#BlackDadsMatter: Are Fathers Really Optional & Irrelevant? Author Josh Levs talks black fathering and paternity leave with News One.
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Mice raised without fathers are more aggressive. “Children raised without a father are at greater risk of deviant behavior later—and girls in particular may be more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol—according to a new study with mice. While many studies have outlined the value of a mother, few have clearly defined the importance of a father. Researchers say this is the first study to link father absenteeism with social attributes and to correlate these with physical changes in the brain.”
Father’s absence causes early puberty in girls. “Girls in homes without a biological father are more likely to hit puberty at an earlier age, according to a new study. Absence of a biologically related father in the home predicted earlier breast and pubic hair development—but only for girls in higher income households. The findings held even after the girls’ weight was taken into account.”
Jaleesa Jones: I laughed when my father died.
I didn’t know a thing about resentment until we started talking. I didn’t know how far people could veer from your fantasies of them. I did not know that kind of disillusionment.
My father had a drinking problem and he used to beat my mother. She left him after she had me, convinced that she was better off raising me alone than in a household under siege. My father didn’t deny any of the stories and he didn’t offer an absolute apology for them, either. It was always, “It’s complicated,” or, “People in love make mistakes,” followed promptly by “I’m still your father. You still need me.”
I oscillated between resenting him and trying to prove I was worthy of his love. I won a statewide minority pageant in high school. I got accepted into a top public university. I made Dean’s List semester after semester. I did this all to convince myself that I was valuable and that he should have done better by me.
Still, I couldn’t bring myself to talk to him.
He called our house after I won the pageant and I walked away from the phone. He sent texts every Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I steeled my heart off to him.
Things finally boiled over one Christmas, when he accused my mom of poisoning my opinion of him. I exploded and told him to stay out of our lives.
And the hurt continued.
Until he died.
Then it hit me: We were now truly separated and it hurt even worse. A year later, I understand why. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want Donald in my life. I just couldn’t accept him as he was — broken, flailing and human.
It’s easy in all our anger to lose sight of it, but our parents are people too.
In the book, your argument is that initiatives targeting black youth are not enough. What else do you think needs to be done?
One of the positions I take is that people seem to think cultural change is very hard; however, we really forget to emphasize that one should see culture in interaction with the broader socioeconomic context. You have to view the two together: You can’t just go in and say, I’m going to change the culture because conditions may be such that even if people want to change they can’t change.
My favorite example of that is that a lot of mothers may want to spend more time with their kids. They [sociologists] say it’s very important. But one of the single most important problems is that kids in the inner city are simply not being socialized or exposed to adult supervision enough. It’s as simple as that; there is a viable period between 3 o’clock when school [ends] and 8 o’clock, when the sole parent is coming home from her second job or whatever, in which they [kids] are alone. Human beings need to be socialized by adults; it’s as simple as that.
A mother may sit down and listen to all the advice we give about how to bring up kids and agree totally, 100 percent. But the point is that the economic environment is such that she can’t do it because she’s not with them. If she’s not gonna starve, she’s gotta work, and if she’s working at a job that pays $7.50 or $8 an hour, she’s gotta work two jobs. It’s physically impossible for her to do and express and pass on the values that she may be in 100 percent agreement with. It’s unrealistic to think that you can change people’s behavior without changing the context which helps facilitate and enable that behavior, even assuming that people want to change.
On the other extreme, there’s no use in providing the jobs and expecting that people are just going to turn up after a lifetime of hustling and having all the wrong attitudes, being hostile to authority figures and so on, and expecting that they’re going to do the work.
What if there were, say, two parents. And one was a loving example of a masculine authority figure. I think Obama himself even mentioned that once.
“Every man needs to know there is someone pulling for them, who believes in him,” Webb said. “Sometimes that’s all it takes for someone to change an attitude, a lifestyle and a life. And when the right course correction guides a person’s life along a more positive path, that change then passes to his children.”
Much more on the National Fatherhood Initiative here.
Locked Up in Jacksonville Florida: How One Corrections Dept is Correcting Fatherhood.
92% of parents in prison are fathers.
Pushing back twice as hard: Father of bullies fired after Minnesota man takes Snapchat harassment of his daughter into his own hands.
Black Dads Needed: Saint Louis University doctoral student Alisha Rorer is looking for help with her research study, “Intergenerational Patterns of Fatherhood: Black Father’s Presence and Involvement with Their Sons and the Impact of Father Figures” (IRB #25385).
She’s exploring the father-son relationship and factors that contribute to fathers’ presence and involvement with their sons, and hoping for insight into the impact of Black fathers’ presence, involvement, and father figures on the father-son relationship.
The survey, which you can find by clicking here, takes 20-30 minutes to complete. Responses will be kept anonymous and private.
