New Survey About Black Dads/Relationship to Kids Defy Stereotypes


*Giving dutiful African American dads their recognition, a recently released federal survey of American parents defies the enduring stereotypes about black fatherhood. It shows that African American fathers who live with their children are just as involved as other fathers in the same position, maybe even more so.

In a Los Angeles Times article, the report shows that among fathers who lived with young children, 70% of black dads said they bathed, diapered or dressed those kids every day, compared with 60% of white fathers and 45% of Latino fathers, according to a report released Friday by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Additionally, nearly 35% of black fathers who lived with their young children said they read to them daily, compared with 30% of white dads and 22% of Latino dads. The report was based on a federal survey that included more than 3,900 fathers between 2006 and 2010 — data seen as the gold standard for studying fatherhood in the United States. In many cases, the differences between black fathers and those of other races were not statistically significant, researchers said.

In Watts, Bryan August-Jones battles the stereotype daily. Every weekday, he wakes his three sons before sunrise, gets them dressed, then ferries them to the baby sitter and to school. On weekends, he takes them bicycling or to Red Lobster, which his youngest son — “a little fancy guy” — prefers over McDonald’s.

His Latina mother-in-law and her family think black men cannot be good fathers, but “I prove them wrong all the time,” August-Jones said.

In Bellflower, Jason Franklin phones his young daughters daily during the week. The girls stay with him on weekends. Franklin remembers that when his own parents parted, his father sometimes skipped visits “out of spite.” He vowed not to do the same thing to his children when he and their mother split up.

“Even if I don’t see them every day, my role as a father doesn’t change,” Franklin said.

Earlier research has shown that after parents break up, fathers become less involved as time passes. Mothers may curb the time they allow an ex to spend with their children. Fathers sometimes struggle to stay as involved if they form another family.

However, Laura Tach and fellow researchers also found that black fathers were more likely than white or Latino dads to stay close to their children after having more kids with a new partner. Because it isn’t as rare for black fathers to live away from the home, their communities might have stronger expectations that fathers will stay involved outside the “package deal” of a wife and kids, explained Tach, a professor of policy analysis at Cornell University.

To read more about the research click here.


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