I’m a daddy’s girl. I’m sure that I am not an example of the image most see when a young woman makes this claim. My parents are not divorced nor were they ever married. I did not grow up in a household where both parents resided. My father paid his child support monthly and FAITHFULLY. My father is not Daddy Warbucks (though he claims that I see him as such). And my father does not come to my EVERY call, succumb to my every whim nor does he spoil me. He did not buy my first car or ANY car for that matter (hint hint and nudge to him). He did not buy out an entire amusement park for my birthday. He does not supply me with a monthly stipend being that I am not yet married. He does not finance the upkeep of my wardrobe. I am no spoiled princess daughter.
He HAS however made sure that he has provided for me outside of his court ordered child support payments. He has ensured that I know and have a relationship with his family. He has stressed the importance of my history and education. He has put up with my many attitudes and has been a partner on my emotional roller coasters. He laughs at my quirks and affectionately calls me a “weird child.” He has attended and been in support of all of my extra curricular activities even though it meant driving for more than an hour to be there most times. He has fed and bathed me, helped me with homework (even giving me his own assignments much to my chagrin), helped me learn to tie my shoes and spell my middle name (my middle name can be quite difficult for a 4 year old). We had many talks about school, life, family and as I got older boys and sex including what to expect from boys and what not to accept. My family and I have teased him a lot as to him being very old-fashioned. However I realized when I got older that those actions were him actually practicing what he preached. He was displaying to me by model the actions of a real MAN. And that serves as an example for me now- my template.
To top this all off he is a BLACK MAN. Surprise surprise. This should be a surprise to most. This type of love, action and responsibility is not seen in the media. Because of the media I had the impression that my father was a one of a kind black father. The media paints the “average Black family” as the lazy whore of a single mom who cannot get any of her unemployed very sexually active baby fathers to either pay child support or to spend time with his child. Even though it has never been my experience that I ONLY see this stereotype of black fathers, I believed this. I chose to believe the imagery rather than to trust what I have known. Yes I have seen men/boys be knuckle heads and not so great boyfriends and husbands HOWEVER it does not always stop them from being great fathers. I have even held the sentiment that black father’s do not care. I stated that it is a result of the slave mentality. Not exactly so. This is a pure example of not allowing others, those out looking inward (media) to define who you are. I will not dare say that I have never seen an absentee Black father but I do more frequently see Black fathers who do have relationships with their children whether they are living with them or not.
They say “men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t lie.” Well the CDC has produced the numbers and has published a study showing that Black men are not worse fathers than are White or Hispanic fathers. The report shows that in fact in most cases Black fathers SPEND MORE TIME with if not about the same amount of time raising their children than Whites and Hispanics. This CDC report was brought to my attention watching BLACK&SEXY.TV (one of my favorite YouTube channels). The mini-talk show series gives viewers a peak into the minds of several young black men. The original topic of discussion was if the men
wanted their woman to have the same characteristics of their mothers. The script is flipped at the end as two young women are invited on the second half of the show to ask of their opinion. The ladies were asked if they wanted a man with the same characteristics of their fathers. One young man then reveals that he read an article in Clutch Magazine that again highlights the imagery of Black fathers in the media versus the REALITY of Black fathers.
The CDC report essentially asks men how frequently they were spending time with their child(ren). More specifically, “spending time with children” includes such tasks as sitting down with them to eat as well as personally feeding them, taking them to and from activities, helping them with and looking over homework, talking to their children about their day, playing with their children and other activities as well. These results are then cataloged according to the residential status of father and child (whether the child lives with the father or apart from the father) and other statistics such as age, educational background and marital status.
According to the report, for example, among fathers who live with their children (ages 5-18), 67.4% of Black fathers talked to their children about their day DAILY (in a 4 week period) compared to 63.4% of Hispanic fathers and 67.0% of White fathers. As far as the fathers who do not live with their children (ages 5-18), 17.8% of Black fathers have talked to their children about their day on a DAILY basis (4 week period) compared to 11.8% of Hispanic fathers and 16.1% of White fathers.
Another statistic shows how often fathers played with their children (ages 5 and under) within a 4 week period. Among the men who have children living with them Black fathers who played with their children daily were 82.2%. Hispanic fathers doing the same were 74.1% and White fathers 82.7%. For the fathers who did not live with their children, 16.5% of Black fathers played with their children daily compared to 10.0& Hispanic fathers and 6.6% of White fathers doing the same.
Let these statistics, these values be a lesson to us all. Do not believe everything people tell you, even if it is in the media be it tv, film, music or even ads. Also let this be a lesson to all us women that no matter the occupation of the man, be he a sport superstar, a construction worker or sanitary worker; no matter what type of home he has whether he owns a private island, a 4-bedroom single family home, lives in another state or in his momma’s basement, he is a father and we should not keep him from spending time with his child(ren). Let this be a lesson to those who carry prejudice and negatively stereotype black fathers. These men love and take care of their children no less than any other man. Respect that.
I want to commend our Black fathers. And I’m not just talking to biological fathers, but also step-fathers, grandfathers, uncles, coaches, cousins and mentors. I’m encouraging you all to keep it going and to improve. Many doubt you and many bad mouth you. Even I am a perpetrator of doing so. In spite of all this you continue to provide for and love and give what you can to your legacies and I appreciate this. Use your own fathers as examples and motives. If he was a great father be like him and strive to be even better. If he was not a great father to you still use his example and strive to be better than he. Do not cower under the pressure, rise above the past and the stigma and help the Black community raise a stronger village.