With Father’s Day coming up this Sunday I felt that it would be a good idea to discuss Fatherhood on this Know Thyself Community Wednesday!

The following is an essay written by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu one of the leading educators in America that says:

            Remember when Black fathers taught their boys how to tie their shoestrings, catch a ball, fish, check their homework, and spank them when they acted up? Remember when Black fathers tried to braid their daughter’s hair, read her a bedtime story, walked her to school, drove her to the ice cream parlor, and told her not to compromise with those “fast” boys? What happened to those “good old days”?

            Some say slavery destroyed the Black family, Slavery ended in 1865 and 90 percent of the Black youth still had their fathers in the home. Others say it was the mass migration from the south to the north and the great industrial revolution. The reality is that in 1960, 80 percent of African American youth still had their fathers in the home. We must admit that when fathers left the farm for the factory, their children saw them less, but they were still in the home.

            Some say that the decline in fathers is due to welfare, crack, prisons, and a lack of morals. Did welfare replace the Black man with “the man” (named government)? Is there a war on drugs or Black men? Seventy-four percent of drug users are white, but 70 percent convicted of possession are Black and Hispanic. How do we reconcile those figures? In 1980, 100,000 African American males were involved with the penal system, in 2006 it was 1.5 million and 70 percent are drug related.

            How are fatherhood statistics in other communities? In the Asian family, 85 percent of their children have their fathers present. It is 75 percent in White families and 59 percent among Hispanics. Why is the rate so low among Black fathers? Did the change in the economy, ineffective schools, welfare, crack, prison and lack of morals have a greater effect on Black men? Why?

            In reviewing the social ills, grade retention, special education, illiteracy, suspension, alcoholism, drug addiction, teen pregnancy, crime, incarceration, etc. the common thread was fatherlessness. How do we circumvent this dis-ease? Ironically, fatherlessness, transcends income and education.