Before I get into this one, allow me to say Happy Father’s Day to all the men involved in the lives of children whether biologically attached to them or not. Additionally, I’d like to extend some positive energy and remind all men that your kids need you. Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about the title of this post. I’ve been involved in a discussion as I often am around the blogosphere and social network sites. This one started on Twitter between myself and a few women and has spilled over to Facebook. I decided to bring it forth here as well.
Personally, I’m sick of seeing and hearing all this negative talk on Father’s Day. Every year I hear the cliché, “Happy Father’s Day to all the REAL dads,” or “Happy Father’s Day to the men who take care of their kids.” This is often I suppose an attack on dead beat dads. Realizing that this is indeed a reality that some women live with, I still question such proclamations. Are they truly intended to “big up” good fathers or to belittle dead beats?
I’ve written a post here sharing my thoughts on this as to why it’s the case; you can click and read it if you like. But it would appear to me that the problem of deadbeat dads is a phenomenon exclusive to the Black community. In my discussion this morning it was pointed out that 70% of our kids are raised in single parent homes where the custodial parents for the most part are female. It was also said that this in itself was the source for many of our social ills in the Black community. But is it really so? Is this truly the problem?
I don’t know about you, but to me this gives off a false impression of Black men. It’s stereotypical if you will. It’s easy to quote that 70% statistic; but it’s irresponsible to not show proof [read this PDF] of recent studies. According to studies conducted by Boston College social psychologist Rebekah Levine Coley, “black fathers not living at home are more likely to keep in contact with their children than fathers of any other ethnic or racial group.”
So I have to ask you as I have the folks I’ve been engaged with: are absentee fathers the real problem? Or is it part of a larger problem within our society at large as it relates to Black men? Could it be just another well intentioned stigma designed to negatively stereotype Black men as being irresponsible without regard to scientific studies?
SUGGESTED READING: Black Fatherhood: Reconnecting with Our Legacy