When it comes to stereotyping black fathers, the media would leave you to believe that they’re all shiftless, non-child support paying and never spend time with their children. But a new study revealed that black fathers are more active in their children’s lives than any other race. Out of the black fathers who live with their children, 75% of black fathers compared to 60% white and 45% Latino would help with tasks such as bathing and diapering. The study, which involved 3,900 men between 2006 and 2010, also showed that 35% of black fathers who lived with their young children said they read to them daily, compared with 30% of white dads and 22% of Latino dads.
It wasn’t just the fathers living with their children who proved to take an active role in the child’s lives, but also those fathers who weren’t in the house. Black dads who lived outside of the house were at least as involved as other dads who didn’t live with their kids, or more so. Among fathers living apart from older children, more than half of black fathers said that several times a week or more, they talked to their kids about their day — a higher percentage than among white or Latino dads living separately from older children, the report showed.
In Watts, Bryan August-Jones battles the stereotype daily. Every weekday, he wakes his three sons before sunrise, gets them dressed, then ferries them to the baby sitter and to school. On weekends, he takes them bicycling or to Red Lobster, which his youngest son — “a little fancy guy” — prefers over McDonald’s.
His Latina mother-in-law and her family think black men cannot be good fathers, but “I prove them wrong all the time,” August-Jones said.
Another father, who doesn’t live with his children also tries to defy the stereotype of an absentee dad:
In Bellflower, Jason Franklin phones his young daughters daily during the week. The girls stay with him on weekends. Franklin remembers that when his own parents parted, his father sometimes skipped visits “out of spite.” He vowed not to do the same thing to his children when he and their mother split up.
“Even if I don’t see them every day, my role as a father doesn’t change,” Franklin said.
“NewsOne Now,” Fatherhood Corp. founder Kenneth Braswell says that black fathers are vital and active in their children’s lives, despite negative stereotypes and reiterated that media images make up for a minority of black fathers.
“I think we get way caught up in the drama,” Braswell said. “We watch way too much Maury in the daytime. We listen to too many tabloid stories and the horror stories of child support and visitation.”