An Open Letter: My Response to “Stop Calling Sh*t Fatherless”

The other day, I came across an article entitled Stop Calling Sh*t Fatherless. The majority of the points made in the article I actually agreed with. The term itself is derogatory at best and inflammatory at worst. People toss it around flippantly on social media (I’m looking at you Twitter), and it has found its way into everyday conversation as well. Yes, there are bigger issues that affect society, and we need to promote an environment that encourages honest discourse.

But…what if the notion of fatherlessness is directly and indirectly connected to some of the social ills communities face? Nowadays anything that gives off a whiff of condemnation is shot down as judgmental and not progressive. Well, is it possible that our so-called progressiveness has actually caused society to regress?

*cue Jeopardy music*

Nevertheless, there are categories to being fatherless. Whatever the case, the term shouldn’t be tossed around as a slur. Calling someone fatherless doesn’t take into account the individual’s back-story. As a whole, men need to step up and be more proactive in their communities, irrespective of their ethnicity. Though my father was very active in my life, for most of my childhood, I grew up in a single mother household. Therefore, I will never slander a single mother doing what she has to do.

This isn’t directed at the men who are trying to take care of their kids or are an integral part of their community. But men, we have to be proactive, not just do better. Fatherlessness is a problem for homes and communities. Yes, women are holding our communities down, but that’s because they have to. Where are the men who are willing to stand up and take charge? Women shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of holding down the neighborhood, protecting themselves, our kids, bringing home the bacon, and leading. This may come across as patriarchal, but they weren’t originally designed for that. But, we were.

The lack of a father/father figure does play a part in how boys turn into grown men, and how girls turn into grown women. Studies have borne this out. The root causes can be generational, such as when those in our parent’s generation saw Big Mama ruling the house. Or maybe Pop Pop was home but wasn’t doing much. The examples were set, and since that was what our parents saw, it seemed right to them. The fatherless epidemic also stems from issues that some men haven’t dealt with internally. Frankly, they need healing, and some may even need to be taught how to be present in the life of their child.

Then, there are men who don’t do what they’re supposed to do, period. They don’t see a need to step up, nor do they want to. Other than selfishness, there isn’t anything that prevents them from being present. For those who are “fatherless,” this is what stings most of all. To know that a man could be around, for his family and community, but he chooses not to was unfathomable at one time. Now, we expect it. I’m not sure if that says more about the individual or society, but I digress.

The lack of having a father manifests itself in various ways depending on the person. For young men it could be the beginning of heading down the criminal road, or it could fuel them to greatness. For young women it could lead to frigidity towards men, promiscuity, or inspire them as well. Again, it manifests itself in different ways.

For every person that says fathers aren’t integral to kids, family, and the community, there is a person who will use their own life to refute that way of thinking. It may take time to strip away the muck and get to the core, but I’d bet in some form or fashion, it’ll always be connected to the “dad.” Even if a father isn’t in the home, but he remains active in their child’s life, then their child is on more stable footing.

We men should be taking the lead in setting a standard that encourages fathering (when able), and we should not let children be fatherless. If it means inconveniencing ourselves to ensure they get what they need, then so be it. Taking an active role now will benefit society later, but more importantly, it will benefit our children now.

Darrk Gable is a man on a mission to expand minds, including his.  He has latent talents that are just starting to arrive on the scene. Darrk looks at life from a biblically practical aspect and shares truths that are self evident. If folks don’t agree, well God bless ‘em anyway.

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  • Ms. Smart

    This is pretty spot on. But it will be unpopular because women like being lifted as strong and able to do it on their own all the while downing men. Men, on the other hand, don't mind being labeled deadbeats because it absolves them of responsibility. Not to mention, labeling men as shiftless makes the ones who step up, even slightly, get huge accolades.

