Thursday, June 21, 2007

African American Fatherhood and Marriage by Minister Ron Scott

While the epitome of the American thought pattern as it relates to the African American male role and his own view of fatherhood and marriage is disdain, ambivalence and a refusal to accept responsibility, we make these assumptions based on our inability to comprehend that the roles that most African American males are now taking were relegated and structured through policy and procedure enacted by a profit driven government with total disregard for the long term affect.

African American males are depicted as shuffling, criminals dodging responsibility having a need for governmental intervention to assist him to do what he is supposed to do to be considered a responsible citizen in society. While the responsibility of repair and education of the absent father has been taken on by the establishment, it is the same establishment that perpetuates this situation. One of the reasons why the male has responded to responsibility in the manner that it currently does has a basis in the social programs enacted during previous administrations which outlined social welfare programs and its benefits with the stipulation that the male maintained a residence anywhere except within the household of his children.

Although many experts have researched and studied this population, and does relay them extremely close to accurate, we must ascertain that the validity of these claims have been nothing more than theory. Bill Cosby makes a valid argument of the state of African American fathers and the family however; his contention lacks the realization that his motivation and offered solutions does not approach the root of the problem.

We ask, what does the root of this problem consists of and why is the relationship between African American males, females and their children dictating a rise in single parenthood in America? Our answer begins with the ethnocentric values of mainstream America with goals and objectives which relegate legislation which undermines every subgroup which has in effect created a subculture that includes members from every walk of life. This being said it brings us to the conclusion, in this case, that the assumptions and expert opinions directed at the African American male is currently becoming the view that society holds for males in general. This however does not explain the root of the problem. It simply points out that the plight of the African American male is also becoming the problem of society as a whole.

The root problem is a destructive mechanism which has changed the thought pattern of African American men from breadwinners to victims. The root problem stems from Americas treatment and assassination of the male role model, passing legislation directed at minorities which has stripped African American men of their ability to maintain relationships not only with the opposite sex but also with their offspring. Even today when an African American male is stopped by a policeman for a minor traffic infraction, he runs the risk, especially if his wife or partner is with him, of humiliation, degradation and disparaging treatment. This is not to say that this is the norm, as I pointed out this is a distinct possibility.

The civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s had the overt illusion of the promotion of opportunity but failed to offer a mechanism to eradicate the mentality that had been garnered from centuries of destructive personal, physical and character assassinations of every African American male. Although opportunity afforded itself, the prerequisite to take full advantage of the opportunities were not present. Some members of this group, just as during the slavery era, were strong enough to take advantage of opportunity despite the lack of America’s inability to transform its mentality. In other words, the rules changed but the players didn’t.

Conversely, legislation which included stipulations such as, “The no man in the house rule,” was instituted to assist the family only if the African American father “disappeared”. Further legislation has made the male in general a profit bearing entity to state government based on his absence which has in turn harvested several institutions nationwide whose covert objective is the destruction of the male relationship with both his partner and his children.

Fatherlessness is perpetuated by the dollars generated from the federal level to state government consequently; state government utilizes the theme of “protection of the children” in its quest to retrieve federal dollars. It is profitable to the state for the father to be absent. The state continues to support and initiate programs that are profitable but destructive to fathers and the family.

Governments attempt to strengthen marriage is in actuality a band-aid on the elephant. Initiatives to promote healthy marriages appear to be governments attempt to rectify the situation, however in close view it is simply just another method for government to funnel dollars to its cronies.

Robert Rector Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation in his testimony Before the Sub-committee on Human Resources
Of the Committee on Ways and Means
U.S. House of Representatives included the following points:

President George W. Bush has proposed—as part of welfare reform reauthorization—the creation of a pilot program to promote healthy and stable marriage. Funding for the program would be small-scale: $300 million per year. This sum represents one penny to promote healthy marriage for every five dollars government currently spends to subsidize single parenthood.

The following are important points about the healthy marriage initiative:

• The program would be focused on early intervention, helping young adult couples establish stable and healthy relationships before the conception and birth of a child.

• Participation in the program would be strictly voluntary.

• Although there is much chatter about an alleged shortage of marriageable males as a barrier to marriage, in reality, nearly half of unmarried mothers are living with the child’s father at the time a child is born; another 23 percent are in a stable romantic relationship with the father. A shortage of “marriageable men” is not a major obstacle to marriage promotion.

• Over 95 percent of unmarried fathers worked during the year of the child’s birth; their median annual earnings were $17,500.(This is higher than the mothers’ earnings.)Drug and alcohol abuse among these fathers is rare.

• Marriage can have a dramatic effect in reducing child poverty. If poor single mothers were married to the fathers of their children, nearly 70 percent would be immediately lifted out of poverty.

• Some argue that the key to increasing marriage in low income communities is to provide job training to increase the wages and employment of fathers. One problem with this approach is that government job training programs generally have a very limited impact on employment and earnings. More importantly, data from the Fragile Families survey show that increasing fathers’ employment and earnings will have only a marginal effect in increasing marriage. Improving attitudes and relationship skills will have a far greater impact.

The problem here is that most who offer an opinion as to what and how the problem of fatherlessness in the African American community can be corrected are neither a father nor African American. Most of the funding for the Healthy Marriage program did not go to Minority Organizations. This is synonymous with a dog teaching a cat how to be a cat.

The next problem is that government continues to spend more money promoting fatherlessness than it does to promote the involvement of the father. Current funding streams have not been targeted to assist in the restructuring of families but have been directed and labeled as welfare reform which has a net affect of suicide for the family structure.

African American men are generally extremely willing to be fathers to their offspring however they are systematically removed by a system that holds profit margins through destructive methods more important than giving the assistance to keep the father and child relationships strong. The overall mentality among the African American population is that the mother will fare much better simply receiving monetary assistance absent a positive relationship with the male as opposed to the offering of assistance only when that father is involved.

While government claims that the benefits of marriage and family values in this community has a direct affect on the economic and moral standards, it thrives from removing children, ostracizing and penalizing fathers which drives a wedge between men and women and destroys the family structure.

1 comment:

Abigail said...

Marriage is about relationships. Good relationships help us build bridges. These bridges lead to finacial success. As an African American, it is important to me to see us build bridges.

Many people spend large amounts of money on attire, flowers, rentals, locations, and alcohol; all in the name of the fairytale wedding. People all want the beautiful wedding photos taken at that beautiful site. We design wonderfully aesthetic rooms or outdoor areas, tables and favors. We invite as many guests as we can get together in one place to be apart of such a life changing experience.

What happens after the wedding day?

How do we make the love last?

Marriage Education is our chance at lasting love.

"Training is needed in order to love properly; and to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice deep looking directed toward the other person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly. Understanding is the essence of love. If you cannot understand, you cannot love." - Thich Nhat Hahn

For more info on African American marriage see below: