Missing Black Fathers

There is a longstanding myth that African-American fathers are more often than not, lacking involvement with their children if not absent all together. The perception is that African-American fathers involved in their children’s lives are few and far between. This is a myth that needs to be dispelled. There is no denying that we need to expand the narrative surrounding our families but we can’t do that while dragging down the image of strong black men. There is a father-absence crisis in America but it’s not just a “Black” thing.

I grew up surrounded by proud African-American fathers. The types that were father figures to their own children and others in the neighborhood. They showed up to help clean the community, went to church on Sundays, was actively involved in athletic programs, and wouldn’t hesitate to correct you if you were doing something out-of-place. These were men from all walks of life, involved in many different careers. Some of them were unemployed or used the streets to make money however they saw fit. Some went to work early and came home extremely late. They were not perfect. They had flaws. They were real men doing exactly as they were supposed to do.

The CDC 2013 National Health Records statistics found that African-American fathers are more involved with their children than Caucasian and Latino fathers. The absence of fathers involved with their children is present across all communities. Research found that African-American Fathers are more likely to live separately from their children. Although African-American fathers are more likely to live in separate households, the Pew Research Center estimates that 67 percent of African-American dads who don’t live with their kids see them at least once a month, compared to 59 percent of Caucasian dads and just 32 percent of Hispanic dads.

This weekend I attended a University women’s basketball game. One of the star players father was present. Throughout the game you could hear him call shots, encouraging the girls to play harder or rebound more. He knew the names of all the girls on the team. He clapped loudly and unapologetically. Once or twice I caught his daughter quickly flash a smile his way. Yes he was proud and yes, he was African-American.




5 thoughts on “Missing Black Fathers

  1. Nyki! I’m so glad you sent this out. Derek and I are having a little man in just about three weeks and were just having a related conversation. I’ve been following your work recently and would love to be in touch, hit me up. Hoping all is well with you!

  2. Nykieria,

    Wow. Now you know that THIS (reading a post by you) is a real treat for me!

    Hopefully your schedule and your Spirit will lead you to post as often as possible.

    Now regarding your topic: “Missing Black Fathers”

    I too was blessed to grow up in a family…and community…where the presence of strong Black positive male role models were all around me (fathers, grandfathers, uncles et al). Those men were hard-working family men with pride, dignity and self-respect. A man who didn’t work and take care of his family, especially his children, was quite frankly considered NOT to be a “Man” at all. He was looked down on if not shunned altogether.

    However, I would be remissed not to also say that at some point in time (I was a young adult) the case of the “Missing Black Father” indeed DID become a sad reality for far too many young Black children. For a certain span of time (I’d say late 1980s – 2005) that trend devastated the lives of many, if not most, of those fatherless children (especially young Black males) and it certainly hurt Us, as a people.

    I should also point out that during that time span_many if not most_of those fathers (and mothers too for that matter) were little more than “babies-having-babies” which predictably was a recipe for a disaster.

    But to your point – that more Black fathers are involved in the lives of their children than Caucasian or Latino fathers .

    I am happy to say that about 8 yrs ago, I began noticing a return to this proud and vital Black cultural pattern of behavior in increased numbers. More and more young adult Black males (mostly single) taking their Parenting responsibilities very seriously. I’m proud to say my 24 y/o nephew is in that number. The proud father of 2 youngins; he maintains a full-time job and is definitely a hands-on dad…Lol.

    Again. Great to read a post by you Nykieria.

    I shall look forward to the next one!

    • Hi Truthiz, thanks for hanging in there. It was a long and challenging year but I’m back.

      I agree that as of late, I see an increasing amount of young black males stepping up to the plate!

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