Father’s Day is a holiday honoring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society. In the United States, Father’s Day was founded by Sonora Smart Dodd, who held her father in great esteem.
While hearing a church sermon about the newly recognized at Central Methodist Episcopal Church, Sonora felt strongly that fatherhood needed recognition as well. She approached the Spokane Ministerial Alliance and suggested her own father’s birthday, June 5, as the day of honor for fathers. The Alliance chose the third Sunday in June instead. (Wikipedia)
Today, Father’s Day is celebrated in some form, in many places around the world.
Fatherhood, i.e., the state of being a father, is an important concept that is not always recognized as such. For example, in the African-American community, the majority of children are raised in single, female-headed households. This state of affairs contributes to a certain level of dysfunction in African- American homes.
This is not to say that women raising children is the cause of the dysfunction; it really points to the notion that a family is incomplete without the presence and input of fathers.
Arguably, there are historic reasons why Black men are disproportionately absent from homes. For example, during the institution of slavery, men were encouraged to sire children, very often out of wedlock. They were used to increase the number of offspring, which translated into the number of available slaves that could be sold for profit. This policy has had a long-term negative impact on the Black community.
Another contributing factor to the dearth of available fathers in the home is fueled by the idea that Black males have often been denied the opportunity to serve as breadwinners in families.
In Western society, a man is not seen as a “real man” if he cannot take care of his family. Jim Crow, institutional racism, American apartheid, et al, have made it very difficult for Black men to assume the roles that they think can validate their “manhood.”
The denial of educational opportunities; the denial of gainful employment; the economic and social violence and other attendant ills have made it very difficult for successful intact families to exist in Black communities.
One other factor contributing to this unfortunate scenario is that of the mental stress that accompanies oppression.
The war that the community faces, when looked at in this way, is a war of minds! When people are made to feel “less than” competent or valuable, they will compensate for this by adopting behaviors that may or may not be appropriate.
One of the ways this can be seen is the notion that to act smart is considered acting white by too many Black men, especially those of a certain socioeconomic level. This attitude just about guarantees that education levels will be low, which guarantees that skilled employment will be out of reach, which basically guarantees low economic achievement. It is very likely that gang culture and anti-social behavior is partially the result of this cascade of events.
There can be a light at the end of the tunnel, and it can be seen as a change in mindset. Men must eschew the notion that they are not “men” if they don’t adopt certain antisocial behaviors. It is a trick of the mind that convinces a person that they cannot achieve. Fortitude and determination can go a long way toward helping a person overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.
One of the most important things that must happen is that men and women develop and maintain strong partnerships to raise their children successfully. Of course, there are those instances where divorce happens, but if the idea of mutual respect and a value of family is embraced, the economic problems in a family can be positively impacted by a mutually respectful partnership.
With that said, not only is a mother’s place in the home, but a father’s place is in the home as well! We have seen what a father’s absence has wrought.
Finally, we applaud the fathers who have made the extra effort to contribute to their families. They deserve our love and support, because they are helping to build viable communities. To them we loudly and proudly say, “Happy Fathers’ Day!” A Luta Continua.