We Ain’t Got No Daddy: Epidemic Father Hunger in the African-American Communityby Joseph Gibson
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According to most national studies including the U.S. Census Bureau, over two-thirds of all African-American families currently have no fathers positively involved with them on a daily basis. Paternal abandonment has become too commonplace and passively accepted as normal in the African-American community. However, fathers abandoning their children—either physically or emotionally—is not at all normal in humanity, and we are certainly beginning to see the effects of this atrocity.
Margo Maine defined father hunger as the “deep, persistent desire for emotional connection with the father that is experienced by all children.” Father hunger is the result of receiving too little quality fathering as a child or adolescent due to physical or emotional paternal abandonment. Consequently, the abandoned offspring subconsciously craves paternal attention, affection, affirmation, advice, and accountability. Almost all victims of father hunger have no conscious idea of what they are being victimized by and how they are affected.
Regardless of how old we are at the moment, if paternal attention, affection, affirmation, advice, and accountability were not accessible in our childhood then our whole life typically becomes a tragic search for these things. The real tragedy is that we do not even know that these things are what we are looking for; our craving for quality fathering is usually a subconscious phenomenon. We are simply driven by our core need to be noticed, loved, and celebrated for who we are. The absence of paternal attention, affection, affirmation, advice, and accountability creates individuals who have low self-esteem and who rarely fulfill their potential because they are unable to take risks for fear of the impact failure may have on their fragile self-image or who take excessive risks with no real concern for themselves. Such individuals also attach themselves to almost anything that appears to offer them the attention, affection, affirmation, advice, and accountability lost to paternal abandonment.
Behind all of the symptoms of father hunger is the underlying theme of self-devaluation and subsequent acting out and aim inhibition in order to compensate the abandoned offspring’s ego. However, because our egos typically suppress all knowledge of this self-devaluation it is extremely difficult for the father hungry to identify the source of their self-destructive life decisions. As a result, most father hungry miscreants simply blame their misguided behavior on some character flaw they apparently possess, which only creates a modern and memorable incident of self-devaluation.
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