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His Story: Survey finds dads defy stereotypes about black fatherhood

His Story: Survey finds dads defy stereotypes about black fatherhood

His Story

On weekdays, Bryan August-Jones wakes before sunrise in his home in Watts. He gets his three sons dressed, then takes them to the baby sitter and to school. On weekends, they go on bike rides and out to eat. (Mark Boster, Los Angeles Times / December 19, 2013)

On weekdays, Bryan August-Jones wakes before sunrise in his home in Watts. He gets his three sons dressed, then takes them to the baby sitter and to school. On weekends, they go on bike rides and out to eat. (Mark Boster, Los Angeles Times / December 19, 2013)

By Emily Alpert Reyes

Defying enduring stereotypes about black fatherhood, a federal survey of American parents shows that by most measures, black fathers who live with their children are just as involved as other dads who live with their kids — or more so.

For instance, among fathers who lived with young children, 70% of black dads said they bathed, diapered or dressed those kids every day, compared with 60% of white fathers and 45% of Latino fathers, according to a report released Friday by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Nearly 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. The report was based on a federal survey that included more than 3,900 fathers between 2006 and 2010 — a trove of data seen as the gold standard for studying fatherhood in the United States. In many cases, the differences between black fathers and those of other races were not statistically significant, researchers said.

The findings echo earlier studies that counter simple stereotypes characterizing black fathers as missing in action. When it comes to fathers who live with their kids, “blacks look a lot like everyone else,” said Gretchen Livingston, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center who has previously studied the topic. And in light of the negative stereotypes about black fathers, “that is a story in itself.”

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.

Worry about black fathers has been tied to a persistent fact: Black dads are especially likely to live apart from one or more of their children — and fathers of all races tend to be less involved in the day-to-day lives of their kids when they live elsewhere.

Yet the report also revealed that among American fathers living apart from their children, black dads were at least as involved as other dads not living with their kids, or more so, according to most measures. 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 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.

Nearly half of black fathers living apart from their young children said they played with them at least several times a week, 42% said they fed or ate with them that frequently, and 41% said they bathed, diapered or helped dress them as often — rates on par with or higher than those of other men living apart from their kids.

“People think they don’t care, but we know they do,” said Joseph Jones, president of the Center for Urban Families, a Baltimore advocacy group that works with African American fathers. “We see how dads are fighting against the odds to be engaged in the lives of their children.”

The report leaves it unclear if black fathers, on the whole, are more involved than other dads. Although the survey showed that black fathers not living at home are as involved with their children as fathers of other races in similar situations, the higher percentage of black dads absent from the home could drag down the average involvement for all black fathers, other researchers pointed out.

Earlier research has shown that after parents break up, fathers become less involved as time passes. Mothers may curb the time they allow an ex to spend with their children. Fathers sometimes struggle to stay as involved if they form another family.

However, Laura Tach and fellow researchers also found that black fathers were more likely than white or Latino dads to stay close to their children after having more kids with a new partner. Because it isn’t as rare for black fathers to live away from the home, their communities might have stronger expectations that fathers will stay involved outside the “package deal” of a wife and kids, explained Tach, a professor of policy analysis at Cornell University.

“Some men think when they lose a marriage, they lose the relationship with the kids,” said Marquette University sociology professor Roberta L. Coles. “For black men that doesn’t seem to be as true.”

Osborne Lopez, a black man with Belizean roots, said there was never any question he would stay connected to his kids after his divorce.

Almost every weekday, Lopez picks up his son and daughter from school and catches up with them over dinner or a snack. On weekends, they stay over and bond over his scrambled eggs or homemade chili, see the latest Disney movie or head to the beach. Years ago, he decided to leave the Air Force to avoid missing “those pivotal moments” in their young lives.

As a black father, “I don’t want to be part of the stereotype,” he said.

emily.alpert@latimes.com

Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times

Source: LA Times

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His Story: The Reasons I Did Not Want My Wife to Be Natural

His Story: The Reasons I Did Not Want My Wife to Be Natural

His Story

beforenatural

When I met her

When I met my wife, she was everything I wanted in a woman. She was educated, Black, took great care of herself, and had long flowy hair. As a youngster, I was always encouraged by older men, my peers, and even some women to find a woman who had “good hair”. Equipped with this advice, my wife’s hair was the icing on the cake to complement her other wonderful qualities.

After dating for a while, my world got turned upside down as my wife uttered these dreadful words…”I am thinking about going natural”. At this point I thought, what is a man to do when his wife is thinking about getting rid of the icing on the cake? Now, I had seen tons of women who were natural and I admired their look (one of those women being my mother), but for some reason I did not feel natural was for my woman.

As the days went by, I progressively started researching as much as I could about the entire natural process to figure out what in the heck my wife was about to do to herself. As I learned more and more about the process, my mind started playing tricks on me. The questions in my mind began to transform from being about why my wife would want to be natural to why did I want to keep her from being natural. This is the point I started evaluating myself instead of my wife.

So the million dollar question is why did I want to keep my wife from embracing her natural hair?

Insecure

The truth is that I was insecure. I was insecure in the fact that my wife had to cut her hair. I was insecure in the fact that she would have a TWA (Tiny Weeny Afro).  And I was insecure in the fact that she could possibly look different. The underlying issue was that I was not comfortable in my own manhood, because subconsciously, I felt I would be less of a man if my wife did not have long flowy hair. It was not about her, it was about me and my insecurities.

Blinded

I was blinded by so many things including Eurocentric values, the media, and my own people.

