inappropriate reasons when they could if they chose join a non-exclusive
ship where their unique abilities could be accommodated.
Now that I have explained by concern about exclusive groups, I must
confess: I am proud of the women's teams, and love to see them win and
beat the men. Good luck in your upcoming regatta.
Denise Ramsburg Stanley, Mate
S.E.S. Columbia Ranger
Columbia, Maryland 21043
> Yikes! I hope that people on co-ed or all male units do not think that
> young women are being "segregated" by being on all female ships. Our
> council has both co-ed and single gender ships so the youth members have a
> choice. I am sure, for some people, the benefits of participating on a
> co-ed ship outweigh the negatives aspects. However, many others would
> rather belong to a single gender ship. Before this discussion, it never
> occured to me (or my crew) that people would view all female ships as
> "less" in any way. Our crewmembers are a part of of the ship becuase they
> want to be...not because they were not allowed on an all--male ship.
> In my council, and in the Northwest in general, the female ships are
> given as much respect as the co-ed and male units. The female ships not
> only "hold their own" at regattas, but often win. All- female ships have
> taken first place at our regional "Nor'Wester" regatta for four of the last
> five regattas. At least three of the top five ships are all female, year
> after year. They may be physically weaker, but they have strong teamwork
> and sportsmanship skills!
> In our council or "fleet" there is only three all-female ships, two co-ed
> ships and six all-male ships. For the past five years the position of
> "Fleet Boatswain" has been held by young woman. Only one of them was from
> a co-ed ship.
> I do not wish to criticize co-ed ships. I think that they offer a great
> option for some young people. I just wanted to make it clear that there
> will always be a need for single gender units, too. And, more importantly,
> most female ships do not wish to be pitied. We are happy to have our boats
> to ourselves! By the way, my crewmembers really enjoy participating in
> joint activities with all-male ships. We just like to be able to do things
> on our own as well.
> I sure seem to be blabbing a lot for a skipper of a new ship! Until eight
> months ago, my council only had two all female ships. Perhaps that is why
> I am feeling a little sensative towards this whole issue.
> Well, wish us luck, the girls will be competing in their first regatta in
> just 2 months...against the two other all female ships as well as the co-ed
> and all male ships.
> Kristen Hyatt
> Skipper, S.E.S. Voyageur
> Cascade Pacific Council
> Portland, OR