Archive for the Fatherhood Category

Scripting America…And The New Body Politic

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Fatherhood with tags , , on November 28, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Purnell Headshotdirector_chair

By Purnell Pinkney

Children derive exquisite pleasure out of playing the game of “pretend.” All kinds of personas are suddenly possible in this game and credibility merely requires holding the attention of playmates long enough to impress and entertain. That’s what children do in their innocence. They play social make-believe games. Adults also play the “pretend game;” it’s called acting, Hollywood, the “silver screen, “Broadway” and a half dozen or so other names. As adults however, “pretending” is serious big-business…in fact it is a socio-cultural, cash-cow industry. Actors of all shapes, sizes, ages, colors and levels of ability, are paid handsomely to pretend that they are not themselves, but rather, that they are some imaginary character freshly minted from the mind of a skilled writer. The “star” actor class in America… the 5% to 10% of them, who earn approximately 85% to 90% of the total wages paid to all of these performers, are generally recognized as “celebrities.”

So powerful has the influence of Hollywood celebrities grown that their cinematic success is now wrongly assumed to indicate… 1) elevated IQ’s and 2) possession of political notions of what is best for the American people. And so the U.S. public finds itself being nudged in a certain social and political direction by a class of people who are, a) paid to “NOT” be their “REAL” selves, b) who must constantly seek the personal approval of the public, c) who as a result of that pursuit are most likely to be neurotic to various degrees, d) who at all costs must maintain their theatrical persona in order to sustain marketability and e) who spend their entire professional lives avoiding the public exposure of their private lives. No one can be reliably certain of when these people are “in” or “out” of character. But so profound is the impact of the images of these folks on the silver screen, that a normally rational viewing audience will abandon common sense and bestow upon these performers some sort of special gift of prescience. In committing this error of presumption, the public inadvertently elevates ordinary everyday people who happen to work in an exclusive occupation to the lofty status of a kind of “American Nobility.” On a wide range of socio-political issues, large numbers of enthusiastic admirers eagerly subscribe to the opinions and judgments of this movie land pseudo-aristocracy. These fans steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that everything about Hollywood, including the actors and actresses, is contrived, controlled, fictitious, fake or imaginary…everything, that is, except the cash raked in by various studios from the revenues generated from the periodic block buster film.

So popular has the trade in fantasy become that Hollywood in recent times has slowly ratcheted up its influence on a dumbed-down public and openly entered partisan politics. Hollywood is now an unapologetically leftist operation. It is using its influence and financial clout to advance the agenda of the leftist elements in American politics by appealing to the naïve sensibilities of America’s millennials and at the same time, troll for the support of independents and minorities. This industry was instrumental in President Obama’s 2008 election and 2012 re- election. Nonetheless, it is now becoming evident that dealing in fantasy while positioning to dispense political and social dogma is a recipe for national chaos.

Regrettably black men in America are innocent casualties of this political “passion play.” The Hollywood version of America’s black men call for violent, misanthropic, unrefined, immature, predatory images and no amount of appealing to the studios to stop the damaging trend has produced results. There are no disclaimers on crazy-violent films that warn that the contents are make-believe…not true-to-life. Where there is viewer confusion, fantasy becomes dangerous; especially for black men in America at the hands of Hollywood studio executives. It can generate false images, untrue characterizations and more importantly, the attribution of beliefs, values and behaviors to black men that are misleading and derogatory. Notice that the unpredictable brute stereotype attached to black men who are actors continues to persist and just as importantly, these characterizations continue to fill the seats in movie theaters.

Having succeeded in casting black men and black communities as hopelessly pathological, Hollywood set its sights on imposing its version of social, economic and political reality on the American public via mass media scripting of certain elements of the secular- progressive agenda. To accomplish this objective, Hollywood relied upon the method it knows best; scripting. Without a script, Hollywood implodes…just as it did during the turbulent Civil Rights, Anti-War, “Academic Freedom” era of the 1960’s.

At that time theaters and movie houses simply became irrelevant as the “real” world of reconciling America’s espoused values with its actual values was publicly debated. During these epic struggles, fantasy was put in its proper place; the bottom of the list of national priorities. Hollywood struggled mightily through that slump and was unable to extricate itself from the decline until it stumbled upon the novel idea of “Blaxploitaion Movies.” The first and most successful of these movies was the block buster film, “Super Fly.” It is the opinion of many that this film, with its all-black cast, single-handedly ended the Black Power movement and the Civil Rights movement in America while simultaneously ushering in a self-indulgent era that glorified and encouraged sex, drugs and criminality in black communities across America. The effects of this movie and others of that genre are still reverberating throughout black communities across the nation.

