DIY: Making Better Black Fathers

By Jonathan Adams Jun 13, 2008

Just in time for Father’s Day, it seems like everybody has the instruction manual on what men should do to become better fathers to their children. More specifically, the holiday is an opportunity for leaders to preach the importance of families and marriage (as they narrowly define it) while glossing over the glaring evidence of injustices that make it much harder for men of color to be the fathers they undoubtedly want to be. Bill Cosby has written another op-ed, "Real men don’t walk away from the babies," with his friend/expert Dr. Alvin Poussaint challenging Black fathers to be better role models for their children in the USA Today. "America’s Dad" seems to believe that the only barrier between Black fathers and their children is the man’s connection or love for the child saying, "Once black men claim their children and feel the warmth of a hug, they will begin to understand what fatherhood is all about, " but it isn’t that simple. has a special Father’s Day feature, "7 Ways to be a Black Father," in which contributors write essays about their fathers. One even employs R&B artist Usher’s shotgun wedding to his pregnant girlfriend as a model for others. Al Sharpton is also using Father’s Day to hold a rally in Sean Bell’s name. Sharpton hopes the rally , "would also encourage black men to register to vote, get jobs, and become more involved in education." He adds, "the rally falls a day before Father’s Day and is intended to encourage black fathers and families to address what organizers call a "Pandora’s box of issues" that have surfaced following the acquittal of three detectives who shot Bell on his wedding day in 2006."