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Absent, Part 4 – “Gangsta” Culture

April 30, 2017
Author Roxe (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Author Roxe (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

“Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.  Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity…” (Titus 2: 6-7).

So called “gangsta” culture, also, feeds into the problem of absent fathers in the inner city.

Gansta culture (no longer confined to a single race) embraces a super-macho image which prizes male power and gang loyalty above all else.  For many, gangs take the place of family which is one of the reasons they command such fierce loyalty.

The merest slight, even if unintended, may be perceived as disrespect.  Disputes are resolved by violent means.  The domination of women is glorified, which is why misogynistic lyrics are common in gansta rap.

The truth is that the boys fathering children never knew a father either.  The grown men acting like boys are displaying their immaturity – not their strength.  A large ego is a fragile one.

The victimization of women has always been a way for men to vent their frustration with a society they felt robbed them of their due.

Community Impact

There is a negative impact from absent fathers, not only on individual lives, but the whole community.

“For a variety of reasons, including the lack of jobs, equal education and crime, many of those communities are now gripped in deep violence and fear.  Strong, positive, hard working men are there, but in too many situations are not as visible or engaged with their kids or the other kids in the community.  It is as if they leave home, go to work, come home and lock themselves inside their homes in front of TV sets.  Not as many are walking the streets in the evenings, standing at the corner by the school bus stop, sitting in the church, or volunteering at the park or school.”

– Michael Knowles, “The Need for Male Role Models in African-American Communities” [1]

Make no mistake.  There are good black fathers, men who want to be involved in the lives of their sons and daughters.  Men who are sober, employed, and devout.

But black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at a rate 5.1 times that of white Americans (in some states, 10 times the white rate) [2].  Although making up only 12% of the general population, African Americans comprise 37.9% of Federal inmates [3].

Even in Family Court, black men often face discrimination.  Judges assume African American fathers are deadbeat dads.  Black men learn to settle for less, in terms of custody and visitation, than a white man would tolerate.

The Christian Role

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Ps. 127: 3).

Those of us concerned by the problem of absent fathers whatever their color, race, or ethnic origin must teach our girls to value themselves for more than sex; teach our boys to respect girls, and value themselves for more than procreation.

We must model fidelity and commitment for our children.  More than that, we must fight for equal opportunity and civil rights.  We must demand better educational facilities for the inner city with the same fervor we demand them for our own children.

Providing both sexes with marketable skills would be helpful, but only part of the solution.  Those of us who have successfully raised our own children must step back into the arena, and mentor these rudderless children – these young men and women becoming parents too soon.

We must make certain our churches have outreach programs to assist single mothers.  We must support and participate in fatherhood programs [4].  We must start and staff after-school programs for inner city youth.

Above all, we must demonstrate the love of God to the young men and women, boys and girls, attempting to find their way in a harsh world.

These children belong to all of us.  But they will not realize their full worth until they know their value in God’s eyes.  As Christians, it is up to us to teach them that.

[1]  National PTA, One Voice, “The Need for Male Role Models in African-American Communities” by Michael Knowles, 2/13/14, http://onevoice.pta.org/?p=3789.

[2]  The Guardian, US Prisons, “Black Americans incarcerated five times more than white people – report” by Nicole Puglise, 6/18/16, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/18/mass-incarceration-black-americans-higher-rates-disparities-report.

[3]   Federal Bureau of Prisons, Inmate Statistics, “Inmate Race”, 1/28/17, https://www.bop.gov/about/statistics/statistics_inmate_race.jsp.

[4]  People Magazine, “Single Dad Teaches Himself to Do His Daughter’s Hair – Then Starts a Class to Help Other Fathers” by Cathy Free, 2/15/17, http://people.com/human-interest/single-dad-teaches-himself-to-do-his-daughter-s-hair-and-starts-class/.

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  http://www.avoicereclaimed

8 Comments
  1. An excellent article Anna. You show the problems realistically, and the solutions, including us being involved. We really can make a difference.

  2. Reblogged this on Gadol Elohai: Father's Service, Son's work, Spirit's gift and commented:
    We need good parents to be good future generations. The fatherless and motherless children are vulnerable for grim future..

  3. A…men my dear Anna!

  4. One thing I’ve become acutely aware of since moving to Florida is that there appears to be a definite bias against black men when it comes to court sentences.

    A recent study by a Sarasota newspaper,along with an NBC-2 report identified a clear bias when analyzing sentences for the exact same offense. I’d post links but I’m not savvy enough to do it from my phone.

    My point is that in SW Florida black men can expect much harsher sentences for the same crimes. Little wonder that these men feel that society is against them. Not making excuses for poor choices,but still……

    • I think what you describe is typical, Ron. Poor choices can result from many factors. God, I suspect, is far more forgiving than we are.

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