Throughout most of my writing career, I have participated in various panels. One thing that those panels shared was that they were all LATINA panels.
But, last night was the first time I participated in a all-male panel. Joining me in the panel were Gustavo Arellano, author of "Ask A Mexican," Julian Camacho, el machismo and author of "Huevos y La Mujer Latina," and a writer for La Opinion (Hugo something.)
I had nearly forgotten how much debate can go around in a college classroom, especially for a class like Chicano Studies. The panel was supposed to discuss writing tactics and the world of publishing; instead, we got to discussing the roles and social responsibility of men. Actually, only one of us did a lot of discussing: Julian Camacho, being that he was el machismo and, apparently, an expert on the bravado of men. The reporter added his own two cents every now and then, and Gustavo inserted a hilarious tid bit or two; but I was the one that did most of the listening (unlike the audience that just wanted to keep going and going and going, like the Energizer bunny.)
Not that I had a problem with being the audience to such heated debates that were tossed around. Quite to the contrary, I actually enjoyed listening. A lot of great points were made, and I often found myself pondering their thoughts and opinions.
For example, one female student asked Mr. Camacho what his thoughts were on the family responsibilityof men, besides earning the money and protecting the family. His answer was: procreation (I shortened this, of course, because the actual answer would be too long to post.)
Another student asked all of us why a Chicano Studies class is sometimes called "Chicano Studies" and "Latino Studies" some other times. Is one less or more important than the other? How do you feel the class has evolved through the course of time? Even though I was asked to volunteer my opinion, I felt that I was not the right person to answer since I had only taken one Chicano Studies class over ten years ago (my studies in college were only focused in art.) So I just gave them a quick line or two, then the rest of the men answered (Julian was the one who the put the most in his answer, BTW.)
It wasn't too hard to conclude that Julian was the "star" of the panel. He did the most talking. It was funny because I thought Gustavo Arellano would end up being the most talkative because, let's face it, he was the most reknowned author of us all. But, no, it was el machismo. He discussed a lot of things. One of which was the child rearing of his son, in particular to how his wife would treat him in front of the boy (he said that he'd tell her not to be a bitch in front of him so that he would grow up not to take that sort of abuse from women.) In essence, men should be strong not weak.
Then some other things were tossed around. Like how men actually get treated better by other men than they do by women. Men will actually buy men a steak lunch and a beer as opposed to women, who will slam the refrigerator door in their face and nag that you can't eat this and you can't eat that (even though it might be out of concern for their health, weight, and overall longevity.) And I agreed! Guys actually get more respect from other guys than they get from women. Why is that? I wondered. Well, I think it's because men give women all the power. Then Julian went on to call us "manipulative," in a sense that we know how to work "it." That's why we get a lot of the attention from the male teachers. Ha, ha, ha!
Even though I was the silent participant in the panel, I had a great time laughing at everything that was shared yesterday.