Black Fathers will either "find a way or make one," as the great African general Hannibal Barca said years ago. Fathers could be the one who teaches you about good nutrition and helps out financially when times are tough for your family. Your dad might take care of all these things on his own without anyone having ever told him what he should do as a parent—he just knows them by heart because they're part of being human!
My father was an excellent role model in areas like education, music, and community involvement (he raised funds for local choral groups). He was a profound man named Irving Bunton and you can read more about him on our family post, "Irving Bunton: The Man, The Maestro, the Musician." He was a "girldad" and I was and will always be daddy's girl.
In the United States, Black men are often overlooked and left out of the conversation on fatherhood, leaving them feeling unseen and forgotten. In this post, we will discuss the importance of acknowledging the fact that Black men exist and add significant value to our lives. To help these fathers feel more supported, we will reference community based programs and books that can assist in reclaiming their narrative, provide access to health care services, and help them become their best selves. Many programs also offer education classes to support their journey as fathers, husbands, and father figures for their children.
Media Negatively Targets Black Men
In today's media, Black men are often portrayed as criminals. They're typecast as the ones who steal, cheat and shoot people. The reality is that all communities have a few bad apples who do things that are not acceptable by society, but it's how those bad apples are portrayed in the media that affects how others view them.
When you see a white man on television committing crimes or being arrested for something he did wrong, it's usually not presented as if all white men are criminals because of his actions. But when you see someone who's Black getting into trouble with the police or doing something illegal on TV, too many automatically assume "all Black men must be like him because they look similar to each other and live in similar environments." This mindset is dangerous because it reflects a stereotype created that unfairly stigmatizes, and dehumanize. Black men. It also breeds a perpetual state of fear and hate. Though, as profoundly stated in the song by Childish Gambino, "This is America," those who know better must direct our resources to alleviate and remedy this.
For Father's Day, I want to take a moment to share with you some of my favorite gifts and resources for Fathers, as well as some that I hope will inspire you to show your dad just how much you love them!
A website called, therapyforblackmen.org made a special announcement saying, "As of April 20th, 2022, Therapy for Black Men has been able to provide $30,000 and counting to sponsor free therapy for our Men thanks to the kindness of our donors. Paradigm shift: We are breaking down barriers that often keep our Black Men out of therapy." The world was traumatized after the murder of George Floyd. Certainly other Black men felt the pain in a deeper way. I heard many mention that each time they leave the house, they fear for their lives. It is reasonable to expect some to need the assistance of trained professionals. As friends and family members, it's our job to let them know they deserve get whatever help is needed to bring balance to their lives. Also check out https://blackmenheal.org for mental health assistance.
White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL) https://whitecoats4blacklives.org is another great resource. They believe that "in addition to promoting diversity and inclusion, academic medical centers must also commit to policies and practices that intentionally promote racial justice." Their "The Free Radical" magazine is an online source for political education since 2017.
One Hundred Black Men (OHBM) is a a 501 (c)3 organization that gives out scholarships, supports entrepreneurship, and sponsors wellness initiatives. The website https://www.ohbm.orgwww.ohbm.org. While they start in 1963 in New York, there are chapters across the country.
This Father's Day, why not do something positive for the community?
Learn about black owned businesses. Support your local community by shopping locally and buying from a Black-owned businesses. This way, you'll be supporting the men and women who are already making a difference in their communities—not just financially, but by being leaders themselves! You can also support your local organizations that are important to you by donating money or volunteering your time. Frontline International Bookstore is a longtime Chicago bookstore that has served the community with a wealth of knowledge since the late 1980's and deserves our ongoing support.
Donate to causes that matter most to you. If there's an organization or cause that means a lot to you, donate some money or other resources toward them this Father's Day! Organizations like Black United Fund is an example. The Illinois chapter's website is, https://bufi.org/. They are a non-profit, tax-exempt federated organization and a "social movement designed to improve the quality of life for African Americans through reliance on self-help at the local community level." Ask your employer about donation matching to increase your support for these organizations.
Learn more about influential people of color who have made positive impacts on society as a whole.* Read books about prominent figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass...the list goes on!* Then pass along this knowledge by teaching others what these heroes did so we can continue building upon their legacy of excellence and hope within our communities.* Be an active agent of change within both yourself and others!
The Importance of Positive Black Role Models
Black fathers are a son’s first and most important role model. They are needed to teach the vital importance of being a good man to himself, his family and community. It's easiest to pick this up when observing the behavior modeled by fathers or father figures.
"Father figures" are men who demonstrate what it means to be a good father, husband and friend through their actions. It's important to have father figures in the lives of young people because he'll teach you the things that you need to know as an adult.
In general, father figures and other black role models are full of courage and can inspire others by their behavior. Many black role models even sacrificed their lives for our freedom! If your child wants to be like his father, then he should know that being a good role model means:
Knowing your purpose.
Knowing your history.
Being honest, fair and trustworthy.
Doing your best at whatever job you have.
Understanding the importance of community.
Maintaining good mental, physical and spiritual health.
African culture has much to share about the evolution of males from boys, to men, to elders. There's much to learn from our ancestors. Learning about traditions such as those reflected in the principles of Kwanzaa are very useful in day-to-day activities.
Online Resources for Black Men
In addition to those listed in this post are:
Please note: all books mentioned in this post can be purchased at afriwarebooks.com. Please visit our category on Black Fathers or our previous post, "2021 Book List and Gifts for Black Fathers" for a more complete list of books and gifts. If you do not find it on our site, please inquire to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
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