But the film industry was just beginning to flex its muscles…for it had rediscovered the vulnerability of the American viewing audience to the power of suggestion and cinematic imagery. The transition from influencing pop-culture to orchestrating political thought proved to be an easy task; the apparatus was already in place. The studios had money, politicians, an ideology and an impressionable new audience to engage. This alliance was so powerful and new on the American political landscape that it was difficult to counter; for it had no clearly defined leader or identity to refute or discredit. Consequently, this union of Hollywood and political dogma appeared vague and innocuous. Even more important was that this scripting alliance was so positioned that its objectives appeared to represent the enlightened will of the American people.

The strategic weak link in this coalition however, was the absence of a means of stifling popular opposition to the scheme. To remedy that problem, “political correctness” which had been steadily injected into the public psyche over a period of about 20 years, was the perfect solution…shame and the prospect of public vilification throttled dissent. No one and nothing dared to openly oppose the Hollywood/progressive/leftist agenda; neither churches, not conservatives nor the activist “Tea Party” groups ventured to risk the wrath of this new alliance.

For a while the agenda of this new force was virtually unstoppable … and then something happened. It became increasingly clear that nothing that the liberal-progressive Congress and President succeeded in passing into law, produced the desired results. Consequently, anything they wanted that failed to obtain legislative success was forced on the American public by activist judges and a passive U.S. Attorney General. Though the crown jewel of the Left’s agenda, “amnesty for 10 million illegal aliens” still eludes Congressional passage…it is almost a foregone conclusion that president Obama is “evolving” on the issue and will grant the amnesty before he leaves office in 2016.

Is it possible that the present state of affairs in America is the result of a series of scripted socio-political legislation introduced by the Left and aimed at creating a new version of America by totally dismantling the value system, religious ideals and social mores that have made the United States the most powerful and influential nation in modern history? The answer to this question seems to be a resounding “yes.” If there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Hollywood is complicit in this scheme, then it can be established once and for all that the use of scripting as a political tactic is indeed being used as a device to lull the masses into a sense of false security all the while subjecting the same masses to manipulation by an unprincipled cabal of zealots whose intent is to force their views upon the electorate.

Black men were always suspicious of the sudden and ubiquitous changes being forced upon them and their communities across the nation. Political correctness suppressed the concerns of these men however, and the Left ran roughshod over their sensibilities as the scripting expanded and intensified to encompass freedom of speech on certain subjects and personal behavior with respect to other situations. Nonetheless black men generally acquiesced to the script as it was given to them…if not they risked being accused of violating “political correctness” protocol and faced certain exposure to public ridicule by the media. This situation amounted to a form of psycho-social, high-stakes, behavioral blackmail. So how does this scripting operate in its ordinary and practical application?

Consider these examples:

1. One of Hollywood’s most masculine, macho, tough-looking actors suddenly announces his support for homosexual marriage. A few months later he produces a flop of a movie about a 1960s singing group. His movie was heavily promoted and released. Looked like the studios rewarded him for his favorable public stance on homosexuality. Scripted?? Looks possible.

2. Bill and Hillary Clinton were vehemently against homosexual marriage when President Clinton signed the DOMA Bill in 1996. By 2008 they were vigorously for it and in 2012 they encouraged the U.S. Justice Department not to enforce it laws against it. Sudden conversion…or scripting?

3. Anyone who disagrees with the liberal party-line is a bully, bigot or a Neanderthal. These labels enter the public discourse through the media and gain general acceptance. The use of the labels however, is a misapplication of the terms. Scripting??

4. A mediocre NBA player announced that he is a homosexual and the President of the United States invited him to the White House. Sales of his jersey supposedly skyrocket. At present this player is apparently not on the court but is being used as a “Poster Child” for diversity of any kind. Scripting gone sour??

5. Mr.Obama condones gay marriage and a slew of Hollywood types; male and female “come out” to the applause and admiration of their peers. Some of them were in career slumps and used the “disclosure” to try to re-charge flagging careers. Others had no career and try to use the gay card to jump-start a career in cinema. Actors vie for the opportunity to disclose their sexuality. Scripting??

6. President Obama laments the inaction of Congress on immigration and signals his sympathy for illegals and waves women and children besiege the US southern border overwhelming resources and personnel. It is the largest mass migration of unescorted children across international borders since the Europe’s “Children’s Crusade” to free the Christian Holy Land in the year 1212 AD. Latinos sending their children on a 1200 mile trip alone, through dangerous territory, on the top of freight trains?? No one saw them as they debarked? No one saw them coming toward the U.S. border?? Nonsense…this was a clear case of Scripting.

