Week 9

“They were fathers, vulnerable and present, and their lives were full and important. None of this fullness, however, was reflected in mainstream media or the broader culture. These men, in the context of fatherhood, were almost invisible.” The author of “Fathers”, Robyn Price Pierre, states her personal experiences and memories of black men in comparison the image spread by the media, or lack thereof in this case. For many people the stereotype of the invisible black father is something they cannot relate to their personal lives. Similar to Robyn, lots of mothers and children have great relationships with their fathers, and even though this is true the behaviors from the general public when they see a black family engaging with a present father reveal the true attitudes that exist.  

“The divorce rate is 49% in the US, buts it’s only black dads that are painted as deadbeats. We have allowed society to say that we are absentee fathers, when in fact, we are just as dedicated to our children as white fathers.” The 100 Black Dads project features similar quotes like this one from a man named Tim that describe what it’s like to be a black father. Statistics prove modern myths false all the time, but it is hard to bring the truth to light when there is much effort put in by the media and systemic racism to cripple black fathers and claim them as less than fathers of other races.  

Structural racism in relation to black fathers can be seen in the disproportional sentencing of black men to prisons compared to other men.” Once convicted, black offenders receive longer sentences compared to white offenders. The U.S. Sentencing Commission stated that in the federal system black offenders receive sentences that are 10 percent longer than white offenders for the same crimes. The Sentencing Project reports that African Americans are 21 percent more likely to receive mandatory-minimum sentences than white defendants and are 20 percent more like to be sentenced to prison[4].” The Southern Coalition website gives many statistics like this one that prove black men are serving more time for the same offences. Convictions that result in prison time cause so much harm to the family structure, and the results of this statistic have a huge effect on the number of black women that are single parents as well.  Despite all of this hard evidence, the myth continues because on average members of society are consuming more non-scholarly media than content that can be proven true. For people who hold racist stereotypes as truthful, the media makes it very easy to keep those harmful ideas alive, and so they persist. Systemic racism also thrives within law enforcement and various sectors of government, so with that people in powerful positions are allows to judge and affect black families based on the stereotypes and myth that they believe to be true.  

As an American, and especially African American, it is important to never forget the policies and ethics that this country was built on and constantly works to keep lawful. The legacy of slavery has disrupted the black family in so many ways, and even though they are not always as blatant as the separation of families during slavery, they work now in a manner that is easier to overlook and because of this lots of people will still negate facts about loving and involved black fathers. In the readings from this week, there were common themes of what black fathers found necessary to tell their young children as they live their lives. The talk is not only necessary in times of extreme police brutality, but many men discussed teaching their kids how to behave in front of authority figures and when in public. Large media never really talks about this side of black families until something tragic has happened, but it is important to start showing the effects of racism so that myths can be debunked. Essentially, the news serves only those in power anyways, so it is important as a citizen to understand this and do research that is truthful.  


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