The Home Front

Politics, culture, and American life — from the family perspective.

What’s the Problem with Black Fathers?


Now that I’ve adopted a baby from Africa and brought her to a new home in rural Tennessee, I’m looking at racial issues in a totally fresh and more serious light. That’s why Rick Banks caught my attention. He’s recently caused a stir with his book, Is Marriage for White People?, in which he talks about the marriage crisis in the black community. And he’s at it again.

In his new column, “What’s the Problem with Black Fathers?” he stirs the pot:

African American fathers are often reviled as the most uninvolved group of parents in our nation. Recently, after black teenagers in Philadelphia committed a series of assaults and acts of vandalism, Mayor Michael Nutter singled out African American fathers for especially harsh criticism. “Part of the problem in our community, the black community,” he said, is that “we have too many men making too many babies that they don’t want to take care of.” Comedian Bill Cosby and then-presidential candidate Barack Obama have similarly castigated black fathers for, in the words of Obama, having “abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men.”

It is true that many black fathers are absent from their children’s lives. But it is not because they don’t care about them. It is more because they are not married to the child’s mother.

Why does this matter, and what can we do about it? Read his suggestions here.


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