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Who's Your Daddy? Fathers of Multiple Races talk Fatherhood


black father with son and white father with daughter

Fatherhood. It's something that I have no firsthand experience in, so I decided to ask some actual fathers what it means. I wanted to take it a step further; I wanted to know how and if fatherhood differs between races. I made my way up to Big 4 Bridge here in Louisville and asked a few dad's what they think, this is what they said:

1. What is the best part of fatherhood?

"The best part of being a father is that... you get to be one!"

- Black American

"...the best thing about being a father for me is spending time with my kids, being able to play with them.. those are happy times for me"

- Latino American

"One good thing about fatherhood is watching my children grow to be wonderful adults, and seeing the effort I put in...come out"

- White American

"One of the best things about being a father is seeing the reflection of God through you, to them."

- White American

"The best thing about about being a father is seeing your kids grow up, and learn, and just being around you... and loving you.. I love seeing their growth"

- Black American

"Watching my girls grow up, watching them learn new things"

- White American

"Sitting back and wondering how in the world they got there... with such little effort from me...you can't take credit, you have to look at them and go, that's a creation of God right there"

- White American

2. What is the most difficult part about being a father?

"The hardest things is when they act out, and you have to discipline them... but... you have to discipline your child"

- Black American

"trying to make them understand the ways of the world"

- White American

"Seeing their mistakes, seeing them do things you taught them to do, and they stray away from those things"

- Black American

"worrying that you haven't done enough"

- Black American

"letting them make mistakes, and not stepping in to save them"

- White American

"staying patient, especially if the kids are a little high maintenance, maintaining patience is probably the hardest thing for me"

- White American

"Trying to make time for them, because you have to work so hard here, for us, it's more difficult right now because I am Spanish, and we work so hard right now"

- Latino American

"Seeing them make mistakes, having to watch them make mistakes..."

- White American

3. What do you want your children to remember about you?

"I want my son to remember the difficult time that me and his mother went through, when other people had to help us... but we made it"

- White American

"I want my kids to remember I was there, at all of their games, and sporting events, and practices, I want them to remember I was there"

- White American

"About me? I try to take care of him, I try to love him.. that's it"

- Latino American

"That I was there, that I did things with them, but mainly that I encouraged them to be the best versions of themselves"

- White American

"Godliness... nothing else matters"

- White American

"that I love them of course, but also, anything I was able to share with them to help move their minds forward... I want them to remember those things"

- Black American

"I want them to remember my work ethic, my teachings, my beliefs, and just those strong values that I taught them"

- Black American

"That I did the best that I could for them."

- White American

"That I had a humble spirit, that no matter what was going on, I wanted them to see me humble in every situation."

- Black American

4. What do you want the world to know about (insert race) fathers?

"I want them to know that every black father isn't a bad father... I want them to know that everybody isn't all bad...everybody's situation is different"

- Black American

"ahh... I want them to know that latino people are working are, we come here to try to make a better America, not just for our families, but for everybody. The people think we come here to ...make trouble, we don't do that, we come here to work, to work hard"

- Latino American

"I wish the world didn't consider race, or creed, religion... we all just need to do what we can to make sure every child has what they need as far as an education, safety, food... we should all be working for these children"

- White American

"i would say ... like Ben Carson said, on the inside we all look alike. Black, White, Asian, whatever, every father feels exactly the same about their child, we all want wants best for them"

- White American

"the majority of black fathers are wonderful... I mean the vast majority"

- Black American

"I want them to know that there are strong black fathers out here that love and care for their kids"

- Black American

"We all want the same for our kids, we all want what's best"

- White American

5. What do you remember about your father?

"omm... that he alway provided for us"

- White American

"he always listened, and he always really wanted the best for me"

- White American

"That he stopped the cycle of abuse with me. He was terribly, terribly, abused, and his father was terribly abused... but it stopped with me. And I a was able to be a good father to my kids because of that"

- White American

"Oh... i don't really know, I didn't grow up with him"

- Latino American

Photo: Sophia Mobley

As I imagined, most of their answers were fairly similar. Generally, they all said the best part of being a father is watching their kids grow up, and the most difficult part is... watching their kids grow up, and make mistakes. Here's where things got a little more interesting. When I asked these fathers what they wanted the world to know about fathers of their ethnicity I could see a bit of change in the type of answer that was given. The white fathers wanted the world to know that all fathers are the same in what they want for their children. But, the black and Latino fathers seemed to have all wanted to be "seen" as good fathers.

From the answers given, it seems like there is an assumption that white fathers are good, and present... and are seen for who they are. However, the opposite could be said for black and Latino fathers, but why? I think it's time for America to ask why our black and latino men have to defend their fatherhood. If white men say that all fathers want the same for their children, shouldn't it be understood that blacks and Latinos fall in that category as well? So, why do blacks and Latinos feel unseen? Who is spreading the rumor? My heart shattered when I heard the El Salvadoran gentleman say that he wants the world to know that Latino men come here to work hard, to create a better America for everybody, not to cause trouble. I was happy and proud, but not surprised, to see black men taking a walk with their children. It is time for us to stop perpetuating the lie that these men are not good fathers. If I had to guess who is responsible for defaming the characters of Latino and Black fathers I would say it's those who do not know any. The Public Religion Institute found that three quarters of white people don't have any non white friends. So, how do they (assuming they are the ones making the assumption) know that black and hispanic men are not present? I would say a large part of why people feel the way they do about these men is directly proportional to what they are shown through the media. It not deep, it's not rocket science. If white people don't have any not white friends that means they are being told what to feel about others.

"No longer is it the blatant practice upheld by the law and celebrated with hangings and beatings, but instead it is a subtle practice that is the "crown jewel" of the entertainment, media and film industries. We might not see confederate flags flying in parks or signs relegating colored people to separate facilities, but we do see minorities cast as criminals and leeches to "white upper-class" America." (E. Brown, Y.Horton, R.Price, Poverty & Prejudice: Media & Race).

I can go on forever about this, but the solution is really simple. Go out and actually meet people of other races, and if you already know some... talk to them! You would never believe a lie if you already knew the truth. I am able to watch the news and movies and see black and latino men being completely criminalized and walk away from the TV and be totally comfortable around black and Latino men. How? Because I know that what I saw on the television does not represent the majority. In fact, it wouldn't even be news if it was true. Have small talk with a guy in the store, talk to the guys working on your house... you will soon find out the rumors are false. Thank you to all of the fathers I met on the bridge, you are wonderful fathers and I hope together we can provide a better, safer, environment for our children. Happy Father's Day!

Comment below and let me know what you love most about your father.

Photo: Sophia Mobley

#Fatherhood #race #children #parenting

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