7. Global warming did not seem to find traction so now the liberal mantra is switched to “climate change.” No explanation for the change is offered.

8. A homosexual football player awaiting his selection to an NFL team announced his gay orientation to the fanfare of national press coverage. After a tearful acknowledgement that he had been drafted in the last round of the NFL draft he kissed his boyfriend in the mouth on national TV and it was replayed over and over ad nauseum by liberal media groups. Weeks later he had a book deal with Oprah and an exclusive interview on her show. A few months later the gay player was released by the Dallas Cowboys, the last team to give him a shot. For whatever reasons, he is no longer in the NFL. There was very little media coverage of his being cut from the squad in Dallas. Scripting gone sour??

9. The media encourages American children to play soccer. Soon a ho-hum American soccer team drafts one of the world’s premier players to bolster sagging attendance at games. US sports media have a field day covering the occasion and the player receives immediate commercial endorsement contracts. The player, Mr. David Beckham leaves at the end of his contract not to return. Americans consistently reject soccer as a mainstream major sport to the dismay of the scripting machine!!

10. A horrific shooting takes place and the script calls for the media to attack the 2nd amendment and gun ownership in America. A solemn President Obama appears on TV to call for much stricter gun control. No mention of the mental condition of the perpetrator is made. The people who have done most of the mass killings in America are proven to be mentally imbalanced. The Script calls for silence if confronted with that sort of evidence. It calls for silence on the murder and mayhem in the streets of President Obama’s hometown, Chicago. In 2011 the city recorded nearly 500 murders annually by criminals with guns acquired by extra-legal means. Scripting perhaps??

11. Common Core was considered the “Holy Grail” of the liberal educational agenda. It has been revealed to be a “Common Crime” against the children on America. The script called for complete adherence to the dictates of the program. The American people are rejecting the plan completely in state after state. Script gone sour??

12. The script calls for the rejection of organized religion and in particular Christianity. Religious organizations have taken to the courts to protect their First Amendment rights and they are prevailing in most cases. Script reversal??

13. The script calls for the Holder Justice department to selectively enforce the laws of the nation.  Suits filed against the U.S. Justice Department are piling up and aimed at forcing that agency to enforce the laws of the land.

14. Using the IRS to blunt the efforts of conservative groups to legally organize was another key element of the script. That plan has been exposed and discredited. Civil and criminal suites have been filed against the IRS and key administrators therein. Script gone awry??

15. Americans want jobs. The script call for a welfare state. President Obama extends unemployment benefits as long as he can to stave off an inevitable crisis resulting from the lack of jobs. Script out of control??

The fundamental change that president Obama promised the nation and by extension, black men, in 2008 is a far cry from the transformation that black men had expected. And besides, the details of the planned transformation were never fully explained. As a result, different demographics had different notions of how the transformation would occur and how they would be affected. African American men naively thought that change meant a new day in employment opportunities, safe communities, health care, education, business opportunities and access to the Oval Office to present the case for black America’s inclusion in the impending prosperity of the nation. Instead they got smoke and mirrors and chastening, condescending lectures on what they needed to do to measure up to the expectations of their nation’s president. The script prepared for black men did not call for their economic advancement or the alleviation of their array of continuing problems. These men were simply written out of the “Hope and Change” agenda, restrained at a safe distance from real political power and given a numbing dose of “benign neglect.” There was to be no happy ending in the script prepared for brothers. Instead they were publicly scolded whenever the opportunity presented itself and made to feel that they themselves were the source of all of their problems…that they would continue to languish in poverty, crime and unemployment unless they accepted the script. Black men seem to have rejected that offer and now they are beginning to reject their critic: the President of the United States. The separation appears to be overdue and perhaps even…permanent.



Humanistic Inclusion

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Diversity, Fatherhood, Women's Interests with tags , , , on February 25, 2014 by Gary Johnson


Humanistic Inclusion is a social science technology developed by Dr. Jerry “Doc” Semper that promotes “Man,” always be appropriately kind to all persons as much as circumstances permit.  Humans should welcome with sincere appreciation all others of the human species, unless circumstances require otherwise. Our default towards others should be to Trust, and have appropriate Manners, as our way of being.

Improving Family Interactions

Speak kind loving words, as much as possible. Be about promoting harmony with family members as often as possible. Hugs, and kisses are needed; even the “mob”, does it. Many citizens of other countries and religions conduct their everyday lives, by including hugs, and kisses; as signs of affection and caring.

