Black Fathers in America

By: Chelsea Davis-Bibb, Ed.D.

Being a Black man in America is hard, but being a Black father in America, that can be challenging. Being a father is more than just having a child. It means being there for them, supporting them, educating them, and raising them into respectable young adults who will eventually go out into the world and start a life on their own. Five fathers were interviewed and were asked the same questions regarding their perceptions of being a father.

Q: What does being a father mean to you?

Being a father is an amazing thing. It means being part human part superhero. You have to be loving, stern, supportive and so much more to give your children a foundation to grow.

-Daniel Keaton

Being a father is a blessing that I do not take for granted. It’s an opportunity that is not afforded to everyone. To watch someone with half of what makes you unique grow up before your eyes in your children, is nothing less than remarkable.

-Sergeant Jeremy Lahar

Being a father to me is both having Privilege and Opportunity. The Privilege of being able to go through life with the seed that God gifted you, through you. Being able to Love and cherish every moment throughout life together.

-Devin Johnson

It takes an exceptional man to be a dad… Being able to cultivate a growing and loving environment, while providing resources, and protecting my daughter are the most important things to me.

-Chris Burrell

Being a father is everything! It’s challenging but so rewarding; and I have a girl and that changes how you act. For the better of course.

-Tony Warfield.

 Q: In your eyes, how are Black fathers perceived in society?

Black fathers in society’s eyes are rare. Society thinks most of us left to get milk but, in actuality we came back home with bags of groceries.
-Daniel Keaton

Unfortunately, they are perceived as inconsistent or even absent.

– Sergeant Jeremy Lahar

I believe the Black Father is not honored, appreciated, and respected as much as they should be. Perception as a whole has been looked at in a more negative way than positive.

-Devin Johnson

In today’s time, the social convention of the black father is very dismal. Society demonizes Black fathers as absent from the child’s life, womanizing, and neglectful when it comes to raising children; often using the power of money as a substitute for their presence.  But I am grateful that perception isn’t always reality and that there are countless Black men in this world that are great fathers, and their work, effort, and presence are now visible (due in part with social media) and changing the social paradigm to a more positive reflection for Black fathers everywhere.

-Chris Burrell

I think my generation is definitely changing how Black fathers are perceived in society. We are present, we are providing, we are loving, and we are dope.

-Tony Warfield

 Q: What do you love most about being a father?

I love the smiles my boys give me every time they see me and seeing that little bit of me in everything they do.

-Daniel Keaton

I love the opportunity to teach my children everything I’ve learned so they can exceed their mother and I in what they can accomplish in life.

– Sergeant Jeremy Lahar

What I love most, is being able to watch my kids laugh, smile, and enjoy the moments of life that excites them.

-Devin Johnson

For me, what I love most about being a father is seeing my child grow up and having a hand in their development.

-Chris Burrell

The best thing about being a father is knowing you’re a superhero to somebody and they will love you, just like you love them.

-Tony Warfield



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