As we get ready to celebrate Father’s Day, the thought of so many of our young black children not having a father in their lives has me asking this question: “Are there any good black fathers out there?
It’s a legitimate question to ask as many in mainstream America still has this stereotypical view of black men as being shiftless, untrustworthy, uneducated, unemployed, womanizers, dope heads/dope dealers, thugs, criminals, hustlers, and absentee fathers. This is true of a significant number of black men, as the problems of black men in this country have been statistically well documented. However, it is not true of every black man as some believe.
What those statistics don’t tell you and what never seems to get acknowledged is the countless number of black men who embody the essence of fatherhood. In other words, good black fathers do exist in America despite what the media or society would have us believe.
Unfortunately, not enough focus is put on, and not enough credit is given to black men who are good fathers. Along with being good fathers, black men are also nurturing fathers, responsible fathers, caring fathers, loving fathers, and supportive fathers. There are more good black fathers out there than are ever talked about. They very seldom come up in our conversations.
Far too many of us always seem to lump all black men under the category of negativism that is so associated with being a black man in this country. And that’s because all of us, on a regular basis, have been exposed to the stereotypes of black men. But, in truth, there are many black men who live up to their roles as fathers and providers to their children.
The notion that good black fathers are not supposed to be is wrong, dead wrong. And that takes me back to the question – “are there any good black fathers out there? I know, and can attest to, that good black fathers do exist and are out there in my neighborhood, your neighborhood, and in everyone’s neighborhood across this country. Good black fathers are far more plentiful than one would think. When a black man takes an active role in raising his children, being with them, providing for them financially, supporting them in their activities, helping them with their homework, taking them to the park, library, or doctor, you know that he is a good father. Hey, wait a minute. He’s a GREAT FATHER.
Black men are some of the most dedicated fathers around, and we have many of them right here in Central Louisiana. They are protectors, healers, mentors, role models, disciplinarians, and teachers. Many of them have endeavored to be the same type of father to their children as their own father was to them. They are walking the walk of committed fatherhood.
Speaking of a great father, my brother, John Kelvin Ford, is one of the best fathers that I know. He is always there for his daughter, Kelvina. He takes her to the doctor, to her dance classes, and doing just about anything she asks him to do for her. He loves her very much, and there is nothing that he will not do for her. He seriously takes his role as her father to heart. My hat goes off to him for being such a wonderful and caring father.
To those black men who know what the true meaning of fatherhood is, I say “Happy Father’s Day to you, and keep on “fathering” on.
And to my father, Leonard (“Tootsie”) Ford, Sr., who passed away in 1987, I say thanks, Daddy, for everything that you did for us. You may be gone, but you will forever be in our hearts.