Everything is not for everyone, including Dr. Spock. Some of the things espoused are not appropriate to several groups of young people. The method used by Spock is more effective with groups that view the world and events as Spock did. As parents values and conditions “line up”, with those as explained by Spock, then the methodology becomes far more achievable.   Not being in line with Spock creates implementation problems, using his approach. There is no one size fits all in child rearing, the best methods stem from caring, and doing the right thing, because it is the right thing.

Prying parents have a better chance of controlling, by asking questions, interest is shown, and an opportunity to influence is created. Properly executed an information-sharing bond will be created.   Having information in common may bring about closeness in family, through communication.

Learning to “out think” your children, by “coaching” them towards the directions you as a parent have chosen for them, is the best method for moving young people, positively. It is better to rule with “sincerity, and “cunning” rather then relying on fear and brute force; the later, requiring proximity, and communication; the former, effective whether near or far.


Teach life skills; those things necessary for a better life. Teach children how to determine “better”, as a gauge towards assessing present position. Teach that in order to get there, it is necessary to know the starting point.   Teach that style is just one aspect of our daily interactions, with both people known, and strangers Teach children to look for “sincerity of purpose”, especially when dealing with “authority figures”.   Teach that disagreeing with the “coach” may be appropriate, providing the understanding that the “coach” is.

A “ranking order” is necessary, and it should be known. Oftentimes, it isn’t discussed, except in anger. Temporary shifting of command is fine, however it must be understood, the structure remains ” intact, ” a seeming promotion that is temporary, based on current conditions.   Allowing a leadership role, for small tasks, creates a teachable moment, use it.   One way to learn, is to watch carefully   A better way is to be able, to watch, participate, and ask questions.

We should spend time teaching children, especially our own. When teaching children it is important to remember, who you were, at that age.  Those thoughts will provide a starting point for decisions; by giving a basis for actions.

Doc2 About Doc Semper

Jerry “Doc” Semper is an internationally known “Leadership Life Skills” training consultant and seminar leader for organizations and individuals seeking to improve in both productivity and harmony. He uses effective, practical principles developed from academic training, combined with hands-on involvement as a team member with police, military, and Fortune 500 corporations. A provider of specific programs for Youth and Families, for several national organizations; a Police Department trainer for well over 100 organizations; a trainer for Educators, and Government employees of several agencies; and a sought-after Corporate trainer for Fortune 200 companies. His programs receive widespread recognition for substance, and immediate results.

“Doc” is President of Semper Associates Coaching Academy.  He is a Vietnam era veteran, a Criminal Justice Professor, a former Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney, Minority Affairs Specialist for AARP, co-author of the National Community Oriented Police Curriculum, and a former decorated New York City Police Officer.

A former Senior Consultant for Skillpath Seminars. “Doc” infuses learning with motivation that causes participants to become pro-active. He is an excellent facilitator and trainer in all areas of human development.

“Doc” holds a Juris Doctorate from Howard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Fordham University.

Question Bridge Explores Experience of Black Males in America

Posted in African Americans, Black Links, Black Men, Black Men In America, Fatherhood with tags , , , on December 30, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Question Bridge Black Males

Question Bridge: Black Males is a collaborative, transmedia project that complicates traditional views of identity by exploring the full spectrum of what it means to be “black” and “male” in America.  In video-mediated exchanges, 150 black men of different social, economic, political, and generational backgrounds from across America respond to questions posed by one another about issues that unite, divide, and puzzle them.  Framed as an internal conversation within a group too often defined externally, Question Bridge uses candid discussion to expose the diversity of thought and identity among black males, challenging monochromatic views of “blackness.”  The wide-ranging conversation touches on family, love, masculinity, discrimination, community, education, violence, and the past and future of black men in society.

The public is invited to engage with the Question Bridge: Black Males project in a variety of ways.  In addition to the five-channel video installation in the main gallery, the project includes an installation at the Corcoran’s Community Gallery at THEARC in Southeast D.C., a website, custom tablet application, educational curriculum, and roundtable conversations with members of the local community.

The exhibition ends on February 16, 2014.

Click here for additional information on workshops and roundtable discussions.

Click here to watch a short video feature.

