Saturday, June 8, 2019

Father’s Day Perspective: The Effects of Fatherlessness on Black Children

By Kenray Sunyaru

Reflecting on Father’s Day, I thought about all the Black children over the years and now I’ve come in contact with who don’t have fathers, father-figures, or positive adult male mentors. 

In most Black communities over 70% of our children are growing-up without fathers. Some researchers are citing that during slavery a Black child was more likely to grow-up living with both parents than today. 

Indeed, Black father absence is a crisis, I often hear Black children say, “my daddy gone”, I aint got no daddy”, “my daddy ghost”, and “I don’t know who my daddy is.” I often hear many young Black males say “I don’t know where my daddy is - I don’t give a fuck about him, that nigger aint shit.

I want to highlight this point, I believe the tremendous rise of homosexuality in younger Black women the past 20 years is due in part to the absence of Black fathers is their lives.  

Over the years working as a social worker I would often hear gay young Black women say “I hate my father, he was just a ‘sperm-donor’.” So these gay women who make themselves look just like men get involved with women who have a child/children where the father is absent and they become the new type substitute replacement ‘lesbian’ father.  

I thought about the reasons why so many Black fathers are absent. I hear many young Black fathers who are not involved with their children say, “I survived growing-up without a father so my child can survive without me.” 

Many Black fathers are dead due to Black-on-Black male violence; many Black fathers are in prison; many Black fathers are addicted to alcohol or other drugs; and many Black fathers are poor or unemployed and feel impotent. 

Many Black fathers are irresponsible; many Black fathers have resentment towards their child / children’s mother; many Black fathers were driven out of the home or out of the relationship by negative and damaged Black mothers. 

I understand, even before these reasons of absence, as fathers we carry deep wounds of insecurity from all the racist insults and attacks against Black manhood prior to having children. All of our unresolved hurts, pains, losses, slights, disappointments, and hardships make us emotionally vulnerable to abandon them.  

Massive Black father absence has resulted in the devaluation of fatherhood, which has serious implications for the future of Black families and communities, as professor Amos Wilson Stated: 

“The major result of fatherlessness in Black families seems not to be a confusion of sex identity, but a critically reduced ability of the children from these families when adults to successfully fulfill their roles as husbands, fathers, wives, and mothers. The lack of good role models which serve to show the children wholesome husband-wife, father-child relationships deprives the children of workable models that can be used to maintain their own family relations as adults.” 

As Black fathers when we abandon our children we contribute to the decline of their well-being. Though racial oppression is a primary factor in Black children’s poverty. We know that fatherless Black children are 5 times more likely to live in poverty.  

Black father absence is a major contributing factor producing impairments in our children. We know that Black father absence is a daunting obstacle to our children’s educational success. We know that fatherless Black girls have greater rates of teen pregnancy; are daughters are more vulnerable to sexual predators both males and females. 

We know that fatherless Black children have a much higher rate of delinquency. We know the majority of young Black males in prison grew up without fathers; they often learned their criminal activities from surrogate fathers in the streets. 

As Black men and fathers we play a tremendous developmental role in the lives of Black children. We can provide them with defense, discipline, and direction. 

As tutors we can help the graduation rates of Black youth. We can teach them about the importance of education, history, leadership, and entrepreneurship in our on-going struggle for racial progress. 

As mentors we can play a significant role in preventing Black youth involvement in gangs and violence. We can prevent more Black children from entering juvenile detention facilities. Through volunteer intervention outreach we can counsel those already detained. 

As Black fathers we must understand our children are our responsibility; our marriage or relationships with our children’s mother may end but we have to be fathers first! Being positively involved fathers is the greatest thing we can show our children!  

We must counter the Black lesbian narrative that Black fathers are replaceable sperm-donors; We must show our children that Black fathers are not superfluous and expendable; that Black fatherhood is critical to Black peoples survival, development, and progress!!!

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