• Hudson: Absent Black Dads Fuel Our Social Ills

    Stifling black advancement in the 21st century is a responsibility problem, not racism run amuck


    FLORIDA — A report by the National Center for Health Statistics says that, among American fathers living apart from and with their children, black dads are “at least as involved as other dads not living with their kids, or more so, according to most measures.”

    This is great news.

    While it is encouraging to see black fathers involved in their children’s lives, the fact that some 70 percent of unwed black women have children remains a root cause of many social maladies that prevent progress.

    Many blacks know this. Our community cultivates a false message that largely ignores the problem of illegitimacy, but wrongly accuses racism and other systemic forces for black stagnation. Stifling black advancement in the 21st century is a responsibility problem, not racism run amuck.

    Racism alone does not explain why a disproportionate number of black children grow up fatherless. Racism does not explain the decline of black mother-father households in the last 50 years and how that coincides with the rise in crime and delinquency among black youths.

    Somewhere along the way, we started to downplay marriage and the importance of a family headed by a husband and father. As a result, we found ourselves passing policies to help prevent poverty. We watched neighborhoods fill with fatherless youths who gravitated to a gang life instead of graduation.

    Of course, the movies and music celebrated it all.

    Pop culture and the explosion of illegitimacy perpetuated self-defeating behavior: delinquency, dropouts and drug abuse. America’s major inner cities were transformed into impoverished islands of lawlessness.

    Social problems related to fatherlessness have been staring us in the face for years, as has one solution: more men need to take responsibility and marry the mothers of their children. Marriage is no cure-all,but a marginal shift towards two-parent homes may have a huge impact.

    At last year’s State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said: “[We can] do more to encourage fatherhood, because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child. It’s having the courage to raise one. And we want to encourage that.”


    Read Jerome Hudson’s full article at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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