Established in 1869, the Corcoran Gallery of Art was one of America’s first museums of art—dedicated, in the words of
founder William Wilson Corcoran, to “encouraging American genius.” Today it is Washington, D.C.’s largest non federal art museum, known internationally for its distinguished collection of historical and modern American art as well as contemporary art, photography, European painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts. A dynamic schedule of special exhibitions complements arrange of educational programming, which together enrich the perspectives of the visiting public, support the local arts community, and encourage thoughtful interpretation of today’s most compelling social issues. The Corcoran College of Art + Design was founded as a school of art in 1890 and stands as Washington’s only four-year accredited college of art and design. The college is one of the few in the nation whose educational model includes an integral relationship with a museum, fostering the talent of the next generation of artists. For more information about the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design, visit

Oxygen Unsure About Future of Shawty Lo Reality Show

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Fatherhood, Music with tags , , , , on January 9, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Is the network bowing to outrage surrounding All My Babies’ Mamas?

By Natelege Whaley, BET

Shawty Lo 3

Will the Oxygen network bow to pressure and cancel Shawty Lo’s All My Babies’ Mamas or will the show about the rapper’s 11 children with 10 different women make it to air?

Oxygen Media says the show that’s described as a one-hour special “revealing the complicated lives of one man, his children’s mamas and their army of children” isn’t guaranteed to air and that the video circulating was stripped from the website’s “pitch reel.

There has been opposition from conservative group Parents Television Council, which calls the show “grotesquely irresponsible and exploitive.” Writer Sabrina Lamb started a petition on that has over 20,000 signatures.

Jason Klarman, president of Oxygen Media, declined to comment on the show Monday when the programming chief of the network previewed new shows to television writers.

Oxygen has denied any problem with the show’s premise. It “is not meant to be a stereotypical representation of everyday life for any one demographic or cross section of society. It is a look at one unique family and their complicated, intertwined life. Oxygen Media’s diverse team of creative executives will continue developing the show with this point of view,” the company said in a press release last week.

IF the show airs in the spring as planned, the PTC plans to stage a boycott.

(Photo: Chris McKay/Getty Images)

Stop The Madness: We Don’t Need This Reality Show

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Fatherhood, Relationship Advice, Women's Interests with tags , , , , on December 28, 2012 by Gary Johnson

December 28, 2012

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In

Shawty Lo

We debated whether or not we should even publish this post about the Oxygen TV network reality show “All My Babies Mamas.”  We finally decided that we had to get the word out and let people decide for themselves.  As the Publisher of this online enterprise, I see no redeeming value in this show.  I see it being full of ignorance and exploitation.

For those who haven’t heard, the Oxygen television network is working on a new one-hour special, “All My Babies’ Mamas.”  The series, created by Liz Gateley and Tony DiSanto, will show the complicated lives (headaches and drama) of rapper Atlanta rapper Carlos “Shawty Lo” Walker, the ten mothers of his children and their 11 kids.  Did I mention that Shawty Lo has a new girlfriend who is the same age as his oldest daughter?

Talk about a family affair.

“Oxygen will give fans an intimate look at unconventional families with larger than life personalities and real emotional stakes,” says Cori Abraham, Senior Vice President of Development, Oxygen Media. “’All My Babies’ Mamas’ will be filled with outrageous and authentic over-the-top moments that our young, diverse female audience can tweet and gossip about.”

That description alone makes me think that this show is going to be a “WTF circus.”  It’s hard to believe that anything good can come from this.  “When you know better, you do better.”  Is that old saying still true?

Oxygen is not releasing a lot of information about the show so it’s hard to be objective in our criticism of the show.  However, based on what we saw in the trailer we don’t think we’re off base describing the show as dysfunctional and ignorant.  By the way, that official trailer is hard to find.  Hmmmmm.  A search of the Oxygen network site reflects that all references to the show have been removed.  The show does not come up on the search page on their web site.

If you find a link to the trailer and watch it we would love to know about your reaction.

Shawty Low

My concern is for the children.  Honestly, I really am concerned for the actual welfare and emotional stability of the children being raised in this environment by parents who appear “not to know what they don’t know.”  If you really stretch your thinking, and I mean stretch your thinking, the only potential good thing from a show like this is that Shawty Lo may earn enough money to pay his child support and provide any counseling these kids may need to grow up as an emotionally stable and productive citizen.

My good friend social activist and best-selling author Sabrina Lamb has organized a petition to boycott this show and make sure it never hits the airwaves.  You can review and sign the petition by clicking here.

Will you watch the show?  Will you sign the petition?  Do you have any problems with a show like this?

Tell us what you think.

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.” 

Calling All Fathers: Sober, Responsible & Spiritually Guided – You Are Needed!!

