Resurrection of Black Manhood: Black Fatherhood(Part 3 of 4)

This is a great documentary on Black Fatherhood. This is a short documentary focusing on the thoughts, experiences and ideas of different Black men on the importance of fatherhood. With so many negative images aimed at Black men being fathers these are some real life stories from men expressing that Daddy Matters.

Black Dads3

A recent New York Times study led with the sobering headline, “1.5 Million Missing Black Men.” It included such findings as this: “Of the 1.5 million missing black men from 25 to 54—which demographers call the prime-age years—higher imprisonment rates account for almost 600,000. Almost 1 in 12 black men in this age group are behind bars.” This massive incarceration, compounded by substandard health care and fragile mortality rates, results in a fact that leaped from the study:

More than one out of every six black men who today should be between 25 and 54 years old have disappeared from daily life.

Here’s the thing, though: Many of them aren’t “missing.” They haven’t “disappeared.” Many of them have been stolen, ripped from their families to feed bloated prison cells, then regurgitated back out into society, more than likely unable to vote or find a job that enables them to care for their families. There is a direct line from slavery straight to the prison-industrial complex, a devastating continuum that first dehumanizes, then enslaves and criminalizes black bodies for profit, ultimately rendering them killable in the eyes of society. And because patriarchy is the poison of choice in a heteronormative society that places value on the “traditional” family and its central role in community building, there has always been a very concentrated effort to subjugate and oppress black men.

Still … black men are present and engaged fathers who love their children.

Black Dads1

“People think they don’t care, but we know they do,” said Joseph Jones, president of the Center for Urban Families, an organization that works to support African-American fathers, to the Los Angeles Times. “We see how dads are fighting against the odds to be engaged in the lives of their children.”

In 2013 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study that I’ve cited often over the years, “Fathers’ Involvement With Their Children: United States, 2006-2010” (pdf). It does a great job shattering some pervasive myths about African-American fathers. The findings include the following:

* More African-American fathers live with their children (2.5 million) than live apart from their children (1.7 million).

Of African-American fathers surveyed who live with their children,

* 78.2 percent fed or ate meals with their children daily, compared with 73.9 percent of white fathers;

* 70.4 percent bathed, diapered or dressed their children daily, compared with 60.0 percent of white fathers;

* 82.2 percent played with their children daily, compared with 82.7 percent of white fathers;

* 34.9 percent read to their children daily, compared with 24.9 percent of white fathers;

* 40.6 percent helped their children with their homework or checked to make sure that they finished it daily, compared with 29.3 percent of white fathers.

* Of the fathers who live away from their children, African-American fathers outperformed white and Latino fathers on nearly all measures surveyed, including reading to their children daily, helping them with homework and changing their diapers.

Black Dads2

While it is certainly true that many fathers need to step up and take better care of their children, this is not specific to black fathers by a long shot; and yet too many of us have internalized that self-hatred as easily as we’ve digested the myth of black-on-black crime. Even where there is parity in the numbers, black fathers surveyed were no less present in their children’s lives, despite the deadbeat-dad myth that dogs their steps.

It could be argued, then, that pundits and politicians would be better served pontificating on the pathology of absent white fathers, those who aren’t faced with the same structural impediments but still come up short. You know, the ones who start at third base but still can’t make it to home plate for dinner.

But that wouldn’t be good political theater, now, would it?

And for those in our communities who would say, “Well, we shouldn’t be concerned about what other fathers are doing,” I would then question why too many people with a platform seem to be performing that criticism for the white gaze in order to procure “tough love” points and respectability certificates.

Conservative demagogues, such as Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo Rivera, are expected to indulge in such tactics out of either malice or ignorance, but the propaganda also comes from African-American men in high places, such as President Barack Obama, whose scathing indictments seem to reflect a desire to play the role of father-in-chief, reprimanding a wayward African-American demographic that dreams of earning his approval.

Article written by Kirsten West Savali

17 thoughts on “Resurrection of Black Manhood: Black Fatherhood(Part 3 of 4)

  1. @ Kushite Prince
    I’m glad you did a post on this topic. Since we’re talking about black fatherhood we have heard several times that 70% of black children are living in single parent households which most of the children are being raised by the mother. I always question those stats especially with a number that high. In that 70% claim I wonder how many of those children are whose parents are divorce, decease fathers, children who live in the home with both parents but not legally married, the father is incarcerated, and I also wonder are they counting biracial children who have a non black mother in that count as well.

    Since I have worked with black children in urban communities I have seen many times the children father’s involved in their lives even if the father isn’t in a relationship with the mother. But I strongly still feel & believe that both parents need to be in a household raising the child they produce together with each other.

    P.S. I remember I was on one blog an they mention how facebook & instagram have a page dedicated to black fathers taking care of their children. One person mention how some of those pages dedicated to black fathers be posting pictures of their children which are biracials with a non black woman. Many had stated that doesn’t represent strong black fathers especially when a black man procreate with a non black woman which equals genocide to our race. These black men are creating children who doesn’t resemble them but more of a mix heritage.

  2. We all was hear how black boys need their father in their lives because it effects them, we need think about how it effects black girls as well. As I stated earlier I strongly still feel & believe that both parents need to be in a household raising the child they produce together with each other.

  3. One of the main reason for such high out of wedlock births and fathers who live away from home, is because most black children born are on the lower end of the socioeconomic rung, most poorer families, regardless of race struggle to maintain relationships for different reasons, mainly economics but also the shallow social ideas of what love is and many other reasons.

    Black men are not away from their children many times due to the fact they don’t care but due to socioeconomics, the higher the level of education, paying job and wealth are more likely to be married or live together. The black middle class has an even lower fertility rate than their white counterparts, they think they are smart because they trained to work for white folks but are steady destroying their own numbers just like white people. They also going through a major crisis due to their lack of wealth, the downward mobility rate for blacks has increased significantly for blacks since the recession of 07-09.

    Not saying it’s good fathers don’t marry and live with the mother of the child but clearly many of blacks getting married right now are no good at all, they are not reproducing at high enough rate.

  4. “It could be argued then, that, pundits and politicians would be better served pontificating on the pathology of absent white fathers, those who aren’t faced with the same structural impediments but still come up short. You know, the ones who start at third base but still can’t make it to home plate for dinner. But that wouldn’t be good political theater, now would it?”
    Laaawd…Hammer On Nail! Love It 🙂

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