Longing for Fathers


by Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson

A New Visions Commentary paper published June 1999 by The National Center
for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Ct., N.E., Washington, DC 20002, 202/543-4110, Fax 202-543-5975, E-Mail [email protected], Web
http://www.nationalcenter.org. Reprints permitted provided source
is credited.


I once spoke to approximately 57 young men at a youth detention center in Prattville, Alabama. The topic of discussion centered on fathers.

Hardly any of these youngsters had a relationship with their own fathers. Some spoke of stepfathers. For most, their entire life experience had been spent under the influence of women, and this had totally consumed their spirit, mind and body. These young men were highly emotional, intensely angry, and very reactive. They had no respect for manhood.

The young men spoke of their fathers with strong contempt. They said, "men are no good, and they are weak." They said there was nothing that a man could teach them that a woman could not also teach. Some commented that, when they look at their surroundings, they could see only weak men like drug addicts, unemployed men and men not in charge of the homes.

One of the younger boys said his father had left him, married a woman with other children and had nothing further to do with him. There was no contact or relationship with his father at all. He was very hurt by this. Eventually, most of the boys admitted their desire and need for a good father. As we all do, they had a deep longing for fathers. These young men had no idea what it takes to be a man.

When I look back and see what has happened to the black family and community as a whole because of the absence of good fathers, I shudder to think of the destruction to come. I believe that, if this issue is not dealt with honestly, we will someday have disorder that will be beyond our capability to control.

When I spoke to those young men in the detention center, I could see they did not need affirmative action, welfare or government programs. They need the attention of a father. It was heartwarming to observe some of the boys in this group share the need they felt for having a close father figure.

I also had the opportunity of speaking at an affirmative action hearing held at the State Capitol building in Michigan. Michigan, like California, was considering righting a wrong by abolishing affirmative action. The audience was made up of blacks, homosexuals and liberal white women. Most of these people, I think, hate America.

Speaker after speaker went to the rostrum to beg and lie about the tremendous need for affirmative action. The white feminists, who were only interested in pushing their own agenda, implied that black people are somehow unable to take care of themselves without the special assistance of government programs. That certainly conveys to me they don't think very highly of blacks. It is even sadder that there were black representatives who agreed with them. These black liberals are selfish deceivers, whose first priorities are themselves and not the black race.

I advised getting rid of affirmative action because it causes dissension and hatred between races. Also, the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action have been liberal white females. I don't think affirmative action was never intended to help the black masses. Blacks are being used. The problem is not lack of opportunity, white people or racism. The problem stems from a lack of strong families with parents who hold sound, godly principles.

Black men need to overcome anger so they can take back control of their lives from enemies who parade as friends. They must become heads of families again, and begin to appreciate being productive citizens. Then, and only then, will we begin to see a change in the black family. This change will extend to the community and to the nation at large.

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(Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson is the founder and president of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, which is dedicated to rebuilding the family through rebuilding the man. He can be reached at [email protected].)

Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.


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