‘Bet on Black’ Challenges Stereotypes of Black Fatherhood

A new anthology of personal essays seeks to expand dialogue about African-American fatherhood

By Akiba Solomon Oct 07, 2013

Between the oft cited statistic that shows two out of three black children living apart from their fathers, and the often oversimplified media portraits of black dads who "walk away" from their children, the most common image of black fatherhood is that of absence. 

In the upcoming anthology "Bet on Black: African-American Women Celebrate Fatherhood in the Age of Barack Obama," 20 writers reflect on dads who editor Kenrya Rankin Naasel describes as "black men who are committed, integral parts of their families." 

"As a woman who was raised by a single black dad who made it his obsessive duty to help his daughters flourish, I think it’s key to tell the rest of the story," says Rankin Naasel. "I don’t deny that there are some dismal statistics out there about single-parent households and stories for days about Black mothers holding it down alone, but I know firsthand that the stereotype doesn’t tell the entire story. Beyond what others think of our families, I feel it’s more important that we see them as strong, cohesive units, worthy of our energy and our protection."

The independently published anthology, which features essays by writers such as Karen Good Marable, Harriette Cole and Yannick Rice Lamb, will be available on Amazon.com on Friday, October 11. In the run-up to the release, Rankin has a Kickstarter campaign up to increase the number of books available in the first print run.

"My hope is that this book will not only change the conversation that surrounds our men to a positive one, but inspire men who are perhaps falling short to be better," says Rankin Naasel. "You can only hear that you’re a dog but so many times before you start barking."