Young Black fathers

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

June 21 will be Father Day, where fathers are celebrated and honored. There is no doubt that most fathers are adored, appreciated, and loved by their wives and children. Historically, fathers have been represented as the major breadwinners and heads of the family. For the most part fathers have been the disciplinarian and voice of reason. Fathers have been models for their sons and the heart of their daughters, who literally have them in the palm of their hands.

However things have changed significantly with the new definition of a family that encompasses same sex mates or marriages. But regardless, the designated father will continue to be celebrated and honored with presents and recognition.

Fathers are loved regardless of race, color, religion or sexual preference. However many would argue that many young Black fathers get a bad rap when questioned about their legitimacy as a good father. Often the media portrays a lot of young Black fathers as deadbeat fathers who don’t care about their children. Why are young Black men labeled poster persons for deadbeat or absent fathers?

As an African American man, I know more Black young men who are passionate about their love for their children. But because of conflicting issues, they are denied time with their children because of their inability to provide child support at times. Let’s be real and address the fact that many young Black men don’t have adequate paying jobs to take care of themselves much less a family. While some would argue that isn’t an excuse, the system should not penalize young men from being with their children because of lack of funds to adequately support the child— especially when the mother is getting subsidized with federal financial assistance. This situation is not made any easier when you have ‘baby momma drama’ with mothers using the child as a pawn to get back at the father for whatever reason.

Many young people don’t think about the financial responsibility of bringing a child into this world, but that doesn’t mean they love the child any less—especially young Black fathers. Personally, most young Black men I know have eyes that lighten up when they talk about their children. Instead of criticizing these young men, offer them parenting classes or mentors to help them navigate a system that seems to penalize the man over the woman. Now remember it took two people to produce a child.

While a single parent heads many Black households, there are African American married couples raising loving, productive and spiritually lead children. I don’t think there is anything more beautiful than seeing the interaction of a Black father in church holding and nurturing their young children, especially a young girl who hugs and kisses her father like he is pure chocolate.

Have you ever noticed that young Black children call their father Daddy not Father (father is so formal)? If eyes and actions are any indication of the love someone has for someone, you wouldn’t label Black men as insensitive, stoic, or uncaring when it comes to their children. It just isn’t so.

Father’s Day is promoted commercially to encourage families to spend lots on money on fathers to show love, but some fathers could care less about materialistic goods. They just want to be with the ones they love. That’s the best present you can give them. Families don’t equate a father’s love for his child according to the material things he can provide. The child loses in the end because nothing can replace the time a parent, especially a father, spends with their child. Let’s revisit laws and policies that keep fathers from their children.