If we want to celebrate black history, we need to protect black families

"I’ve seen enough black lives in ruins to know that protecting black futures starts with getting more people married. These kids just need dads around. I’ve seen fatherlessness drive so many mad with pain." - Alton Hardy

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David R. Brumbelow's picture

It would also help to place much more emphasis on conservative Black leaders, instead of just the liberal ones. 

Conservative Black leaders like:

Thomas Sowell

Walter E. Williams

Clarence Thomas

Shelby Steele

Tim Scott

Winsome Sears

Larry Elder, and many others. 

And I certainly agree about the vital importance of the family.  The above would too. 

David R. Brumbelow

Bert Perry's picture

....is in a manner of speaking being marriageable.  I am 100% in agreement with brother Hardy that a key issue is to get marriage back into poor black communities--just the same as in poor white communities and such.  Amen.  But as a father of six (four daughters, two sons) who's had the privilege of chatting with young men who want to date my daughters, the thing that comes to mind is that "marriageable" means first having a relationship with Christ, second having some employment prospects, and third being attracted to the other person. 

Not too many have trouble with that third part, but the first two can be really tough in any poor neighborhood among any race or ethnicity.  For that matter, I'm seeing an increasing number of young men in the middle class who really haven't clued into adult behavior regarding becoming employable, and I'm getting a lot of chances to say "Till death do us part is an awfully long time to be broke and have no real opportunities to fix that problem." 

It's one reason, I'd guess, that divorce rates are pretty high in the Bible belt.  You first of all simply have more marriages to generate divorces (and more marriage is, ceterus parabus, a good thing), but a lot of those marriages are between people who really aren't employable beyond basic retail and low level manufacturing.  Whether we like it or not, struggles over money are probably THE key contributor to divorce.

Applied for African-American communities, it means I'd want to somehow help young men & women learn how to be employable and work as I also try to reach them for and encourage them in Christ.  Fair amount of gentleness and sensitivity needed to achieve that, I'd think.  Would love to hear from Joel Shaffer on this one.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joel Shaffer's picture

The mission of the organization that I oversee, Urban Transformation Ministries (UTM), is to break the fatherless cycle in urban communities through the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Here's how we go about it:

Discipling – UTM aims to fill the daddy-gap through long-term, life-on-life discipling relationships with urban youth and young adults. This includes teaching them to know their Heavenly Father, finding their identity in Christ, and raising them up as Christian leaders who will remain in the community to live and lead.

Equipping – Helping urban youth and adults obtain the spiritual, emotional, relational, educational, and economic tools to break the cycle of fatherlessness (including equipping them for marriage).

Connecting – Creating social capital for fatherless youth and young adults through connections to non-profits, mentors, counselors, businessmen/women, churches, city resources, entrepreneurs, and a whole host of individuals that offer resources to help change lives.

Educating – Equipping individuals, churches, and other organizations to minister to the fatherless and poor through training workshops, seminars, college-level classes, articles, books, blog posts, curriculum, internships, consulting, and urban immersion trips.

About 80% of UTM students are African-American. And about 75% of all of our students come from families where there isn't an involved father in their lives.  About 70% of our students live in families below the poverty line.

Through UTM's emphasis on life-on-life mentoring relationships, many UTM students have turned away from the street life of gangs and selling drugs, experiencing transformation through Jesus Christ. They now hold living wage jobs, started businesses, and are raising their families. Several others that resisted the street-life as they grew into adulthood graduated from high school and then from college and began careers as Christian businessmen and women, social workers, teachers, and youth development workers.  With UTM we've always emphasized and taught marriage, and chastity before marriage.according the Bible, Because (yesterdays and today's) youth culture, popular culture, and hip-hop culture is over-sexualized, many of our students had to learn the hard way and became mothers and fathers before they were married.  There definitely is "baby-mama" drama and "baby-daddy" drama that results from not doing it God's way.   

While I generally agree with the premise of the article, at the same time, the author assumes that because 72% of black babies are born out of wedlock, that the same number don't have an involved father in their life.  That simply isn't true.  From both the hundreds of young men who have been part of UTM's programs as well as the current research, we are seeing an upsurge of involved black fathers in the lives of their children. Something that I didn't see in the 1980s and 1990s.  

59.5% of black fathers live with their biological children. Black fathers, in comparison to Hispanic and White fathers, read to their kids more often, take their kids to activities more often, talk to their kids about what happened during the day more often, helped their children with their homework or checked their homework more often, bathed, diapered, or dressed the children or helped the children bathe, dress, or use the toilet more often. White dads played with their children by .5% more than black dads did (82.7 to 82.2). These studies are confirmed by the separate studies of the moms. In a 2018 study, mothers reported that Black fathers “shared responsibilities more frequently and displayed more effective co parenting than Hispanic and White fathers.” In our urban context and ministry at UTM, the overwhelming majority of young black fathers (including the gang members and drug dealers) will do just about anything to be involved in the lives of their children. The problem isn't black deadbeat dads not taking responsibility for their kids, rather it's a host of other social problems, including dealing with the messiness of broken relationships because they had kids before marriage and as teenagers,  There are a lot of blended family marriages among former UTM students who are in the late 20s and early 30s, including one of my staff members of UTM named Davien. He has 3 older daughters from 2 previous relationships and a son from his marriage of 9 years.  His first "baby-momma" doesn't believe in God, but rather is all into the black consciousness movement. His second "baby-momma" (2 middle kids) is a narcissist pychopath who even lied about UTM to Friend of the Court judge and mediators, (attempting to keep the daughters from Davien) accusing UTM of being a front for organized crime in Grand Rapids. Almost 10 years ago, Davien married one of his best friends who loves Jesus and they've been a stable influence in the community. And Davien is heavily involved his children's lives, including the two that do not live with him. 

Here are some links to the data about black fatherhood.  

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18729678/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6133319/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21359113/ chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/viewer.html?pdfurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fnchs%2Fdata%2Fnhsr%2Fnhsr071.pdf&clen=379411&chunk=true