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Fatherhood, Sports News with tags , , , , on November 15, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By David Miller

The deviance at Penn State should be another glaring example that we no longer live in a child-friendly society. Anytime there are people more concerned about a football coach than the hearts and minds of children, it sends a clear message about the state of our society.

Now more than ever, we need fathers to make their children a priority! Children with disengaged parents are far more likely to become victims of abuse.

The issue at Penn State should be a wake-up call to all parents. It is time that we realize that we are 100% responsible for education and salvation of our children. All too often, we want to send our sons to programs when as parents we must do more. For the last few days, my emotions have ranged from angry to empty. These kinds of things are happening to our sons on our watch.

Formula for building your own “Village” to protect your son:

1. Be flexible but firm.

2. Realize that raising a healthy child is possible regardless of your situation.

3. Create rituals in your house that promote success.

4. Make sure your home is your child’s first classroom (Turn the damn television off!).

5. Make sure your children have access to plenty of books as literacy is critically important! Be sure to have your son read books written by black and brown people to help your son understand his history and culture.

6. Carefully surround your children around sober, responsible father figures (if their father is not engaged in ther life).

7. Special Note to Single Moms: Don’t be so desperate to find men to connect with your son that you miss obvious warning signs!

8. Connect with other responsible adults and parents to help you with the journey of parenting and raising successful and productive boys.

9. Always be careful who you leave your children with.– This includes family!

10. Wake up! No one is coming to save us. You have to secure and protect your own family!

David Miller is Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Urban Leadership Institute, a social enterprise based in Baltimore.

Miller is also the Co-Founder of the Raising Him Alone Campaign, an effort to support single mothers who are raising male children.

The Bridge: Devaluing Men

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Fatherhood, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags , on June 20, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

Close to 40% of Americans grow up without a father.

This explains why so many people are bitter, angry and sometimes even hostile towards men. It explains it, with the caveat of complete blame for men, which is becoming an American pastime.

Who knows how many of those fathers have been pushed out of the children’s lives? I ask this because at some point, folks need to seek resolution instead of holding on to pain and anger, which only helps to continue the cycle.

But Americans do hold on to pain and anger and African Americans more so than anyone else—particularly when it comes to daddy issues.

The pain and anger from not having a father, or from having to raise children without the help of a father festers and morphs into deep resentment for the absent father, and for many, resentment of men in general.

That resentment has become devaluation. Psychology 101 reveals that a basic human response to being unable to have something is to begin to reject the desire to have it. This is why we hear so many women state proudly that they neither need nor want a man in their lives. They are in pain and they are angry because they did not have it, and they attempt to convince themselves that they no longer want it.

In dating and relationships, it has become man repellent.

In the homes, it has manifested as something more destructive.

Devaluing men has resulted in throngs of adult males who are anything but men, having been raised by women who placed no value on men—including the ones they were raising. This only adds to the number of fathers who have no idea how to stand up and be men or fathers.

Some women have become so comfortable devaluing men that many now celebrate Father’s Day by claiming that they are holding both the male and female role in parenting. The subtext is screaming that men are so unnecessary that women can fill in their role and nothing will be missing.

The problem is that a great deal will still be missing. For example, a woman cannot provide a child with male modeling, something crucial to the development of a child’s social coping skills.

Without male modeling, boys will be unable to interact with men and so will struggle to fully develop as men. Girls will be unable to understand interactions with men and so will struggle in relationships, dating and subsequent motherhood. Both will grow up believing that men are unnecessary.

How is a boy or young man supposed to become a fully functioning member of society if he has no idea how to interact with other men and worse, if he believes that his very existence is unnecessary?

Many women find themselves in the untenable situation of raising children alone. And while some of them may do the very best they can as single mothers, they cannot function as fathers.

Previous generations understood this and sought to fill the father’s role with older brothers, uncles, grandparents, coaches and other community members.

Many of today’s single mothers have convinced themselves that they can step in and fill the role of the father themselves.

It’s creating a cycle, since these women who grew up without fathers themselves need to be validated because they won’t get therapy. Their abject need for validation ruins their own children who won’t be able to become men or hold men. What man would stay with a woman who is constantly competing with him, challenging him and devaluing him?

When we speak of modeling, much of what a father teaches a child comes from the child’s observation.

For example, everything I do, my son wants to do. He watches the way I talk, dress, chew, sit, stand and pee, and tries to duplicate it all. I watched my Father and now, I’m watching my son watch me. He doesn’t watch his mother with the same intensity and he is watching me instinctively. He also understands, instinctively, that Daddy will protect him. This is the baseline and will be valuable, in addition to the discussions that we have now and will continue to have over the years.

