BY: DR. JAWANZA KUNJUFU
I believe one of the greatest problems facing the Black community is fatherlessness. If you at look at problems such as: incarceration, drug addiction, gangs, teen pregnancy, dropping out, crime, suspension, retention, and special education, the common cause was fatherlessness. Every child needs a father and no one needs him more than Black boys. Only 28% of Black youth have their fathers in the home. In 1920, it was 90% and in 1960 it was 80%. Neither slavery nor northern migration created Black fatherlessness.
It is very difficult proposing to your future wife and raising a family when you are unemployed. In 1920, America needed Black men to work farms. In 1960, America needed Black men to work in factories. The million dollar question today is what does America need from Black men? Is the answer prisons? Could America operate prisons without Black men who are almost 50% of their population? The billion dollar question we must ask ourselves is what can we do to put Black men back to work? How can a people earn over $900 billion and have almost half its men unemployed? The answer is when the Black community only spends 3% of its income with Black businesses.
While the economy changed for all men, 89% of Asian children, 75% of White children and 59% of Hispanic children have their fathers in the home. Could it be the above communities spend more than 3 percent of their income with their businesses? African Americans could almost eliminate their unemployment rate if they simply spent 10 percent of their income with Black businesses.
How do we explain two Black fathers who are both laid off from the same company with two completely different reactions? The first father allows society to determine his manhood, husbandry and fatherhood. He believes if he is unemployed he is worthless. Therefore, he drinks and smokes more, abuses his family and sells drugs. The second father derives his worth from God. He believes he will always be the husband and father regardless of his employment status. While looking for work, he cleans the house, makes dinner and checks homework. He decides to enroll in college and sell newspapers. The first father is now emotionally separated from his children and is incarcerated. The second father is now closer to his family, better educated and now has a job with the newspaper.
We have six types of fathers. First, we have sperm donors who make babies, but do not raise them. We could solve most of our problems tonight if we could rid ourselves of sperm donors. Next, we have no show daddies. They promise their child they will pick them up and don’t show. We cannot blame this on racism. Third, are ice cream daddies. They feel guilty because they do not spend time with their child. Therefore, they buy their child whatever they want.
Next, are the divorced dads. They would like to do more for their child, but their ex prevents this from happening. Next, are step -fathers. I hate this term, these men check homework, pay bills and nurture their children, but the sperm donor is called father. Last, are fathers who have never left their children and either stayed with their mate or she encourages his involvement after the divorce. Real fathers never divorce their children!
We encourage every man to be a responsible father. There has never been a time when we did not need our fathers like today. We salute you dad, Happy Father’s Day!