President Obama helping to break stereotypes of Black fatherhood
By Roger Caldwell
Sunday was Father’s day, and President Obama is urging fathers to get more involved in their children’s life. President Obama is a great role model for all fathers, but he is especially an inspiration to Black Fatherhood. There is love in his relationship with Michelle, and we also experience love when he interacts with his daughters.
In his weekly address Obama said, “Because there’s nothing more precious in life than the time we spend with our children. There’s no better feeling than knowing that we can be there for them, and provide for them, and help give them every shot at success.”
President Obama tries extra hard to be a great father, because his own father was absent. Obama says he tries to be the father and husband his family didn’t have. “He says being able to have a child doesn’t make you a man, but having the courage to raise one does.”
Black fathers in America are portrayed by the media as baby makers, and disinterested in fulfilling their roles as fathers. There are stories in the media were some Black fathers have 15 children and some have over 20 children. This gives America the impression that Black men have a variety of partners, and they are only interested in making babies, and the single mothers are forced to go on welfare.
“We must realize that much of the story told about the black man presents him as a thug, caveman and half-animal who doesn’t have the capacity for responsibility or love. What’s entirely unfortunate is that some black men chose to believe these images about themselves, and it’s time to start reframing the conversation,” says Dr. Boyce Watkins.
This stereotype is believed by everyone in America, including African Americans, because this is all they see. When African Americans hear celebrities such as Bill Cosby or Don Lemon berates young Black fathers, we begin to think that the majority of Black fathers are not engaged in the raising of their children. At times it even appeared that President Obama was shaking his finger at Black fathers, and telling them that they need to do a better job at taking care of our children.
As the media continued to promote the story of the uneducated and shiftless baby making daddy, a stereotype was created, and this behavior became the rule as opposed to the exception. If Black folks continue to allow mainstream media to tell our story, it will the majority of times be negative.
It is time to elevate examples of engaged Black fathers in America and stamp out the negative stereotypes. According to new data, published by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the black family is more complete than is thought. In the most recent data fathers are involved with the education of their children as the mothers, and African American fathers included.
It is time for the Black Media to help change the rhetoric and messages, and start sharing the stories of positive role models in our communities. There are fathers and organizations in our community that mentor young men, and churches that are engaged in single mother households. There will always be wonderful Black couples, and as more Black men learn the positive men organizations in our community, more Black fathers will get involved.
As Black men, we must begin to tell our story to mainstream America. In life there is no all good and there is not all bad. There is diversity in the Black community, and the majority of Black fathers are trying to help raise their children. Some have made mistakes and don’t live with the mother, but they all have the capacity to love, and their children mean the world to them.