‘Absentee fathers to blame for gang culture in black communities’

Young black men without fathers are being drawn into gang culture because they have grown up without positive role models, an author and educational consultant has said.

Tony Sewell, a former member of the Youth Justice Board, said he spoke in detail to a number of black youths to discover why knife crime “excessively affects a particular community”.

He found that overwhelmingly, “their problems started when their fathers left the home, while others were haunted by the fathers they never knew”.


Sewell said it was worrying that a culture has “taken hold” in the US and UK, “where black men produce children without feeling the need to take responsibility for them”.

“their problems started when their fathers left the home”

He continued: “A father going AWOL is something akin to post-traumatic stress disorder. When the father is absent or failing in his duty, our boys are left isolated and a danger.”

Aretha Franklin

But Sewell stressed it is not a simple race issue, as in middle-class West African families, where both parents are more likely to be present, boys are more likely to go to university than white working-class boys.

Revd Jasper Williams Jr used his eulogy at Aretha Franklin’s funeral last week to call for mentoring programs and encouraged men to take responsibility for their children.

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