Whitewashing black fatherlessness helps no one.

While doing research for an offline project, I ran across this article advertising a book on the impact of fatherlessness on the lives of black men who have produced famous and widely read  literature. These portions jumped out at me:

“One question pulls this together: What is the impact on black men when their fathers are absent?” said Green, who is also an associate professor at UNCG. “It’s quite significant, but it’s not debilitating. It doesn’t mean life is over for them, that they’re ‘at risk’ or that they have a target on them.”

Later, the author continues:

The success of the profiled authors proves that the absence of a paternal figure doesn’t have to be an insurmountable obstacle, Green found.

“I’m not saying in this book that not having a father doesn’t make a tremendous impact, because it does,” Green said. “I’m not saying they will all become award-winning writers or the president of the United States. What I am saying is that they have a chance to be something – and we need to encourage that.”

It is a monumental mistake to use Barack Obama, Malcolm X, Langston Hughes and Richard Wright as templates for the typical black man who grows up without his father, which is what this book does. Exceptional cases are just that; exceptional. That we know their names at all is reason enough to discount them as indicative of the average man, regardless of race.

This is not helpful.

At all.

 

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3 thoughts on “Whitewashing black fatherlessness helps no one.

  1. Barack Obama was raised by his step father until he was ten, and then by his maternal grandmother and grandfather until he gradauated high school. He might not have grown up with his biological father, but he was parented by men.

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  2. He might not have grown up with his biological father, but he was parented by men.

    Which just underscores again WHY this book/article is damaging and inaccurate. Whether it was the wrong information about the parentage of BO, or downplaying the fallout of male fatherlessness (which was the point of the misleading information), it does not point a good or beneficial conclusion.

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  3. It strikes me that if one looks at places in society where there is yet a big racial divide–from corporate boardrooms and the professions to quarterback and coach’s positions in football and the infield in baseball–it’s largely in places where Dad is the one to teach a kid how to study, how to interact with men, how to read a defense, how to play shortstop, how to treat a lady, and the like. And where the “pigmentally impaired” have lost dads, you see the same sad story.

    Along these lines, I remember that when my parents divorced, it was really a few years after my stepdad had married my mom that I clued in to why my mom responded so well to how he treated her. Mrs. Bubba responded well to me not that long afterwards. So know this kind of thing can be overcome, but it takes a lot of doing.

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