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High School basketball star Tony Farmer stole his way into his ex-girlfriend's apartment building where he beat and kicked the crap out of her. He took her belongings, berated her and attempted to drag her out of her building by her hair to do her further harm.
This was the beginning of the end of a promising basketball career.
This was also the center of yet another saga of a young Black man who was raised without the influence of men.
Were there men in his life? Possibly. But there was no central figure standing as father. And without that, Tony Farmer grew into a beast of a male, who, while still a teenager, held a festering rage within him that could have exploded at anyone it was aimed at.
Unfortunately, it was aimed at his ex-girlfriend.
This situation--both sides--makes it clear why Black Men must respond to the war on manhood that the nation initiated and that Black Women joined when they colluded with the system to remove the Black Man from the family and the community.
In some less destructive manner, this has always been around in white communities and others, but it is running rampant in our community because too many children are being raised not only without a father, but without the influence of men.
My point is not to blame that little girl, or even to castigate that animalistic BOY who beasted on her, but to blame our entire community of adults for not understanding the consequences of allowing women to raise children without the influence of men.
Leaving women to raise kids alone is the worst thing we could ever do and as a community, we should be fighting the system and yes, fighting against the women who seek to keep men out of the lives of kids. We should also kick the crap out of males who walk away without even trying to fight. White men are doing it and the system is changing. But we celebrate single mothers like being a mother on your own is some damned badge of honor.
It is not.
For every woman claiming that she can do it all alone, this is what that looks like. Tony Farmer is your "good little boy."
The fact that people were pleading for Farmer--not based on any obfuscated facts of the case, or even on what remorse he may have had, but based on his potential basketball career--shows a growing depravity.
The young girl/victim allegedly had a father in the home, but apparently not much of one. She apparently broke up with Farmer because he had been abusive before. If she had a decent father, Farmer would have been in front of the judge for hitting her the first time-if not six feet under. And, she most definitely wouldn't be pleading for leniency (along with her family), because she would understand the gravity of a man placing his hands on a defenseless woman who didn't attack him.
While there have been comparisons galore, this is not the same as the Rhianna/Chris Brown case, except that two twisted children without the influence of men got caught up in a hot mess that changes and even ruins lives. They were both violent-he was just stronger.
Farmer is an out of control boy beast with no man in his life who could control him or teach him self-control.
While the Black community in his native Cleveland rallied to save Farmer, they FAILED to rally to his cause BEFORE he beat that girl. Instead of praising and lifting him up after he became a criminal, that same community of "saviors" should have been placing men in his life who could have influenced him, so that when his girlfriend broke up with him, he would have taken the man route and simply walked out of her life.
Instead, he walked into her apartment building and committed several crimes for which he will pay dearly.
"F" him and his basketball career.
People can feel sorry for Farmer because his life has been diminished, but none of those who feel sorry even understand how much he was already diminished.
Eventually, he would have fallen anyway, growing up without the influence of man.
Farmer's mother, Michele Farmer, said that her son was in love and had simply "made a bad decision."
Yes, it was a bad decision, but so was the decision to raise him without the influence of man.
One day, we will pay attention to the studies showing how crucial a man's influence is to a child's development. Then, we will stop playing games, stop praising mediocrity and BS and we will garner men on every level of society to SHOW UP.
We don't need another hero or martyr. We don't need any movement that doesn't involve Black men showing up and being present and consistent without obstruction.
I could quote any number of studies demonstrating the value of the influence of man.
Instead, I will quote the late Tupac Shakur, a broken man who realized that he would have been less broken with the influence of man: "I know for a fact that had I had a father, I'd have some discipline. I'd have more confidence. Your mother cannot calm you down the way a man can. Your mother can't reassure you the way a man can. My mother couldn't show me where my manhood was. You need a man to teach you how to be a man."
Our community needs the influence of man.
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 in 2011 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at