Black men are victims of a myth that paints them as the most irresponsible and chronically absentee fathers in the nation. The fact is that African-American men are the most involved fathers.
Black men, compared to white and Hispanic fathers, were the most involved in their children’s daily lives—from talking to their kids to helping them with homework—according to a 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.
Most Black fathers live with their sons and daughters, the book All In by Josh Levs noted. About 2.5 million Black fathers live with their children, while approximately 1.7 million of them don’t live under the same roof with their kids. Many of these fathers don’t marry the mother of their children, but that doesn’t make them absentee fathers, as New York Time’s Charles Blow underscored.
In preparing their children for adulthood, African-American fathers are having serious conversations with their kids about how to navigate the pitfalls of being Black in America. Some of those conversations were shared with Time.
In conversations with their sons, many Black fathers are instructing them on how to manage encounters with law enforcement officers. They often emphasize to their sons at an early age that cops will view them as suspicious and dangerous for no other reason than the color of their skin. It’s a hard thing to tell one’s child, but their survival could depend on realizing that truth.
“I know that I have a special boy. But my reality as a father is, one day, this 10-year-old could not come home—at the hands of foolishness or hatred or misunderstanding,” Dame Drummer, a 40-year-old Oakland father said.