Did you know that whether living in the same home or not, Black fathers are the most involved of all primary recorded race and ethnic groups? Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, “Fathers’ Involvement with Their Children” verify that the majority of Black fathers actually live with their children (2.5 million versus 1.7 million who don’t). So, where did all of these “deadbeat dad” rumors come from in the Black community? Why is the stereotype for Black single fathers so ugly?
It is because the media doesn’t show our Black men as regular men. Lately it’s been at the hands of police brutality, adding them to the already crowded jail systems, being aggressive, and the media still heavily portrays the drug dealing stereotype out there. But really our black men are so much more. When will we see our men getting up and going to work to provide for their family and even themselves? Black men cook dinner, they kiss their kids on the forehead before they leave for work and hug them with all their strength when they return. Black men go on regular dates and have guys night on the weekends. Black men get sick and are big babies like all men and they love to be cared for. Black men cry, laugh, get frustrated, have dreams and goals just like every other man. Black women are exhausted with the media portraying our Kings as if they are not providers regardless of if the father is with the mother or not. The point is, he is still in his child’s life and contributes. What matters is he still claims his role as a Black father, he doesn’t owe the world anything nor does he have to prove himself.
Conservatives push to create policies that encourage marriage among families, especially Black families, stating that this is what leads to the success of Black children. We all know the order; go to college, get a good career, get married, get a house, have a kid and you live happily ever after. While this does apply positively to some families and it works for them, it just doesn’t necessarily apply to all, and that’s where the American dream gives false pretenses.
Knowing that every individual is different, has different goals, personalities, upbringings, etc, how can the same formula work for everyone? In 2020, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to stay home and contemplate what they want from their lives, people have realized that they weren’t really living the life they wanted or thought they would be. As more married couples stayed home, some led to relationships dwindling and others were closer than ever. Some families were completely annoyed with having their kids home 24/7 and others loved every bit of being able to spend more time with their kids. Let’s not forget the unfortunate devastation that COVID-19 had on Black families, especially Black men. Early research shows that COVID-19 kills men at nearly twice the rate of women, earning it a reputation as a “global mankiller.” Communities across America are reporting a devastating number of Black men struck down by the disease, men who played important roles as husbands, fathers, community leaders and parental caretakers. ,Facebook groups for Black widows have seen an influx of new members since the start of the pandemic. They’re now parenting children as single mothers, assuming the role of sole breadwinner and assisting elderly relatives without male support.
Did you know, that among nonresidential fathers, Black fathers are more involved than Hispanic dads and share more responsibilities and generally co-parent better than white or Hispanic nonresidential fathers? And yet, conservatives still refuse to see the systemic challenges that Black fathers steady face on a daily basis. For example, the large income disparities that have traveled across generations of Black men; having lower rates of upward mobility and higher rates of downward mobility than whites. Even in education, for example, Black men experience greater difficulties graduating from college and even when they do, they graduate from for-profit institutions with larger amounts of college debt. This is only part of the strain that Black men have to push through in order to be successful in the eyes of society. However, despite all of the battles against our Black men, they are still incredible fathers, and it is up to us to educate the world that our Black single fathers are here and they are doing a hell of a job. Many fatherlessness statistics utilize marital and housing statuses as cornerstone metrics, resulting in highly inflated figures. These stats do not account for the fact that men have died, couples may live together while unmarried, couples may be divorced, and, due to the system of incarceration, men are not only separated from their families, but often even prevented from staying in the homes with their families if the housing is federally provided.
Our Black fathers are super dads if you ask me. Any man that has to go through as much as they do and still stands strong behind his family is a King in my eyes and should be treated as such.
When it comes to conceptualizing African American fatherhood, stereotypes and anecdotal experience pair with inflated data to produce a dish that is as superficial as the fraudulent images of fast food we see in marketing ads. The dish is served, and sadly consumed, so often that even gubernatorial and presidential candidates eat it up and perpetually re-serve it to audiences. This must stop.—Rev. Saeed Richardson (Chicago Reporter)
Most Black children are not fatherless and Black American fatherhood is thriving! It is up to us, again, to get rid of that 70% statistic about Black fathers. Stop letting white people continue this to spread this myth that Black people can’t raise families, take care of themselves, or be responsible citizens. Especially, when most of the white boys and men are responsible for taking these men away from their families. George Floyd, was a father murdered by racist police officers.
There are tons of programs dedicated to Black fathers such as Real Men Cook, Fathers Incorporated, Black Fathers Foundation, and Black American Dad Foundation to help support all of our Black fathers with whatever they need. A team of Black excellence bringing dads closer to their kids, pushing to help the community and even programs targeting health and fitness. So, this Fathers Day, look at our Black men a little different. Understand that these Kings are so underrated when they should be held in the highest regard. Thank you Black fathers for all that you do, all that you give, and all that you endure for our Black families and our Black communities. We see you and we love you.
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