  • Growing up in a country where the standards are based on Eurocentric values, I fell into the trap of thinking that my definition of beauty was supposed to be the same as their definition of beauty. This false sense of understanding lead to me having the spirit of oppression towards my beautiful Black sistas, including my wife. Sadly, I tried to place those Eurocentric values on my Afrocentric queens.
  • I was also blinded by the numerous images of “beauty” that were portrayed in the media. Anytime I would see a Black woman who was in movies, music videos, pageants, or on any day time television, she had long flowy hair. This played into my psyche and caused me to think that these women were the definition of beauty.
  • Finally, I was blinded by my own people (including myself) who constantly displayed self-hate. The men constantly spoke about how women with short hair or non-straight hair were nappy headed and sistas put tons of weave in their head for the purposes of “increasing their beauty”. We created the thought that we were not beautiful the way God created us.

    Cut-again

    My Wife Today

 The Reality

I am blessed to have a wife who challenged me by not giving in to my insecurities. Her journey of rediscovering herself was a pivotal point in my life because I also discovered myself through the process. I broke free of oppression and am now one of the biggest advocates for my beautiful sistas returning to their natural roots. Since the blinders are off, I would not want my wife to be any way other than natural.

Moral of the article is brothers support our beautiful natural queens and sistas embrace your natural beauty!

If you know a man who could benefit from advice about supporting our natural queens, please download and send him my free e-book Supporting Your Queen on Her Journey of Returning to Being Natural.

About the Author: Dr. Corey Guyton, “The Genuine Scholar” is dedicated to providing positive and inspirational commentary about the topics he is most passionate about. More specifically, he is very committed to giving advice about and reporting on current events, relationships, natural hair, academics, and life.

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His Story: Black on Black Crime: #LightSkin Vs #DarkSkin

His Story: Black on Black Crime: #LightSkin Vs #DarkSkin

His Story

History has taught Black America many things but the most relevant and detrimental is the impact of psychological enslavement. The idea of being oppressed without an individual laying hands on you is what keeps Black America in the state of status quo self- hate. I wrote a piece on Black on Black crime and I asked how do we end this epidemic and I received great responses. Recently, I overheard a conversation about Light Skin vs. Dark skin. This has become popular in recent times due to videos on Vine and other media outlets. The basis of the conversation is centered on people light skin being viewed as a blessing and dark skin is a basically a curse. Numerous thoughts ran through my head, like should I take out my belt? But that would probably result in me being forcefully put on the other side of my desk at my job as a federal case manager. The next two thoughts that popped into my head were: (1) when did black people become the slave masters that oppress other blacks and (2) Did the theory of the curse of Ham come back into the forefront? Black on Black crime has moved beyond the violence, which is still a crucial issue, to the psychological aspect. We are keeping an outdated ideology alive every time we hashtag our skin color. #Teamlightskin vs. #Teamdarkskin is what psychological enslavement looks like in the age of vining and self-hating.

The idea of slaves out-numbering slave masters on a plantation but refusing to over take and free themselves by any means necessary always startled me when I was learning about slavery, but it was not until I learned the psychological aspect of making a slave that things became clear. People commonly attach the making of a slave to Willy Lynch, but we now know that he was a fictional character. The means of breaking down an individual remains true. Make them hate themselves more than we ever could is the means of breaking down an individual. As I sat and listened to this conversation I was not only frustrated by the hierarchy that black people and society as a whole placed on the color of ones skin but how it has created a generation of youth that are only concerned with the look of the world and not the seeds that grew into racism. As I watch Vine videos it puts into perspective the value we place on our own history. We were enslaved because of the color of our skin and our unfamiliarity with the cultural norms the original colonies established.

The violence is not brutal but viral and spreading like wild fire. Malcolm X warned our grandparents about our inability to love ourselves more than we love the people who are perpetuating the crimes against us. This is the outcome of the second-class citizenship that we accepted.  This is the outcome of allowing our history to be taught to us through the eyes of racists. This is the outcome of wanting a desegregated lunch counter and not our own diner. This is the outcome of allowing corporate to steal hip- hop and this is the outcome of not having a strong family structure. Light skin vs. Dark skin has to stop because we are continuing to preserve an ideology that said everything darker than white skin is evil. So before you watch the next Vine, Worldstarhiphop, etc. video just remember that blacks both #lightskin and #darkskin were all strung up the same tree.

About the Author:

Mr. Sharif Rasheed graduated from Wright State University with a degree in Sociology. He is the youngest person to be honored with the university program’s ‘Outstanding

Alumni Award.’ He periodically goes back to lecture to students about  psychological slavery, the black male image and the effects of hip-hop on today’s society.

Mr. Rasheed has a background working with troubled youth and drug addicts. He has worked with both male and female juveniles. He uses his experiences to enhance his writing today. He has been featured on sites like ‘Urban Media Today,’ ‘Pittsburgh Urban Media,’ ‘The Soul Pitt,’ and an original piece was also published in ‘LA RAW’ Magazine.

He is also locally involved with his community in the city of Pittsburgh. In 2012, he held a ‘Black Dolls Rock’ toy drive that donated black dolls to young girls whose parents are incarcerated. He also previously held a ‘Save the Youth’ rally that attracted media attention and was seen on the local news.

Mr. Rasheed’s thinking comes from a very relatable place that reminds you of the power we all hold within ourselves. His passion extends from personal experience and his heart is all from his mother, who he gives his greatest accolades to.

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