Black Fathers Just as Involved with their Children as White Fathers…If not more So

Friday, January 24, 2014

Are black men really worse dads than white men? This persistent myth in American society has been challenged by new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


In a new report (pdf) examining the role American fathers play in parenting their children, the CDC says black men are just as involved with their kids as white or Hispanic dads, if not more so.


When it comes to eating meals or playing with young offspring (5 and under), black fathers rated as high or higher than whites and Hispanics. In fact, in cases where the father does not live with his children, blacks were noticeably more present than whites and Hispanics.


They also scored higher in other areas, like diapering and dressing their kids and reading to them daily.


“Considering the fact that ‘black fatherhood’ is a phrase that is almost always accompanied by the word ‘crisis’ in U.S. society, it’s understandable that the CDC’s results seem innovative. But in reality, the new data builds upon years of research that’s concluded that hands-on parenting is similar among dads of all races. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to bust this racially-biased myth,” Tara Culp-Ressler wrote for ThinkProgress, the blog of the progressive organization Center for American Progress.


She notes that the Pew Research Center found results similar to the CDC’s: 67% of black dads not living with their kids still see them at least once a month, compared to 59% of white dads and 32% of Hispanic dads.


“And there’s compelling evidence that the number of black dads living apart from their kids stems from structural systems of inequality and poverty, not the unfounded assumption that African-American men somehow place less value on parenting,” wrote Culp-Ressler. “Equal numbers of black dads and white dads tend to agree that it’s important to be a father who provides emotional support, discipline, and moral guidance. There’s one area of divergence in the way the two groups approach their parental responsibilities: Black dads are even more likely to think it’s important to financially provide for their children.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Fathers’ Involvement With Their Children: United States, 2006–2010 (by Jo Jones and William D. Mosher, National Health Statistics Report) (pdf)

The Myth of the Absent Black Father (by Tara Culp-Ressler, ThinkProgress)


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