The Future of African American Fatherhood
My posts this semester have focused primarily on the possible causes for the high rate of absentee fathers in the African American community. One thing I have not discussed is the future of parenting within the African American community.
It goes without saying that if we continue our current trends, the African American community and our community as a country will continue to suffer. Children without fathers will continue to face higher risk situations than their counterparts in two-parent homes. Children will continue to develop emotional issues and fail social challenges. Statistics over the years have undoubtedly shown us that two-parent homes are more beneficial than single-parent homes. Nevertheless, statistics have also revealed to us that African American families have double the rate of single-parent (absentee father) homes. Previous posts have discussed possible reasons that contribute to the higher rate of female run homes—however, at what point must we stop looking for reasons and begin developing possible solutions. Pointing out the problem is often the easiest thing to do when compared to solving the problem.
The future of African American fatherhood is in a very dangerous place. The fact that society recognizes the many problems facing African American fathers but we have not taken active steps to help rectify the situation represents this dangerous place African American fatherhood is headed. In A Statement from the Morehouse Conference on African American Fathers: Turning the Corner on Father Absence in Black America, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, William Raspberry is quoted saying
Are Black fathers necessary? You know, I’m old and I’m tired, and there
are some things that I just don’t want to debate anymore. One of them is
whether African American children need fathers. Another is whether
marriage matters. Does marriage matter? You bet it does. Are Black fathers
necessary? Damn straight we are.
We know that black fathers are a necessity. We know that our African American children are happier, healthier, and more successful when they have both parents in the home. Now we must determine how we will fight the current downward spiral and increase the number of black fathers. We must make an adamant stand and force our leaders to help deal with this issue. If we don’t, we will face a dismal future.