Ten things about African American fathers you didn’t know

Toward the second half of the 19th century, fathers in the U.S. moved away from farms and small business to the emerging industrial economy seeking work in big cities.  This left the responsibility of raising children to the mothers and narrowed the perception of the father as one of breadwinner and provider.  As long as the father was earning a paycheck, he was considered a good father.  A male who financially provided a good home and the single parent earning income became the accepted norm.  Any man who did not provide for his family financially was considered a bad father.  This viewpoint of a good father/bad father based on just providing has negatively affected research and perceptions of African American males, who have unfairly become increasingly underemployed and unemployed.  Consequently, African American fathers have been historically cast as poor husbands and bad fathers who do not provide for or raise their children.  How many of you knew the truth?

1.  African American fathers are more likely to help with domestic chores such as cooking and
changing diapers than any other ethnic group.

2.  African American fathers choose not let the media define them as men or as fathers.

3. African American fathers have been known to have their children take cell phone pictures of
their homework when they have to work late.

4. African American often fathers learn to parent based on what not to do when raised by
absentee or uninvolved fathers.

5. African American fathers in the home are less likely to have sons who repeat a grade and less
likely to have daughters who suffer from depression.

6. Twenty-one percent of African American fathers marry and live with their child’s mother
within 9-10 years after a premarital birth.

7. African American fathers pass on social capital in their parenting strategies.

8.  African American fathers often treat their stepchildren as their own natural born children.

9. African American fathers understand that a relationship with their children’s mother is
important to their success as a father.

10. African American fathers become more religious after the birth of their first child.

  • Wyatt

    I like this post Theodore, but put some facts and stats around your information. Keep em’ coming. Thanks.

    • Justin Cascio

      Agreed, I’d like to see a source for these figures!

      • Theodore Ransaw Ph.D

        This information was collected from various parts of my dissertation. Too many references to post here but you can start with:

        Cazenave, N. A. (1979). Middle-income Black fathers: An analysis of the provider role.
        TheFamily Coordinator, 28(4), 583-593.

        can find my references at: ProQuest/UMI, The tittle is A Father’s
        Hands: African American Fathering Involvement and The Educational
        Outcomes of Their Children.

  • Vino

    Thank You Brother. Lord knows we need more positive pictures of us.

  • Mshappilymarried

    I am sorry, and I would love to believe that this is true about our Black men…Lord knows that we need our men to be role models for our children! But I do not find any of this to be true. I don’t know where or what part of the country where these fathers reside, but I have not seen ANY of this to be true from where I am from or anywhere else where my relatives reside. Not trying to be cynical but really. That is why a great percentage of our young men turn to gangs, violence, etc. because there are no REAL Role models. These kids (boys) are using rappers, reality tv stars and celebrities as their role models today. Most men are too busy getting high, drinking, being involved in domestic violence, etc. Some or most have mental issues that they are dealing with. Some refuse to deal with them at all! It is just the times we are living in. My grandchild is being raised by an uncaring, nasty tempered, father who does nothing for his son (2 years old) but occasionally buy him clothes and toys. The child is afraid of him and will not go to him! I was raised by a man who noway exhibits ANY of the 10 points above. For every 2 truly great role models there are 10 that are dysfunctional. Not saying that all of our young men or boys are going to turn out bad, but the truth of the matter is that we are seeing a FAST decline of men doing the right thing by their children, not the other way around.

    • Theodore Ransaw Ph.D

      I see that you are truly concerned and I feel that you are upset about
      the issue and/or the possibility of positive Black men and great Black
      fathers. But if you notice, my post is not about role models per say
      but fathers. Not the same thing, but similar. Someone who has a child
      and who had a parent is not the same thing. There are many positive
      role models, and many positive fathers. However they are often obscured
      by overrepresentation of negative messages. Just as my research
      suggests, (you can look many of my sources from my dissertation if you
      truly want to know where these fathers are) fathers and real men do NOT
      let the media or others define them. Real fathers are in barbershops,
      working at home in the garage and doing things like coaching little
      league soccer. All places that garner little media attention. Real
      fathers are out doing their thing! Please do not let your pain obscure
      the fact many Black fathers are indeed fathers and need support.

  • frio90-olkj7

    yeah right–what planet are you on

  • Mesa Turner

    I agree, I’ve had a wonderful father and husband that compliment your statements. Wonderful article!

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