Fathers Day and African Americans

"Fathers Day - Black Fathers Matter"
Fathers Day - Involved fathers matter

Fathers Day is here! All across America, fathers are celebrating with their families. Fathers Day is a day of reflection and recognizing that the family structure and our country is better off with fathers who are involved with their children.

The American family has changed over the last couple of generations. Notice the word used was “involved” not in the home? With over half of all marriages ending in divorce, this has changed the family dynamic. Fathers Day is still just as important as always. There are many divorced fathers in America. Many of them will celebrate Fathers Day with their children in an alternative setting. The important issue, is that they are involved with their children!

President Obama, early in his presidency spoke at an African American church admonishing Black men to step up to the plate. He caught flack for doing so, but he was right. You don’t need a sociological study to show how communities are devastated without the presence of fathers.

Fathers Day is to time to reflect on how much better our community could be with involved fathers. When you look at young black men who turn to crime or end up in cemeteries across the country, the one thing they all have in common is there in no father. It’s hard for children, particularly young black men to learn how to be a man watching their mother put on lipstick.

There is a silver lining. There are countless African American fathers who are involved with their children. This author, has two sons both honor students and one in college. The young men who are their peers, have their fathers involved as well. All of them are in four year colleges and doing well in school. Watching the evening news one would think that is not the case.

Fathers Day takes on special meaning for successful young black men. Having committed fathers in their lives has made all the difference in the world. These stories need to make the news as well. Unfortunately, good news in the Black community doesn’t sell.

Fathers Day in the African American community doesn’t sell either. Hallmark commercials and other companies are loath to show a Black father figure in their commercials as if good fathers don’t exist in the African American community.

Instead, you will see a plethora of shows dedicated to showing the dark side of the African-American community. Examples are: COPS, the First 48, Lockup, Miami COPS etc. The list goes on and on. Sadly, this is the new entertainment! Practically all the perpetrators arrested are young African American males. This is not news or entertainment, this is PROPAGANDA. This is spin at it’s worst. No wonder people are scared of young Black men. They are not all criminals.

The only thing factual about these crimes shows is, that the overwhelming majority of these young men, do not have their fathers in their lives. This author grew up without a father during a time when there was shame associated with not having a father in the home. Fathers Day was always a sad day. Those of us who didn’t have an involved father were envious of those who did. When you are a child, other children can be cruel with their Fathers Day jokes. Many fathers who were without their father as a child tend to have strong involvement with their children. President Obama is a perfect example of this.

There is pathology in today’s world that seems to make it socially acceptable NOT to have the father in the home or involved. A ghetto culture of “my baby daddy” is a disgrace. There is nothing cute about such a degrading moniker in the African American community. This only perpetuates negative stereotypes and images of young Black men. Fathers Day is virtually non-existent in this type of environment.

Fathers Day, thankfully is celebrated in middle-class Black America. In the final analysis, it’s more an issue of class, social strata and eduction. The media spin is always that, the negative behavior shown on the evening news is endemic to the African American community as a whole. the reality is, we are judged by the least among us.

Those of us with means in the African American community are charged with setting the example. As mentioned previously, there are many shining examples of success and accomplishment in the Black community. It’s up to us to make sure the rest of nation is aware of it! Finally, celebrating good fathers and being good fathers shouldn’t come down to one day. Fathers Day, should be everyday! To all fathers, Happy Fathers Day!

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