We Have Fathers Too

Me and my Dad at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Walking home from work yesterday, I saw something that I see all the time (New England weather permitting): parents playing with their kids. Specifically, Black parents playing with their kids. More specifically, Black fathers playing with their kids.

It occurred to me, that the writers of the narrative that says Black men are uninvolved in their families do not live in my neighborhood or neighborhoods like mine. They are so far removed from Blackness it is truly remarkable how anyone ever allowed them to be the authority on it.

The writers of that narrative also author its sinister sequels. They pen the stories that attempt to justify the killing and incarceration of our friends, husbands and fathers. They paint a picture of Black and Latino neighborhoods broken by the absence of Black and Latino men and weaponize that image to rob them from us.

While I’m sure someone out there will say that my anecdotal evidence is not the plurality of data, I know what I see. I see Black fathers in my neighborhood as active and caring members of their families. I see my family and I don’t have a single uncle or cousin that I would call a deadbeat dad. (And even if I did, since when does one race or ethnicity have the monopoly on family dysfunction? I thought hardship and heartbreak were universal.) I see my extended family and the many strong and caring fathers and husbands that have supported and loved their families unceasingly.

I will not allow the media or those with regressive social agendas — that would be too scared to step foot into my neighborhood without riot gear — to be the voice of what it means to be Black in America.

It is not your story.

You do not get to tell it.

We can speak for ourselves.