To participate you:
* Must self identify as an African American or Black male
* Must be at least 21 years old
* Must have an African American or Black biological son who is at least 10 years old
If you’re not one of these, please pass the link on to those guys in your life. Thanks!
NBC Today video: Three Fatherless Black Men Become Doctors.
On the Today show 3 men tell their story of not having fathers in their lives and how they made a promise to each other to make it without their fathers involved.
The video covers a lot more territory than this pull quote suggests. Doctors Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt go into some depth about how tough it was growing up without fathers, and how vital that relationship is despite (or because of) their own experience. I was also impressed that the interviewer connected with them by also acknowledging that he too grew up fatherless. Definitely worth a watch.
Get a copy of their important book The Bond – Three Young Men Learn to Forgive and Reconnect With Their Fathers here.
Mr. Sharp, 48, was dressed in a short-sleeved shirt and a dark tie on that October day. He had a soft leather bag over his shoulder and his glasses were tinted purple. He gazed ahead and began to reflect on his life.
Though as a young boy he dreaded walking home from school in this once crime-ridden neighborhood, he never foresaw himself veering off course, crippled by alcoholism after a divorce and estrangement from his children.
Listen: Our children naturally need a lot of instruction from us. But when was the last time you just hung out with your child and listened to them? Chuck Swindoll recalls such a time.
Fatherhood.org: What’s missing in the Adrian Peterson story.
Even though this story continues to unfold, I decided to write this piece now because of what’s been absent from coverage of this story — two vital reasons Peterson acted in such a stupid, harmful manner.
First, Peterson was and still is ill prepared for being a father. Let me be clear. I’m not talking about whether he loves or genuinely cares for his son. I’m also not saying he lacks any knowledge or skill in being a father. What he clearly lacks, however, is an adequate base of knowledge and skills required of a nurturing, loving father, particularly in the area of disciplining a child.
Second, Peterson lacks even a basic understanding of the difference between discipline and punishment. I’ll unpack this second reason before I return to the first one.
Dobson is the foremost authority on the latter. Otherwise, I’m not sure anybody is prepared to be a father. I certainly wasn’t. And the Missus wasn’t prepared to be a mom. We simply did our best and prayed a lot.
And what’s also missing? Few are mentioning this horrible situation.
The man charged with second-degree murder in the death last year of another one of Peterson’s children is now free on bail.
Joseph Robert Patterson, who allegedly mortally assaulted the 2-year-old son of the Minnesota Vikings running back in South Dakota, posted a $2 million bond on Friday, said Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead.
The victim lived with his mother, who was Patterson’s girlfriend.
Rough discipline vs “mortal assault”? Not even close.
The state has no use for fathers. Especially black ones.
MochaDad: 5 Tips to Help Families Discuss Serious Topics at the Dinner Table. He also recommends ShareTheTable.com.
Film School for Dads – More Amazing Reasons to Make Movies with your Kids
The Million Father March is an opportunity for Black men to show their commitment to the educational lives of their children on the first day of school and throughout the school year.
On the first day of school each year since the March began in 2004, Black fathers, relatives, men, and significant male caregivers are asked to take their children to their first day of school across the country and around the world. Fathers, grandfathers, foster fathers, stepfathers, uncles, cousins, big brothers, significant male caregivers and friends of the family will participate in the event.
While this event was created for Black men, men and women of all races, nationalities and faith backgrounds are also encouraged to take children to school on this first day. The Black Star Project also asks elementary and high schools; school districts and school boards; colleges and universities; pre-schools, nursery schools, and Headstarts; public, private, parochial and religious schools; urban, suburban and rural schools to participate in this event.
Additionally, we recruit the support of local school councils, community organizations, parent associations, faith-based organizations, government agencies, elected officials, chambers of commerce and businesses should support and participate in the Million Father March.
Where’s Obama and Sharpton and all the rest?
YOU, on the other hand, can register here to become your own community organizer, just like I did.
When men’s health doesn’t count.
When Congress formed the Office on Women’s Health in 1991, its goal was to improve women’s health by directing and coordinating women’s health research, health care services, and health education. Since then men’s health advocates have been trying to create an Office of Men’s Health, with the goal of duplicating the OWH’s success. Yet while a new bill which will help to make the OWH’s funding permanent was just passed by the House, the Men’s Health Act of 2001 (H.R. 632) remains trapped in the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on health. If not rescued soon, the bill will die when the 107th Congress adjourns this fall.
The State is becoming the husband and father of choice.
UPDATE: The linked article was early 2014, but the Men’s Health Act bill stalled in committee over 10 years ago. So, maybe it’s time to revive it?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published new data on the role that American fathers play in parenting their children. Most of the CDC’s previous research on family life — which the agency explores as an important contributor to public health and child development — has focused exclusively on mothers. But the latest data finds that the stereotypical gender imbalance in this area doesn’t hold true, and dads are just as hands-on when it comes to raising their kids.
