Absent, Part 4 – “Gangsta” Culture

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 everything.  For many, gangs take the place of family which is one reason 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 ego.

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/.



Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Community, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Poverty, Rape, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault, Violence Against Women

13 responses to “Absent, Part 4 – “Gangsta” Culture

  1. Extremely relevant, interesting and poignant post. Very well written. The statistics are shocking and its clear that there’s a real issue. Thank you for your obedience to the Holy Spirit for tackling this subject. Blessings, Hayley 😊

  2. Great post Anna.. God has given you boldness to tackle some tough subjects.. May they all be lead to serve Jesus who will guide them into a new way of living.. Amen!

  3. This post in my humble opinion shows how much the author is dedicated to improving the lives of our children. I think, however, that this subject is of such huge dimensions that it will take many lifetimes to actually achieve the perfect solution which is children mothered and fathered with love, acceptance, tolerance, and obedience to the word of God.

    From reading this, it seems that it is not only ‘gangsta culture’ and ‘absent fathers’ that we are dealing with here. We ( well certainly I am) are dealing with racism and sexism too: racism in that we are having to look at how Black men are treated within our society and the very low hopes and ideals we associate with the black father in general terms: ‘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…’.

    Also sexism plays a very great part in that men are seen to be in control and that women are controlled in order to allow men to feel powerful: ‘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’.

    I wholeheartedly agree that education is the way forward, and instilling ideals of Godly parenting is definitely the way forward. But I also feel that we have to overcome the great obstacles of inequality and injustice in our society. We first need to get rid of this feeling of superiority and power, negativity towards other ethnicities, and above all sexism which promotes the feeling of men being in control and leaving women powerless.

    I am not sure that these ideals can be achieved outright but it is certainly something to work toward. I feel certain if there was equality, in terms of how we as a race treat each other, not looking to keep other ethnicities down, and valuing each individual, seeing and appreciating their worth, then human lives would be much better placed to reproducing and raising our children.

    Sorry to have waffled on Anna, but I do feel quite strongly about the issues you have raised here, I think you have written a very strong post in the light of how much needs to be said, but I also feel that there is so much to cover that we can never really get to the bottom of this. I hope that you don’t see my views as being negative in any way as I wholly support your view that men are accountable to the children they father whatever their ethnicity.

    • Thank you for this intelligent, sensitive, and articulate comment, Marie. I would expect no less of you.

      As you rightly point out, absent fathers are only one factor impacting the way we raise our children. Numerous causes — some of them positive, a great many negative — combine to create a Gordian knot of effects. There is no easy way to sort things out, and start society anew. Lives must be changed one at a time.

      Even with the best of intentions, a writer cannot solve the problems of the world with a simple post. Each of us though has God-given gifts we can apply to those problems, and God-given opportunities presented to us. Some of us may have the patience and gentleness for day care; others, the stamina and conviction for a voter registration drive. Whatever our talents, there are problems enough to go around.

      My plea is that, as Christians, we recognize our responsibility to the next generation and, indeed, to our neighbors — whatever their age, sex, marital status, race, color, ethnicity, or creed. We are to be the light of the world. If we shirk that responsibility, both we and the world lose out.

      Love and Blessings,


      • Thank you Anna for graciously seeing my comments not as an attack on the worthy and valuable points you make in your beautifully articulate post. I (as you probably realise by now) am inclined to introduce new strands to the debate and did not wish to take away from ‘absent fathers’ but to suggest that there are a wealth of underlying causes/symptoms which might impact the situation and which might not always be obvious/apparent.

        I fully endorse your courageous attempt at suggesting ways forward as demonstrated in your very eloquent and altruistic final paragraph. This is not to say that the preceding paragraphs aren’t full of wisdom too!

        Love and blessings in return, Marie

      • You are a constant gift to me, Sam. “The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense” (Prov. 27: 9). ❤

      • I love that Bible verse! Thanks Anna ❤

  4. I so much agree with you Anna, your words are very True and confirmed in Scripture. (Suffer the Little Children Matthew19:13-14) I have spent much of my life Loving and Caring for Children, both wanted and unwanted and as a Christian I share with them that they are Loved greatly, Jesus knows their Name and is always there for them in the good times and bad.

    Yes God has filled my empty Arms and my Heart with Joy through other Peoples Children, I used to be Mrs Anne or Aunty Anne now I’m Grannie Annie which I love, how very Blessed I am.

    Christian Love Always – Anne.

    • What a loving heart you have, Anne. It grieves me how you’ve suffered. But I am sure you’ve touched the young lives in your care for good. And I am certain you will meet your own children again in heaven.

      With love,


  5. This is an amazing post. It clearly illustrates how the root causes of child abuse and neglect in our societies are multi-faceted. The ramifications are so many, it is almost overwhelming to think of where the healing will start. I do like the simple solutions postulated here. Those who have it together can start from raising their kids the right way. I wonder if ever these problems can be solved without God. Nothing is greater than the power of God. In a society moving away from God, the path to victory, using man’s wisdom is very uncertain. Absentee fathers, gangsta culture, racism, child abuse, crime, high incarceration rates, judicial biases – these are all interrelated. The solutions are not in plain view. I do remember the promise that says:

    If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ”

    Who are his people? Who are those called by his name.? Can the revered intellectuals of today and policy makers humble themselves? Will greed and lust allow people to depart from their wicked ways? As a nation, can we pray without offending others? Thank you for your thought-provoking and insightful post. Remain blessed.

    • Thank you for your response, Gbolabo. The world of man reflects his fallen nature. One problem feeds on another, amplifies another. Even our misguided attempts to solve these complex problems have unintended consequences. Just talking about them can cause anger and hurt feelings.

      God alone is the solution. He can reach beyond our experiences, beyond our scars to heal our land.

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