Saturday, October 21, 2017
Looking for Daddy
By Darryl James (Columnist)
Published May 8, 2008

In America, far too many people have “Daddy” issues. There are myriad reasons, even though some people have no idea what their own are.

Some of the nation’s men grow up without knowing how to be men themselves. They need strong models while in their formative years. Without those strong models, issues will arise whenever it is time to man up.

Even into adulthood, many of America’s men hold onto blaming the absentee father, or the father who didn’t do the things they “should” have done.

And, some of the nation’s women grow up without knowing how to interact with men. Humans tend to form their ideas and interactions with the opposite sex based on the first opposite sex relationship, which is the parent of the opposite sex.

Even into adulthood, many of America’s women hold onto blaming the absentee father, or the father who didn’t do the things they “should” have done.

For some adults, the absence of Daddy leaves them with open wounds that they may not know how to heal. Therapy or at least the forgiveness of Daddy would do wonders, but sadly, this nation has created an environment of blame, such that many people manufacture issues with Daddy, even if there is no real basis.

In such an environment of blame, many Americans avoid looking to any source that may have either removed Daddy, or contributed to Daddy’s failure to properly parent children.

But any of us with working brains realize that there are other elements, including the government and some single mothers who contribute to Daddy issues.

We know the all too familiar stories of single mothers who have “adult” conversations with their children about the absentee father, leading to otherwise avoidable resentment and larger Daddy issues.

But we all know that many people have real bases for having Daddy issues.

We know that far too many fathers are absent from the lives of their children.

We also know that many of the fathers who are present are inappropriate.

And, we know that the community father is largely missing in action.

We’ve all witnessed a young boy gone bad, shaking our heads, wondering where the child’s father could be and whether the father’s absence could be the cause of the child’s difficulties. But we should give that same focus to the difficulties experienced by young Black girls as well.

Our community father is missing in action.


For many young Black boys in previous generations who were growing up without fathers, there were Black fathers in the neighborhoods who were unafraid to tell them what they needed to be doing and standing up to them when they were acting like damned fools. They, along with teachers and coaches, could discipline children without fear of reprisal from a permissive society gone mad.

Our community father was not only in the community and in the schools, but his presence was felt in many fatherless homes.

There were community fathers represented in the politicians, activists, religious icons and average working men who stood as shining examples for all to see and embrace.

If we say that our fathers are not in the homes, then where is our community father today?

Bill Cosby is not our community father. He was once America’s favorite father and sent the “lower economic people” the message that he didn’t like them very much. Like a deadbeat absentee father, he was not present when the child was growing and struggling, yet he stepped in after the fact to criticize the grown son, while still failing to offer any real assistance to balance the criticizing.

Jesse Jackson is not our community father. A bastard of the Civil Rights Movement, Jackson has no idea what he is supposed to be, and the end result is foolishness and obsolescence.

Neither athlete nor entertainer are community fathers. Magic Johnson has recently been putting in good effort, but he is no Mohammed Ali and Russell Simmons looks silly acting like a community activist after harming and/or ignoring the community for decades.

For some silly Negroes, the White man is the community father.

The mannerisms, speech and elitist thought patterns of racist Whites govern these Negroes who may as well call George Bush, Jerry Falwell or the Pope “Daddy.” Adopting the thinking of the most racist White man who pretends not to be racist, these deluded Negroes believe they are progressive simply because they are divergent from the masses of Blacks who either recall or still feel a heavy racist boot on their asses. Black sons and daughters of the White community father see no racism and believe that those who call racism out are “whining” and employing excuses for weakness, even though the children of the White community father often move ahead on the backs of generations of “whiners.”

Because the Black community father is missing, many of us overcompensate, undercompensate, decompensate or simply fail to grow.

We can see the results of the missing community father when we see today’s younger generation enamored with an over-glamorized pimp/thug lifestyle they have never lead.

We see the results when we see women who have had only poor relationships with men, sit in circles with each other to define what a “good” man should be.

And we see those results when we see grown men avoid being too manly, afraid to toe the line because too many people will chastise a man for being a man.


The absentee community father is so elusive that many of us—men and women—have no idea what a man is supposed to be. So we act foolish and accept foolishness, often aligning ourselves with men who are nearly women—not homosexuals, but virtual asexuals—effeminate and retiring, looking for direction and needing to be controlled. These are the men who date strong women and allow themselves to be dominated and controlled, leading to bizarre relationships that can neither be duplicated nor sustained.

White society is also suffering from an abundance of fatherless homes. The difference is that they can still look around and see their community father in the White House, in the boardroom and appearing to be orchestrating all things important in society.

The Black community father is hard to find and many of us pretend that he is even harder to find than he is.

These things having been said, there are still Black fathers in our midst. In addition, there are fathering men among us who are clear about what is best for the women and children in our lives, even if they are not our wives and offspring.

My brothers and my closest friends are community fathers, going out of their way to be good examples of the best of our previous generation no matter what the cost.

Denzel Washington, Chuck D and now, Will Smith are community fathers in entertainment, standing strong and true to beautiful images of Black male strength, no matter what the cost.

Cornell West, Naim Akbar and Michael Eric Dyson are community fathers of intellect, standing strong and true to the beauty of the Black psyche, no matter what the cost.

Barack Obama is one of our shining community fathers in politics.

The millions of Black men who raise children who are not biologically theirs are community fathers, extending the African village by miles.

Brothers, if we expect our manchildren to grow into productive, strong men, we have to show them what that looks like and how to grow into an example we can live out for them.

If we expect our female children of the community to grow unbound beyond the lack of influence from the community father, we have to provide that same example as fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins and community members.

It may not always feel good to be the example, but we have to exist. And it may not always feel good when community fathering is shown to us, but we have to accept it

Part of each man’s contribution to community fatherhood is to praise manly behavior and deride bad behavior—even when it appears in our own lives.

Many of us are looking for Daddy.

Some of us search for all our lives.

Really, Daddy isn’t that hard to find.

Darryl James n is an award-winning author who is now a filmmaker. He released his first mini-movie, “Crack,” and this year, will release his first full-length documentary. James appears in the film “What Black Men Think,” an in-depth view of misrepresentations, myths and stereotypes about Black men. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at

Categories: Opinion

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