Dispelling Lies about Black Fathers

Dispelling Lies about Black Fathers


We know that Black men are active and committed fathers and that they care about having children, but we also know that their fertility rates are disproportionately high. We know that non-domiciled (fathers not living in the home) fathers, especially black fathers, are less involved than Hispanic fathers and have more responsibility for co-parenting than white and non-domiciled Hispanic fathers. Black non-domiciled fathers face a myriad obstacles to stable and consistent support for their children, among other systemic challenges that conservatives often overlook. The work has shown that contextual factors such as marital status, the quality of mother-father relationship and consideration of the contribution of existing African-American children to the father living at home are disproportionately black (Dubowitz and Starr, 1999; Crouter et al., 2008; Smith, Krohn and Chu, 2005).

The stereotype of the absence of black fathers among black children was introduced more than 50 years ago, but many racial stereotypes refuse to die. Research scientist Waldo E. Johnson, Jr., PhD, a professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, has led efforts to educate and raise awareness of children who have lost a father for whatever reason to men that are perceived as authentic and genuine father figures. The African American Youth Gap Study examines the increased social and contextual risks of adolescence, with a focus on how African-American fathers influence their children during adolescence and adulthood, which is surprising.

Black fathers who are not in residence are more likely to not be involved in their children's care, including bathing, dressing, changing nappies and playing with their children. The involvement of criminal justice is a problem for low-income fathers when it comes to looking after children and being present in life. His work on African-American fathers and the development of black men has helped break down stereotypes and assumptions about fathers and challenge conventional wisdom about fragile, non-traditional families through programs and policies.

There is a broad agreement that absent fathers - men who do not live with their children because of divorce or other disorders - are not absent, but "you can't collect data on them," says Johnson who recently commissioned two new studies on fathers and sons in Chicago. This is especially true for studies that attempt to determine the influence of absent fathers, men who are absent from living with their children through divorce and other disorders.

We can dispel these rumors by continuing to be involved in our children’s lives, creating healthy co-parenting relationships and encouraging other fathers to be active in their children’s lives.