The system against fathers

Tottenham… the first thing you probably thought of was gangs. I don’t blame you, I did too. Gangs have adorned our streets for a very long time and I have always wondered why people would put themselves in such a predicament. Is it the lifestyle, peer pressure, or how I like to put it: the system against fathers.

Many times, when gangsters are asked of their craft, they carefully place the fatherless card onto the center of the table. Some say it’s the easiest thing to do while some say that it’s the reality these boys gamble with. However, let’s look at the statistics. The Department of Health and Human Services states that children living in female-headed families with no spouse present have a poverty rate of 46.7%, over 4 times the rate in married-couple families. Therefore, these boys grow up seeing their mothers struggle to make ends meet and vow to themselves to help as soon as they can. Poverty leads to desperation and desperate times call for desperate measures. These fatherless men see the fast money and get addicted because their masculinity speaks a different language: any ‘grind’ possible to look after my family; the family that they didn’t bring into this world. Well, that’s one way I put it.

I always thought the system had a hand in it too. In 2018, Britain’s total wealth grew by 13%, reaching a record of £14.6tn. Wealth among 10% of rich households increased almost 4 times faster compared to 10% of the poorer households. These figures highlight the wealth inequality that has been passed onto us since the feudal system. Therefore, the poor will always be poor and the rich will always be rich. Single mothers will continue to struggle to make ends meet and will always live under the wings of the council. Desperate boys who don’t know any better will continue to fight for estates that they will be kicked out of as soon as they reach 18 and their brothers will stay surrounded by the drugs, violence and poverty.

This vicious cycle will continue for years and when they realise the wrong path they have chosen, they seem stuck and run the risk of being out of time. 17 year-old Rhyhiem Barton was a victim to one of the many gang-related murders in London last year. He was the lead rapper of a drill group called Moscow 17, who starred in many music videos, making him a target for rival gangs. His mentor Holmes Lewis, later told Sky news: “the tragic thing is he had just started to talk to me about leaving that life, but it was too late. I felt like I had lost my own son.”.

This is one of the many tragic stories that form the other 51 stabbings in London just in 2018. As long as something in this vicious cycle is not broken, the numbers will just rise and rise. Too many people haven’t got that helping hand even though they work hard and have potential. They see someone on their estate with a nice car, a nice watch and get lured into the fast money. Sadly, many times, before these boys realise that they have bitten more than they can chew, they are forced to succumb to their last, painful breath.

So, going back to my theory, the system against fathers, I figured that in this game, they just play together. One slightly outdoing the other but they will always play against each other. The system against the fathers, the fathers against the system.