Black Fatherhood and How Class, Ethnicity, Education and Unemployment Status Affect Their Roles in Their Children’s Lives
affiliation not provided to SSRN
August 9, 2010
Class, ethnicity, education, and employment status are all factors that influence a father’s involvement in his children’s lives. Children have a healthier self-image when they know the identity of their father, and he is actively engaged in their development. Unfortunately, drug abuse, jail, and socio-economic status of fathers decrease their interaction with their children. Statistically, 85% of all African-American children will spend at least five years of their lives without a father present in their home. Sometimes it’s the mother’s choice to deny the father involvement because she is unsure of his true identity or does not want to identify him. For instance, 65% of birth certificates for women below the age of 20 do not verify the identity of the father. Furthermore, the mothers may no longer desire contact with the birth father, or she has a new man in her life. There are five major theories used to examine black families: Deficit, Matriarchy, Afrocentric, Ecological, Choice or Exchange. These theories clarify the value and the roles that some black men play in their progeny’s lives. However, many fathers reject the myth of the deadbeat dad and other negative stereotypes attributed to black fathers. These men claim that the media depicts black fathers in a negative way by distorting, minimizing or ignoring their roles. However, despite the negative perception of black fatherhood in the media, there are many black fathers who credit their own fathers and other positive male role models for showing them how to successfully raise a child.
working papers series
Date posted: August 9, 2010 ; Last revised: August 13, 2010
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