Oftentimes, when we discuss fatherhood we assume that African-American men aren’t part of that conversation, largely because a number of studies and reports have repeatedly told us that black fathers are overwhelmingly absent from their children’s lives.
However, while these numbers are nothing to ignore, they contribute to a damaging narrative about black men and negate the achievements of the number of black men who play an active role in their children’s lives. In honor of Father’s Day, here are five lies we should stop telling about black fatherhood.
Black Fathers Aren’t Involved In Their Children’s Lives
Recent data published by the Center for Disease Control reveal that African-American fathers spend more time in their children’s day-to-day lives than dads from other racial groups, defying stereotypes about black fatherhood. The Pew Research Center has found similar evidence that black dads don’t differ from white dads in any significant way, and that there isn’t the expected disparity found in so many other reports. Although black fathers are more likely to live in separate households, Pew estimates that 67 percent of black dads who don’t live with their kids see them at least once a month, compared to 59 percent of white dads and just 32 percent of Hispanic dads.
The Increasing Number of Single-Parent Homes Is Exclusively A Black Problem
The increase in number of single-parent homes has repeatedly been painted as a problem exclusively rooted in the black community. However, that fact couldn’t be further from the truth. The number of single-parent American households has tripledin number since 1960, and while an overwhelming majority of these households are likely to be led by black or Hispanic women, the number of black, single-father households is also on the rise.
The Number Of Un-wed Mothers Is a Statement on Morality In The Black Community
According to a 2010 study, 72 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers, a sharp contrast to the 24 percent detailed in the 1965 Moynihan Report.
Some have taken this number and cited it as a contributing factor to a large portion of black America’s present-day plight. However, many have taken issue with how this statistic has been used with respect to the black community’s moral standing. In an article for The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates broke down the numbers in an effort to give a more accurate depiction…
But while the number of unmarried black women has substantially grown, the actual birthrate (measured by births per 1000) for black women is it the lowest point that its ever documented.
So while a larger number of black women are choosing not to marry, many of those women are also choosing not to bring kids into the world. But there is something else.
As you can see the drop in the birthrate for unmarried black women is mirrored by an even steeper drop among married black women. Indeed, whereas at one point married black women were having more kids than married white women, they are now having less.
I point this out to show that the idea that the idea that, somehow, the black community has fallen into a morass of cultural pathology is convenient nostalgia. There is nothing “immoral” or “pathological” about deciding not to marry.
Men Who Didn’t Have Fathers Won’t Make Good Fathers
There’s no disputing the effect fatherlessness has on children’s lives. Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor, and being raised without a father raises the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree. However, men who didn’t grow up with their fathers are not incapable of being good fathers themselves — an assumption disproportionately assigned to black men who are more likely to be raised by single mothers.
Black Fathers Are An Anomaly
Black fathers do exist, a message that entrepreneur William K. Middlebrooks hopes to spread with his book “Dare To Be Extraordinary: A Collection of Positive Life Lessons from African American Fathers.” Part chapter-memoir, part call-to-action and part inspiration, the book recognizes and honors the wisdom and teachings of African-American fathers passed down to sons and daughters. Among them: Cultural icon and entrepreneur Russell Simmons, NBA veteran Allan Houston, ABC News broadcaster Robin Roberts and the authors themselves.
Read More At http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/13/black-fatherhood-statistics_n_5491980.html
Please stop. Denial does not help our community. No one omits black men from dialogues surrounding datherhood JUST because reports and studies tell is that a significant amou t of African American men abandon their children. We don’t need reports and studies to know this. WE SEE THIS. We mothers experience it. We know other black women who are single mothers with who jave been left with children by ‘men’ who are too busy making other children than to take care of the ones they have. We are tired of you pretending that this is not an epidemic by pointing to fathers who, more times than not, are usually men who have had children by white women and for some reason THEY will stay around to raise their mixed race children…. these are the men that you’re counting but what about actual black children? These are the ones that are overwhelmingly without fathers and you want to make this out to be a myth to make yourself look better. You should be ashamed of yourselves but then again, I’m not surprised that you aren’t.
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Undoubtedly this is a hot button issue for the African American community. It also calls for more than one topic. Pop Culture has cultivated African American audiences that have become accustomed to a premise that our life experiences begin and end with destitution and despair. Politically, public discussion and/or policy is focused on the less fortunate; this feeds Pop Culture’s depiction of our life experiences…literature, films etc. rarely reflect position images of Black fatherhood and/or as positive spouses or partners. There is a formula in films and literature that always resorts to the irresponsible or abusive black male…black audiences have become accustomed to him. I single parent families are plaguing our community; males and females should take responsibility for this trend. There are scores of Black females who embrace having a child out of wedlock, a trend that has been displayed many times over in Pop Culture. The predominantly white feminist movement also has a hand in promoting the worse among male populations. As a black male I actually exhaled when Obama finished his presidency without any ruinous scandal…no beating of his wife, sex with his daughters or assault on a female subordinate.
As a retired educator, some of the worst homes that I know of, had fathers in them. Some of the my best students, were from single family homes. I was a home bound teacher, which brought me into MANY HOMES. I’ve seen a lot of things with my own eyes. Mother and daughter with babies by the same man, that RESIDES IN THE HOME. Father dealing drugs out of the home, numerous relatives in the same apartment, then a child get pregnant. Having a man in the home is not the cure all, having a RESPONSIBLE PARENT helps, but you never know what your kid will do.
Yes the lies need to stop. I grew up with a father. I have a husband and I have 3 children. Only one of my children is not married. Black Americans have had all the negative stereotypes thrust upon us and over time, sadly, many in our community believe the lies. Dispelling the lies is key and educating our families and our communities helps tremendously. Every group in American has horrible fathers and they all do horrible acts. Continuing to tell the truth with images and stories of Black males can do a better job of changing our societies view and lower the stress on Black men to be supermen.