Monday, July 14, 2008
The fathers are gone. Some are in prison. Some are on the corner. Even those who have never gone to prison have been profoundly effected by the many who have. Most are non-violent offenders. It's quick money, and quick is all they care about. They see no reason to hope for better. They see no reason to save for the future, or to begin the slow, grueling process of change. They wish it wasn't this way, and they want better for their children. But their children will never do better without their help. They can't help because they're not there. So many have gone to prison, so many hustle, so many have been lured away from their families that separation and distance have become second nature. The reality of absentee fatherhood has seeped into the subconscious of the community. They have accepted it. They have integrated it into their worldview. But the children will never accept it. They will never get used to not having a daddy. They will always find it deeply odd that they have a different last name than the woman who raises them. They will never stop wishing that daddy was home, and they will never forget the shame of seeing him on the corner. They will pretend to accept him the way he is, and they will tirelessly defend his honor . Yet the rage with which they defend him will be rooted in the harsh reality that their daddy was never who they needed him to be.