Program Success Magazine June 2021 | Page 2

The Truth About Black Fatherhood

Stereotypes about Black fathers

The stereotype of Black fathers as “ absent ” and Black children as “ fatherless ”— first introduced over 50 years ago — has , like many racial stereotypes , refused to die .
In 1965 , white sociologist and Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan published a report called The Negro Family : The Case For National Action . This report claimed that increasing rates of “ out-of-wedlock ” births and single-mother homes among African-Americans signaled the coming destruction of Black families , and these trends were to blame for many of the issues facing the Black community in America . ( The report has been roundly criticized by many race scholars .)
Today , around 70 % of Black children are born to parents who aren ’ t married . ( Rates of “ out-of-wedlock ” births have , of course , increased among all races since 1965 .) The idea that racial disparities in education , employment , income , incarceration , and more can be blamed not on structural racism , but on this “ absence ” of black fathers has been parroted by pundits and politicians alike .
Even Black public figures have shared these statistics . In 2008 , President Barack Obama said during his Father ’ s Day speech that “ more than half of all black children live in single-parent households … children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime ; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison . They are more likely to have behavioral problems , or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves . And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it .”
This stereotype ignores clear evidence that Black fathers are in fact more involved in their children ’ s care , and their lives , than fathers of other races .

The truth : Black fathers are more involved

We cannot equate the number of unmarried dads to the number of “ fatherless ” children . First of all , marriage rates don ’ t necessarily reflect the number of Black fathers living with their children ; as writer Josh Levs points out , the majority of Black dads ( 2.5 million of around 4.2 million ) do live with their kids , even if they ’ re not married to their partner .