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In light of Father’s Day falling on the day before Juneteenth, an amplified focus on the role of Black fathers in the upbringing of their children has been magnified.
In modern media and culture, Black fathers are frequently portrayed in a negative light, burdened with antiquated stereotypes that paint them as absent, uninvolved, uncaring, and irresponsible.
It is often assumed that they do not provide financial or emotional support to their children nor take an active role in their upbringing.
These representations paint a distorted picture of the reality of many Black American families with loving, engaged fathers who actively participate in their children’s lives and make invaluable contributions.
Recent studies have suggested that Black fathers are more involved in their children’s lives than harmful stereotypes may suggest. These studies offer a refreshing perspective on how African American families function and thrive today despite the challenges posed by systemic racism and poverty.
Systematic racism, poverty, and incarceration exert a devastating impact on the ability of Black men to become involved fathers. African American men are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement, resulting in higher incarceration rates, disrupted family bonds and economic hardship.
Furthermore, systemic racism acts as a barrier to economic mobility, leaving many Black families grappling with poverty due to limited access to education, employment opportunities, and housing.
This lack of financial stability limits the resources necessary for children to thrive, including access to healthcare and quality food.
The disproportionate number of incarcerated African Americans also places Black men at a disadvantage when it comes to providing emotional support and guidance for their children while in prison.
All of these factors contribute to the challenges faced by Black fathers in establishing a stable home environment for their children. Nevertheless, research shows that these challenges have not hindered many Black men from becoming highly involved fathers.
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded that, contrary to previous beliefs, Black fathers are extensively involved in parenting.
The study revealed that Black fathers are more likely to reside in the same household as their children and assume a greater variety of parenting roles compared to other racial groups.
According to the study, approximately 75% of Black fathers live with at least one of their children under the age of 18, surpassing any other race or ethnicity.
Moreover, these fathers hold significantly positive perceptions of themselves as parents, with nearly 80% considering themselves “very involved” or “somewhat involved” in raising their kids. The study also indicated that Black fathers are more likely to share meals with their children.
Furthermore, the study demonstrated that 70% of Black fathers engage in activities such as bathing, dressing, and assisting their children with using the restroom or changing diapers. In comparison, the figures for White fathers were 60% and for Hispanic fathers were 45%.
Another survey conducted by the CDC indicated that 33% of Black fathers had assisted their children with homework at least four times a week, which was higher than any other race or ethnicity surveyed. In addition, when it came to helping out around the house, 74% of Black fathers said that they did chores each day compared to only 61 percent for all other races combined.
These findings challenge many of the negative stereotypes surrounding the idea that Black fathers are absent and unreliable. They demonstrate not only the active involvement of many Black fathers in raising their children but also their willingness to assume additional responsibilities within the family dynamic, such as providing emotional support, assisting with chores, and aiding with homework.
Jeremy Givens, President of the Black American Dad Foundation, shared in an interview with CNN that the stereotypes about Black fathers, which constantly surround him, are contrary to his personal experience in his relationship with his father and the influential Black men he grew up around. “In my own experiences — not just with my father but with my uncles and my colleagues and my grandfathers — it was something that was polar opposite, something that was wonderful, that was inspiring, that was nourishing,” Givens stated.
The Black American Dad Foundation strives to dismantle harmful stereotypes that are often perpetuated in the media by providing positive examples of Black fathers as well as providing them with the necessary resources they need to be exceptional parents.