Father’s Day Blogging Drama: Celebrating Black Fathers

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*I debated all day on whether to post this or not for fear of insulting or alienating any of my very beloved readers. But fear never got anyone anywhere, so here it goes.* 
Erica Adams Photography
If you are a person of color reading blogs on parenting, you have likely heard of MyBrownBaby.
Strike that. If you are person interested in modern day parenting perspectives you need to hear about MyBrownBaby. The site is aimed towards people of color, by which the owner {Denene} of the site specifies as African Americans, but should be read by anyone wanting to raise children with racial sensitivities and awareness.
Anyway, Denene wrote a post on Father’s Day called “A Special MyBrownBaby Love Letter To Black Fathers Getting It Right”. In it she asserts her opinions of a speech given on Father’s Day 2008 by then Presidential candidate Obama, while also highlighting some of the spectacular fathers she knows personally. Denene refutes the idea of focusing on deadbeat dads on a day meant to celebrate the beauty of those “getting it right”. I won’t go into the political realm with this post. But suffice it to say that as a Political Science major, campaign worker for Obama’s Presidential Nomination campaign, and sincere lover of all things diverse, I was disappointed with his speech three years ago also, and chalked it up to political posturing {a game one’s gotta play in the world of politics, unfortunately}. 
Denene got tremdous backlash because of her post celebrating Black fathers, refusing to focus on those failing their children. Reading the threads of comments was shocking; everything from insulting her ability to identify herself to questioning her authority to even write on the topic of fatherless-ness.  This woman is an engaging writer that comes across as fun yet incredibly intelligent. She is highly educated, politically astute and works professionally in the media, in addition to maintaining a blog with over a thousand readers.
I was beside myself and could hardly sleep after reading the feedback. Denene was obviously upset, as well. As I tossed and turned, I could not understand the onslaught of anger aimed squarely at someone who chose to showcase just a few of the amazing Black fathers that are out there, in real life, supporting and raising their kids. Black fathers like MY husband. All she wanted to say is that, despite the Father’s Day speech of 2008, not all Black fathers are deadbeats. A stereotype that is reinforced throughout the media constantly.
The next day, Denene posted this:
MyBrownBaby is about the beauty, success and struggles of the African American parent. Its a forum of intelligent, amazingly inspiring voices {Black voices}. Here is an excerpt of Denene’s moving post:
“I created this blog not to rehash pathology, not to wallow in stereotype, not to pile onto the same storyline mainstream media consistently advances anytime black folk are the subject, but to show the beauty of us, in all of our manifestations and advance the conversation beyond fingerpointing, blame and a focus on the ugly. We are not a monolith, sisters. I am you. You are me. But we have a myriad of experiences—experiences that deserve dissection and discussion. And, in some cases, highlighting. Because dammit, no one else is doing it.”
And for no other reason than because she chooses to reject the negative crap {i.e. stereotypes} that my Husband has to battle every time he walks into a board room and is the only person of color, I will continue to look to MyBrownBaby as a source of inspiration in the discourse of being a person of color, raising a child of color, to the most happiest extent possible.
I 100% agree the issues of fatherless-ness and deadbeat dads need to be discussed. My heart hurts for single moms and have dealt with this issue on a very personal level. Perhaps the discussion should take place within the African American community, but not soley. I know of far too many deadbeat dads who are not Black. And perhaps the discourse should take place in conjunction with the alarming increase in teen pregnancies. Could those two possibly be related?
What isn’t related is crappy dads and amazing dads simply because they may share the same skin color. Please don’t label my amazing Husband that way.
Good for you, Denene! Thank you for celebrating amazing dads, like MY husband, that work their butts off to support their family. Love their children through daily nurture and guidance and exemplify on a daily basis what a real Man is.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Vanessa,

    Denene’s post was a good read. My husband is a wonderful father, although he isn’t black, but there are quite a few stereotypes that would fit his situation. On the other hand, my father IS black and was and still is a loving and very supportive father (and husband too). I never knew anything other than loving and supportive black fathers (of family members and friends) when I grew up and that was my reality. I know there are many children growing up w/o fathers in the home, but I don’t agree we should accept that as a definition of how all black men parent. Absent fathers come in all shades.

    Ah, this is your blog, so never be afraid to write what you believe/feel. Thanks for sharing.

  2. So true! We hear so much about the negative stereotypes. It’s time to focus on the positive black men out there and reinforce that they DO EXIST! Your hubby sounds like a real stand up guy!! Beautiful Family!!:)

  3. I agree – why not focus on the positive of Black fatherhood for once? Why spend even more time tearing them down on a day that is meant to celebrate

    PS: Thanks for the compliements and words of encouragement that you left on my blog the other day – I truly appreciate it

  4. You are amazing, your family is absolutely stunning, and I am so very grateful to you not only for understanding where I’m coming from, but taking the time to share your thoughts about my post and MyBrownBaby with your readers. I appreciate you! (And I’m so glad to have found your beautiful blog!!!!)

  5. What a wonderful entry! My family is of a mixed heritage and I have been stereotyped the “typical single Mexican mom” which is incorrect and cruel. I am Puerto Rican and I was a single mom because I left the man who abused me. It was the best decision I ever made. He was a deadbeat dad and he is white. I met a wonderful man who has treated my son as his own and we now have another son. He is 1st generation Italian, which means olive skin and dark hair. We are blended, we are happy, and my husband is a wonderful father. Thank you for this post!

  6. You ladies, rock! Don’t know why I was afraid; probably because of the comments from Denene’s post! Ha! Those were brutal!

    Denene, HONORED that you become a reader of my little ol’ blog. So cool!

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