The ignorant women who claim to be both mother and father need to think about this when they wish each other Happy Father’s Day, devaluing men. They should ask themselves: “What are you modeling for your son without a man? What kind of man will he be if he grows up celebrating you in a male role as a father? What kind of man will your daughter select if she grows up believing men have no value?”

And we have to ask ourselves as a people, why do we establish and support such wretched behavior? While others may do the same ignorant things, we have gone to great lengths with it. So much so that corporations are marketing products that pander to our own pain, anger, confusion and abject ignorance.

Hallmark’s Mahogany line of greeting cards now makes a card for mothers who want to celebrate each other on Father’s Day. There is no “Happy Father’s Day” card for females in any other race.

Something is very dangerous about that.

It crosses a line that hasn’t been crossed before. Father’s Day was created by the child of a man who had become a widower and raised his six children alone. Mother’s Day was already a holiday and instead of celebrating him on that day with “Happy Mother’s Day”, his daughter wanted him to have his own day. When women find themselves raising children alone, why do they feel the need to have both Mother’s Day AND Father’s Day?

We know that there are some men who dodge their responsibility as fathers. And that has to be addressed. That has to be improved.

There are men who are stepping in as mentors. There are also organizations emerging to address the issue, including the National Fatherhood Initiative and Real Dads Network.

It is understood that there are reasons on both sides of the gender divide that find mothers raising children alone.

Some of them are on the male side, with shiftless men who refuse to own up to their responsibility and do everything in their power to avoid fatherhood.

Some of those reasons are on the female side, with vindictive women who do everything they can to force the men out of their children’s lives, since they want the men out of their own lives.

But whatever the case, we cannot pretend that a female can fill the role of father.

We are now in the third generation/cycle of American male devaluation and even some of these frail, spineless males are afraid to confront the beast. But if we don’t shout: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, then tomorrow’s children will be going straight to hell in a hand basket.

There’s enough negativity surrounding fatherhood—particularly Black Fatherhood—that more needs to be spoken either in positive or at least for pragmatic purposes.

The work of assuring that more fathers are in the lives of children is the work of us all.

And, the most important part of that work is beginning to value men.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running all Summer. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at

Obama Talks About Being A Father

Posted in Barack Obama, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Black Men In America, Fatherhood with tags , on June 19, 2011 by Gary Johnson

President Barack Obama says kids need quality time, structure and unconditional love from their parents, calling being a dad sometimes his hardest job, but also the most rewarding.   You can learn more at

A Day of Amnesty for Dads

Posted in African Americans, Black Men, Black Men In America, Fatherhood with tags , , on June 4, 2011 by Gary Johnson

Rebuilding Families One Father at a Time

NATIONAL – On Father’s Day, June 19, David Miller (The Urban Leadership Institute & Raising Him Alone – Baltimore) and Kenneth Braswell (Fathers Incorporated & Year of Responsible Men – New York) are asking men who are estranged from their children to summon the courage to take steps to reconnect with their children. By using social media and leveraging partnerships with community based organizations, this groundbreaking initiative seeks to mobilize 100,000 fathers to do one of the following:

1.   Pick up the phone and make contact with your son or daughter

2.   Write a letter to your son or daughter as an icebreaker

3.   Contact your child’s mother or guardian to arrange a visit

4.   Sign up for President Barack Obama’s Fatherhood Initiative via

Additionally, the initiative is calling on mothers and grandmothers to be supportive of dads who are willing to initiate contact with their children.  “We believe helping mothers and grandmothers understand the power of forgiveness can be the first step toward healing families.”

Through a host of national partners, A Day of Amnesty for Dads aims to reconnect fathers with their families.

David Miller, Co-Founder of the Urban Leadership Institute, a Baltimore-based advocacy group that works nationally to support fathers and families through programmatic innovation and to develop strategies to work with fathers in some of the country’s toughest communities across the country states, “The issue of absent fathers has become a matter of public health. We can all identify fatherless youth in our community who struggle to cope with the realities of life.”

Studies show 72% of African-American children are born to unwed mothers, numbers that paint a grim forecast for many children growing up in communities already ravaged by crime, drugs and apathy.

Kenneth Braswell, Author and Executive Director of Father’s Incorporated, added: “It will be impossible to reduce crime and improve communities unless responsible fatherhood becomes a focus in those communities.

Are We Bold Enough To Protect Our Children?

Posted in Black Interests, Fatherhood, Women's Interests with tags , on February 16, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By David Miller

In the past few months, bullying or the victimization of some of our youngest citizens, has dominated national headlines.  You can hardly pick up a newspaper or turn on the evening news without hearing about a bullying incident. Interpersonal violence perpetrated by school-age children and youth has led to a rash of suicides, homicides and non-fatal injuries. The phenomenon of bullying supersedes race, class, and religion and has become a pervasive issue in the lives of children, families, teachers, and school administrators. For many children and their parents, bullying is a nightmare — one that forces many families to seek legal action, relocate to a new school district, or move to another state in extreme cases. In many situations, parents exhaust all avenues to protect their children; however, there is a great need for schools to become more accountable for the bullying that occurs in their hallways and classrooms.

Just last month 13-year-old Nadin Khoury was hung from a fence in Upper Darby, a Philadelphia suburb, after being savagely beaten and kicked. Khoury, a young man from Liberia, was thrust among the ranks of thousands of children who are bullied and assaulted daily in public and private schools across the United States. In all, seven boys ranging in ages 13 – 17 were arrested and charged with kidnapping and a host of other offenses as a result of the incident. To add insult to injury, the boys videotaped their heinous exploits.

While the incident didn’t happen on school grounds, it is essential that schools play a larger role in creating safe environments in and outside their buildings. Many would argue over the issue of whether a school can be held liable for incidents involving children that don’t occur on school grounds. While this is certainly debatable, the reality is parents expect a much higher degree of safety for their children.

Bullying and the senseless loss of precious life has become a national epidemic. Many kids who are bullied eventually stand up for themselves, fight back, and the bullying stops. Some bullied kids involve their parents and school officials to get the problem resolved. Sadly, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, an impressionable 11-year-old student at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Mass, hung himself in 2009 after enduring repeated bullying at school. Despite his mother’s gallant efforts to intervene, young Carl was verbally abused on a daily basis. He was subjected to sexual slurs, taunted and called derogatory names. Seeing no relief in sight, Carl tragically took his own life.

Whether you are a young child who’s now attending a public or private school in the United States, or whether you are an adult who finished school years ago, can you even begin to imagine what life was like for Carl? And can you imagine how Nadin must feel now that his savage beating has thrust him into the center of a national crisis in this country?

Conservative estimates and self-reporting data from youth suggest that nearly two out of three bully victims, or 66 percent, were bullied once or twice during the school year, while one in five, or 20 percent, were bullied once or twice a month. Likewise, that same data suggests that one in 10 were bullied daily or at least several times a week. That is unconscionable in a society that prides itself on Democracy and whose Declaration of Independence states, in part, “…All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The above-mentioned estimates underscore the critical need for greater partnerships among schools, parents, law enforcement and mental health professionals to address the emotional and physical impact of interpersonal violence.

So I go back to Carl and Nadin. What could the schools and the larger community have done to ensure those two young men were safe in and out of school?

That question lies at the heart of any meaningful discussion about addressing school bullying. The nation has held endless Congressional hearings and policy briefings on bullying, but I maintain that is hardly enough. A new conversation that places children’s safety at the forefront must emerge. It must emerge now!

The incidents involving Nadin and Carl should awaken the consciousness of our nation and prompt us to begin raising critical concerns about schools, communities, and the safety of our children. It is amazing to me that in 2011 a large percentage of our children are often victimized in and around the one place – outside of their homes – that should be their oasis. While many schools are doing exemplary work to address bullying and the problems it spawns, and while some of those same schools are also addressing anti-social behaviors, the sad reality is many schools are failing to provide adequate protection for our children.

Finally, at the end of the day, parents must continue to be their children’s first line of defense. Greater communication between parents and children is needed to attack the vicious problem of bullying. We also need a better system to monitor the daily challenges our children face in school. There’s no doubt the statistics I cited earlier in this commentary are alarming; however, the unfortunate truth is many more bullying incidents go unreported because children are too ashamed or afraid to disclose them. They don’t report these egregious incidents because, in some cases, they don’t have sober, responsible adults in their lives in whom they can confide in and who  will know how to immediately step in to help rectify the problem. This speaks volumes about the need for adults to “step up” and become better parents and better advocates for children.

If we don’t wrap our arms around this problem and truly begin to address bullying today, then the vulnerable children we are failing to protect now will be vulnerable adults within the next 20 years..It’s time to wake up, America. Bullying has gotten out of control. The time for action – whether you’re a parent or not – is now.

David Miller is Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Urban Leadership Institute, a social enterprise based in Baltimore.

Miller is also the Co-Founder of the Raising Him Alone Campaign, an effort to support single mothers who are raising male children.

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