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.