I suppose I’m a bit different than the average Black woman on Father’s Day. Because I’m just unimpressed; and with Black fathers, to be exact. See, I grew up with my father actively in my life, who is still married to my Mom to this day. He took care of his responsibility by raising me like he was supposed to do. And I don’t have any children myself. But I see the many likes and shares on Facebook posts admiring Black men who had the little audacity to comb their daughter’s hair in the morning. You know, one of the very many things that Black mothers have been doing without positive recognition since the beginning of time. And it’s a bit peculiar to me. So instead of praising Black fathers for doing the bare minimum, like existing, or something equally as effortless, I am calling for accountability this year.
This is not to say that responsible Black fathers do not exist. Of course, there are some. This is just shedding some light on why so many WOMEN are being told “Happy Father’s Day” instead of men, and why you all do not have the right to complain about it. Every Father’s Day, it never fails. The first thing I see when I log into social media is, “Ladies, let the fathers have their day. Don’t ruin it by giving single mothers credit.” We get a holiday for fathers, and now suddenly, the Black community wants to pretend as if a crowd of great ones exist and as if many single Black mothers are not regularly struggling taking care of children on their own. As if single mothers are not constantly being vilified for asking for child support or even a bit of assistance from the fathers of their children.
Still, ironically, people do not understand why children may not have a father to wish a happy holiday to, so they turn around and say it to their mothers.
Why is it so offensive that the few active fathers in our community must share their day with single mothers?
Why does it bother you that people decide to pay homage to the mother who is present, rather than them posting “Happy Father’s Day” knowing damn well their entire upbringing was made possible ONLY because of their mother?
It appears our community has used Father’s Day as a time to promote a fallacy rather than to walk in the truth.
So, let’s walk in the truth, shall we?
The common consensus in our community is that a single mother could never take the place of a father because she is not a man. They say that fathers are essential to a child’s growth. However; this seems to only be enforced during a conversation where single mothers are being disparaged. It is never emphasized that fathers themselves should be present. Father simply do not face much backlash at all for being unavailable to their children. Their negligence is even blamed on the mother.
The common excuse is that the mother is bitter, she won’t let him see his children, she chose an incompetent father, etc. The list goes on. It is never considered that maybe there is a recurring theme in the Black community that many fathers do not prioritize parenthood. They see it as a burden. Think about this.
When you see that a child is solely being raised by their mother, your mind won’t jump to anything out of the ordinary. But households where the father is the custodial parent immediately prompts people to demonize the absent mother. This is because it is unheard of to see a “poor, innocent man” who was “forced” to raise a child on his own. People conclude that something must have been so foul about that mother for her to not have full custody of her children. It’s socially acceptable for a father to not have custody though. It would just be assumed that the parents are no longer together.
If a mother doesn’t have custody, then society says she is out partying and carrying on. Not taking care of her responsibility. If a father doesn’t have custody, he is just “co-parenting”. Let’s talk about the fathers who ARE in the lives of their children. Is their parenting contributing something valuable or is it problematic?
We congratulate fathers for being present, but we don’t analyze the context of their relationships with their children.
The teachings that Black men implement in their sons are usually a performance of toxic masculinity. Beating their sons up to “teach them to be men”. Telling their sons that ‘boys don’t cry’, which creates an unhealthy balance of emotions in boys.
Teaching their sons to “get pussy” and without teaching the importance of consent. Shaming their sons for any expression of self that isn’t stereotypically masculine. Condemning their sons for any sign of queerness.
Black men also teach their daughters to internalize misogyny and to be without autonomy. They punish their daughters for being attracted to boys. They threaten boys to stay away from their daughters, even when their daughter clearly consents to friendship. They beat their daughters into dressing conservatively. They teach their daughters to fall under male leadership.
What is also not being discussed, is the Black fathers who are sexually abusing their children at high rates. So, if we are going to celebrate on Father’s Day, let’s make room to discuss what a father truly is.
Aysha Bee is a Black woman, blogger, and social critic who centers the marginalized groups less mentioned. She is known for her thought provoking and unfiltered approach to addressing the heated issues in the Black community.