As we read about the gang problem in our city we focus on the police, schools, educators and churches. We also focus on the need for jobs. What we don’t focus on is the frontline in this battle. Seldom do we read about the fathers of the gang members. I am sure most of the fathers live in the city and I believe one of the first jobs is to identify these men.
Once they have been identified their names need to be made public and held responsible for their children. First, for providing for these kids they fathered, second, held responsible for their attendance in school and third, for their conduct in society.
The community, mothers, churches and the authorities have given these men a pass with no accountability.
All of the above need to be involved in the problem and it must start with the fathers. The community needs to know who these fathers are and then the men and the churches start holding them accountable. Absent fathers have had the job of providing for the children they fathered put on others, especially the moms and grandmothers, for too long. It is time to see that they step up to the plate and assume their responsibilities.
In the 1960’s Chattanooga had a conference for police officers on juveniles and one of the speakers was Judge Elizabeth McCain of Memphis. She shared that as a judge if a father did not support his children he would go to jail for 11 months 29 days. She also said the lawyers would counter that he couldn’t if he was in jail. She said after he gets out of jail he will or go back again. If a child got into trouble she would put them on probation and ask the parents which one of them would go to jail if the child violated that probation. Maybe we need some tough standards for these parents, especially the fathers.
This may sound harsh but kid's lives and their futures are in danger. It is way past time for the fathers to be held accountable. I am sure there will be a lot of flack and excuses, why this shouldn’t be done. If not the dads, whose responsibility is it?
N. D. Kennedy Sr.
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What our society is experiencing today is pretty much a byproduct of that generational curse that began when America started to overwhelmingly lock up those dads back in the 1960s, '70s-'80s and beyond.
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So Ms. Washington, are you saying that the fathers of these gang members shouldn't be held responsible for their under age children? Your answer is that it’s society’s fault? The “system” is the cause of the gang problem we have today? Are you kidding me?
No wonder we have under age thugs roaming the streets selling drugs, stealing, and shooting other people because their mothers, grandmothers, pastors, politicians and the news media are telling them that they are not going to be held responsible for their illegal activities because it’s “society’s” fault. I suppose if the President or Congress would just make sure there were jobs available then these little “angels” wouldn’t be in a gang, right?
Wake up, Ms. Washington. The reason Jr. is in a gang is because he has no father at home to make him mind and his mother and grandmother have made excuses for him all his life. When 15 year old Jr. gets shot at 2 a.m. on a school night his momma gets on camera crying her eyes out because her “baby” got shot and he was just a “child.” I have news for you, her baby needed a father at home who was willing to put his foot down and make his kid behave.
Until men quit fathering babies they have no intention of supporting or raising then we will have a gang problem. That’s a fact.
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What was that generational curse back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s a byproduct of? And is that the same thing that keeps the dads of today from staying around?
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Again Ms. Washington looks for anything to blame the downfall of today's black culture on except themselves. I'm guessing that the behavior that was the cause in the locking up was America's fault too? When one internally decides to do right or wrong it is not because of the color of there skin.
I agree with Mr. Kennedy that the absence of a father figure (a good one) is detrimental to the future of a young man.
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I totally agree that both parents should be held accountable in a major way for their child’s gang activity (and not the grandparents they were dumped on). I believe that these days, parenting has become so nonexistent in many of these households that children are being treated as equals so that the parents don’t have to do their job. However, just because the father is in the home does not mean he will be the role model that keeps a child out of trouble. I believe Ms. Manghane has a valid view when she points out that so many of these fathers are incarcerated for one reason or another which prevents them from being present to raise their kids. Then there are those that are not in jail, but have one foot in and one foot out at all times; they are not really role models material. Children do not learn from what we tell them, they learn from what we show them.
However, it is important to know your history or at least do your research before you go onto public forums with your mind made up about an issue. One cannot just come up with a solution that sounds good in theory but not take into account all of the factors that have to be considered and ironed out for that theory to work. Like it or not, in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, black families were still being very much affected by the aftermath of slavery, and after that the Jim Crow laws that were enacted and upheld by our government from 1876 all the way through 1965. These were actual laws and a mindset that was so imbedded into the minds of blacks and whites that blacks were inferior, that many black people believed it and gave up hope. Black men could not just go out and freely get jobs to work and feed their families because these jobs were controlled by whites who hated them and were angry that they could no longer get that same labor for free. (Not all, but many of those in power). This practice caused many to lose their self respect and feel as though they were worthless to their families so they would leave. They could not be that strong provider they so desperately wanted to be so many turned to other means to try to gain that respect, i.e. crime.
Although we would all like to believe that we all would be so strong that our mentality could withstand such treatment, not everyone is strong enough to rise up from the shame of not being able to support your family and provide the basic things and opportunities that you see other human beings get to enjoy. By the time the 70s rolled around, the government had come up with a new, yet illegal way to disenfranchise black families; the drug trade. Drugs were allowed to be pumped into the inner city so that the politicians could get rich off of minorities doing the filthy job of pushing the product and destroying their own people to make money. These dealers eventually take the fall in the many “wars on drugs” and inevitably there is another kingpin allowed to take his place while the crooked political figures, and crooked law enforcement agents benefit without getting their hands dirty. These are drugs that are so powerful that if a man had it, he would not care anymore whether he was able to take care of his family. The shame no longer mattered. The additional problem that brought was that mothers who took these drugs no longer cared either. But as long as people are addicted, others stay are guaranteed to stay rich. These are just a few examples of the legacy of this country’s past.
It is foolish to keep your head in the clouds and think that these things do not still affect us today and do not have a lot to do with what is going on in many black families across this country. My father was born in 1949 and still remembers the Jim Crow era well. I can only imagine what my grandfathers went through and because of the shame, they never discuss it. I suggest that the true responsibilities of parenthood be taught in school. If they kids knew what a real parent is suppose to do maybe they would be more careful about bring a child into the world. These kids who are having sex and making babies will be unequipped to be parents because their parents were unequipped to raise them. Each generation will continue to get worse and worse unless something major changes.
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Mr. Brown writes "Each generation will continue to get worse and worse unless something major changes."
That "major change" will, and must be, the point at which the community stops blaming all their ills on society and what's gone on in the past, when the community accepts responsibility for their own destiny. Slavery, Jim Crow laws, and all those other problems Mighty Whitie caused with his greed, bigotry, and prejudice are long gone. Slavery ended 150 years ago. Everything else, but the attitudes, ended 50 years ago. It's time to stop whining and complaining about how tough life is.
Gangs are not exclusive to the black community. Bastard children are not limited to the black community, or even the mixed race community. Welfare deadbeats, versus the truly needy, are not limited to the black community. BabyMommas who cannot, or will not, name their BabyDaddies are not limited to the black community.
Problems finding a job? Get an education, develop skills that an employer will pay for, then be willing to prove yourself... and don't learn just one skill. Anyone who can perform a variety of jobs or work functions, and isn't afraid to get his hands dirty, will never be without employment.
Want equality? Want equal opportunity? Each of us is born naked, cold, hungry, and crying. That's our equality. We all have equal opportunity to either succeed or fail from there. The choice is ours, and ours alone.
It's easy to fall into the trap of allowing others to convince us we can't pour, um, [wee-wee] out of a boot with the directions written on the heel. That's our own fault for listening to what those others say. Until the community decides to get up, stand up, and stop relinquishing their personal power to others nothing will change.
Want change? Do something to effect it. To expect others to make those changes is to admit powerlessness, and that simply is not true.
Yes! Found my leaf blower.
Now I can dust.
Royce Burrage, Jr.