I’m full of mixed emotions…
Too often I read local and national headlines that talk about young African American boys killing and being killed…unnecessarily. I often as myself “do these young African American men have fathers, role models and mentors?”
I know the answer to this question concerning this particular young man who is covered in a bloody sheet in the middle of this Chicago Southside street in this Chicago Tribune article…
Yes and no!
Yes he has a biological father. In fact, we have the same exact biological father. He’s my younger half brother, Brian Floyd, who I’ve only seen 4-5 times in my life.
But no, he didn’t have a role model, mentor or daily male presence that guided the steps of his young undirected life.
It’s ironic that my life’s passion has become empowering men who have struggled beneath the weight of fatherlessness. I mentor them. I coach them. I pastor them. I befriend them. I pray for them. I laugh with them. I cry with them. I feel their pain…our pain, hence I connect with them.
Maybe the guy never met his dad.
Maybe his dad walked out on his mother and the siblings.
Maybe his dad was physically present but emotionally distant.
Maybe his dad was physically and emotionally abusive.
Maybe his dad died young.
It’s all fatherlessness. It all hurts the same.
When fathers are absent, boys run wild trying to figure out what it means to be a man.
When fathers are too busy regaining their own youth, boys grow up way too fast.
When fathers don’t affirm boys and call them into manhood, boys will find their own destructive rites of passage processes and negative forms of affirmation.
I’m pissed that young men think they can just rob people of their possessions for the hell of it.
It saddens me that a young off-duty police officer, a good man and soldier who had a caring father, was shot in cold blood in front of his parent’s house where he grew up. And I’m sad that the off-duty officer’s father, a retired police officer, was left no choice but to defend his son against his assailants by killing my brother.
I’m embarrassed that my father has flowered the earth with seven children by six women, yet we have NEVER all been in the same room with each other. EVER!
I’m hurt that young boys are dying in the streets in order to become men.
I’m discouraged that this keeps happening to our young urban adult males. The only difference this time is that the young man was my brother.
I’m so sorry Brian.
I’m sorry that we were only connected by blood and not by brotherly enmeshed lives. I’m sorry that you had such a negative view of manhood. I am so sorry that you chose to live and end your life this way. You were better than this and you deserved more than to die in the streets like this? I’m so sorry that I never got to tell you so.