That includes African-American fathers.
In fact, in its coverage of the study, the Los Angeles Times noted that the results “defy stereotypes about black fatherhood” because the CDC found that black dads are more involved with their kids on a daily basis than dads from other racial groups…
Lots more at the article. More:
Considering the fact that “black fatherhood” is a phrase that is almost always accompanied by the word “crisis” in U.S. society, it’s understandable that the CDC’s results seem innovative. But in reality, the new data builds upon years of research that’s concluded that hands-on parenting is similar among dads of all races. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to bust this racially-biased myth.
The Pew Research Center, which has tracked this data for years, consistently finds no big differences between white and black fathers. Gretchen Livingston, one of the senior researchers studying family life at Pew, wasn’t at all surprised by the new CDC data. “Blacks look a lot like everyone else,” she pointed out.
Well, that’s good. And it confirms my suspicions.
A while back I wrote about the music that we allow ourselves and our children listen to. Well, I’m here to tell you that they are indeed listening to the music that they hear.
History is an open book, but the people who write history books are selective. So there’s much note-worthy history that is completely ignored. Such is the case for much of “black history.” We’ve barely connected the dots — milestones, landmarks, news-makers, martyrs, and celebs — because someone always comes along and in some instances rearranges some of the dots and in others erases some of the dots altogether — declaring them to be in consequential. So many dots, a million points of light, obscured or snuffed out altogether, and we are all the worse for it.
Consider the fact in our recent history there is a photo of a black father with a baby strapped to his chest while he combs his toddler’s hair. It went “viral,” which is how history is made today. Why did this picture become so popular? Because it was deemed a cultural rarity – a social anomaly. The history of black fathers, as recorded in the popular press, is abysmal. It’s a history of absence, abuse, and neglect. And yet the chronicle of daily life testifies this is not entirely true.
Much more here.
Prison rape – the hilarious joke about men that isn’t funny. As you’ve done it unto the least of these, brothers…
Put aside for a moment that the myth of the absent black father has been debunked time and again. We won’t discuss how black fathers have comparable—and in some cases higher—levels of involvement with their children as do white and Latino fathers. The statistic that 72 percent of black children grow up without fathers, which gets thrown around a lot in these conversations, is about out-of-wedlock births; that doesn’t necessarily mean those children are being raised without a father. But I don’t want to talk about the facts right now. I just want to know if there’s a single problem in black communities that can not be blamed on missing fathers.
Bergin believes “no one in the news media has the courage” to talk about this issue. Except that the missing black father has been a point of discourse in our media, popular culture, and academia for at least the past thirty years. Every time it is injected into a conversation about the ills of black America, the speaker positions themselves as some sort of brave truth-teller unearthing never-before-heard wisdom. But it’s one of the more common and insulting tropes we have in the canon of black pathology.
One thing is true here—I’ve never heard anti-police mentality be blamed on black fatherlessness. Bergin may be a pioneer there. He’s also clueless if he believes that if suddenly every black child were to have a father present in their home at all times, anti-police mentalities among black people would subside. It’s silly to think a population that has experienced disproportionate harassment and violence at the hands of police would pass down the lesson of trusting authority to their children.
So eliminating the connection between the breakdown of families and socio-economics that lead to violence, what you’re left with is…racism?
Sean Bergin said he was suspended from News 12 New Jersey without pay on Monday and with pay on Tuesday. Bergin, a contracted employee, said the station told him that his assignments would be cut to one a week and he declined to remain in the position.
Bergin’s report, which aired Sunday, featured the widow of a black man who police say shot a rookie Jersey City police officer to death and who was then killed by officers responding to the shooting. The widow, Angelique Campbell, told Bergin that Lawrence Campbell should have killed more officers, but she later apologized.
Bergin said in his report that the underlying cause of an anti-police mentality is young black men growing up without fathers.
“It’s important to shine a light on this anti-cop mentality that has so contaminated America’s inner cities,” Bergin said after airing the widow’s comments and showing a memorial for her husband. “The underlying cause of all of this, of course, young black men growing up without fathers.”
More here. The reaction may suggest he’s hitting close to home.
The myth of the empowered working class single mother:
Instead of some natural matriarchal love-fest, it is more properly termed “multi-generational female dependency.” It’s an insidious kind of charity, because it renders men socially superfluous even as it encourages women to depend on the state for support, which creates an entire community that is a net drain on the surrounding society. Of course, there are incentives built in all along the way.
Perverse incentives by those in evil hats. More:
Instead of using welfare as a relief measure to help families through rough times, our brilliant leaders created a self-perpetuating single motherhood mill. Now, women have no incentive to become partners in productive nuclear families, and men have no incentive to be husbands and fathers.
What could go wrong?