    • http://glippost.wordpress.com Darrk Gable

      That’s a loaded statement you make. Working backwards, society has conditioned us to think men doing what was natural even 35 years ago is something to be applauded. Chris Rock said it best…”what do these men want, A cookie? No. That’s just part of manhood. To your second point I say we’re raising SOME men to be punks. When challenges arise, they run. And to your first point, it’s a small sample of the breakdown of communication between the sexes. Men can be uplifted without putting women down, and vice versa.

      • http://www.ThinkPrettySmart.com Ms. Smart

        “Working backwards, society has conditioned us to think men doing what was natural even 35 years ago is something to be applauded.”

        Conditioned under the guise that most of you are unwilling or incapable of doing basic things.

        “Men can be uplifted without putting women down, and vice versa.”

        I don’t disagree with this. However, this doesn’t seem to be the way it’s playing out.

        • http://www.singleblackmale.org/author/wisdomismisery/ WisdomIsMisery

          Perhaps I’m mis-reading your follow-up comment, because I agreed with your first, but this comment seems to state the exact opposite of what you said above. Conditioned under the guise that most of you are unwilling or incapable of doing basic things. This seems to go back to the very script of: only men are flawed and women are perfect. We can’t work towards a consensus until both parties accept we are not perfect. Overall it’s just personally annoying to watch the same people who PREACH unity are so quick to PRACTICE finer pointing and back stabbing – this goes for both sexes.

          Same sh*t, dif day.

        • Ms. Smart

          I was directly responding to what Darrk Gable said about men. But if we want to bring women into it, men tend to be shocked by (or are VERY uncomfortable with), women who act civilized because they've been conditioned to believe that women are messy, scream, and are at level 10 on the Irrational Scale. This is because there's a loud segment of women who are immature and lack the communication skills to do anything but yell, be irrational, and make short sighted decisions. They bask in the acceptance of the stereotype because it doesn't demand they act like they have any piece of sense, self-respect or self awareness.

    • fourpageletter

      But it will be unpopular because women like being lifted as strong and able to do it on their own all the while downing men.

      quoi? i dont get this statement at all
      My recent post the black, white and grey of loving Scandal

  • Terry J

    This was great Darrk Gable! I was listening to "Be A Father To Your Child" by Ed O.G. & Da Bulldogs while reading this amazing and well said!

  • Uncle Hugh, BP

    Great post. Generally speaking, men in our community do need to step up. The consequences of not doing so are obvious.

  • Streetz

    GREAT POST!

  • Slim Jackson

    Enjoyed this read. No additional thoughts to add, but I do agree with the general sentiment. Keep up the good work.
    My recent post slimjackson: *looks at number of unread emails and runs out the door for sour patch kids*

  • Higher Learning

    For the most part I loved the articles as a general call to action. Men who become fathers should step up to the plate.. I hate when people think there should be some reward for being active parents in your children's lives. The best reward is often seeing your children excel in life and becoming themselves productive members of society who takes care of their children.

    But my issue with the article was… the supposed "design" of women. If we were not created to lead, serve, protect and bring home the bacon… what are we designed to do? Now my excuses if this sounds like a misinterpretation, but at the expense of building up the man, we are breaking down another integral part of parenting "the woman". Essentially how can communities be fixed if there is no elevation of both genders at the same time, and the acknowledgment of what they both bring to the table….. And these fake innate traits we talk of are often nothing more than socialization and a generalization of women and men.

    • http://glippost.wordpress.com Darrk Gable

      Valid points. My frame of reference is a bit different than most because I come from a biblical background. By no means do I put women down, but in my experience and purview situations change when a man takes the lead. I’d wager that if more men were leaders and not neutral, we’d see a shift in how our communities look, and our kids act.

  • fourpageletter

    great post.

    i too dont understand where this phenomenon of calling any/everything 'fatherless' comes from, but it's silly, belittling and insulting to those who grew up without fathers (esp since while the scenario we usually think of is through desertion or divorce, it ignores the people who's fathers dies).

    i really wish people would think critically before writing – but i know that's just wishful thinking.
    My recent post the black, white and grey of loving Scandal

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