Tuesday

Black Fathers and the Family Court

“The court has the mentality that if a Black father is interested in his child, even if he has shown no interest previously, that it is such a unique situation that the mother must be wrongfully interfering,” said Davis.
I found this quote in an article about the Marion County, Indiana family court system, posted on Indiana Mothers for Custodial Justice.

I take special notice of this statement and how the White Patriarchal establishment uses the Black family as an example of what is dysfunctional in society, in order to maintain White male hegemony. And this affects the thinking of everyone operating under this context.

For example, a recent weekend airing (during this lovely month of Black History) on MSNBC was a documentary entitled, A Father's Promise (thank you Professor Tracey for informing us). Jana Lerner, associate producer for this documentary, had a forum on Newsvine in which she wanted to hear people's opinions on the show. I damn sure gave her mine though somehow how I doubt they really wanted to hear what we thought.

I said:
"Fatherlessness" is not an "epidemic." Nor does it deserve a cure so simple as injecting the Black man back into the family life. Patriarchal views teach us that there is only one functional family structure, so kids growing up thinking that their families are pathological:

"You ain't got no daddy?" "You ain't gon' be @!$%#, just like yo' daddy!"

You keep telling a child that and it insults the child's self-esteem. The child begins to believe that something is wrong...creating a problem where one may not have existed.

What's wrong with changing the thinking to help children appreciate what they do have and give existing families what they need to rise above the adversity? Why can't we stop putting children down because of the apparent deficiencies of their parents? Having NO father isn't the worst thing in the world...In fact, it is much better than having a drug-dealing father, a physically abusive father, an emotionally abusive or emotionally absent father, an inconsistent father, a self-absorbed father, a father that is draining the families resources rather than contributing to them...ANY father won't do.

You cannot force anyone to be a father. But you can understand the the issue is really poverty, and that can be alleviated by having a better educational system, and alleviating barriers to employment.

Children need stability, emotional support, and economic resources. Fathers may or may not be able to provide these things. Those who can will, and those who haven't and those who won't, don't.

Women need to be more discerning in the relationships with children...and perhaps children should not be brought into this world unless families--whatever structure--can fully provide for them.

Responsible fatherhood initiatives is a corrupt industry whose focus is to eliminate child support obligations by the unrelenting support of 50-50 custody.

This focus on fatherhood and targeting the Black community serves us no justice and it is a completely disgusting.
And in response to someone saying this:
It is time that the Black American categorically rebuke feminism and Welfare.
I had to say this:
I seriously disagree with this and yet it doesn't surprise me that someone would state this. Feminism, by way of Womanism, is what has allowed the Black family to continue to press forward in spite of the hardest times. How dare someone declare that Blacks should rebuke it-- giving connotations that it were evil. It is at the point in which Black men embrace Womanism that they will rise above those things that White society casts as a burden.
And in response to this:
America scared to report or have a show about what black women do. To keep father away.
I felt forced to say this:
What in the heck? Have you any knowledge of Black history? What an insult.
And in response to this:
One thing that stuck out for me, was the piece about not knowing what a father "looks" like. I ran a parenting group and asked these young men what a good father "looked" like. They came up with the standard descriptions, but not one of them could tell me what it took to reach that goal.
I felt the need to say this:
Sad, indeed. But do they know what contraception looks like? How to use it? The results of sex? I'm not insulting you, please forgive me if you think that's my intention. It is just hard for me to grasp that as anything other than an excuse. Do they know what a father does NOT look like? The conversation should begin there (well, after the sex stuff).
And when this was said:
A father is the person that protects his household...he's the person that checks over every guy that dates his daughter and the person of the house that collars his misbehaving son and gets in his face about anything thats going wrong...these homes have lost their protector!!!!!
I definitely was compelled to say this:
This is a very stereotypical assertion. It does no one any justice. Gender-role nonsense.

You can go back and read the entire board at the link I provided above so that you can see everything in context. I can give you a summary of the types of commentors: single mothers, divorced dads, second wives/girlfriend supporters/family supporters, and adults that were products of fatherless homes. So, as you can gather there was some of the same ol same "arguments" about why [Black] men weren't/aren't a part of their childrens' lives. Everyone has someone else to blame, especially the men.

1. Plenty of White folk jumped in the conversation, wanting their spot to complain about how fathers worldwide are getting fucked in the family court system by their vindictive exes.
2. Plenty of Black men wanted to talk about how the system is keeping them down so that they can't succeed in life overall.
3. And plenty of Black men and women spoke about how babymamas erect an impenetrable boundary that keeps Black men away from their children.

Understand that the most important thing in this conversation was #1.

And where do successful Black women speak for the same?

Now, going back to the quote about Marion County, I have observed that statement to be 100% true. It makes me feel like these White judges don't give a damn about Black children's needs...outside of the need for a father. In other words, A father is the primary need for Black children.

I ask you, if a Black child is homeless and/or hungry, will a father cure him/her? If a father is a criminal or is so self-absorbed to be [virtually] non-existent, will he cure his child of the major problems that ail him/her?

Only a fool would believe that the answer is so simple as father-injection. Ooh, I think I've coined a new term:

Father injection.

The solutions for Black families lie in Black communities. White society continues to try to profiteer off of our "problems," all the while not creating any solutions, but rather, creating more problems. I have seen White men trying to actively recruit Black men into this parental alienation scam. I have seen White men try to align their parental alienation cause with the likes of the Civil Rights Movement. This is shameful.

Black people, beware!

I'm not trying to further the racial divide...I just want to create awareness. And understand this is difficult to do in spite of feeling the urge to protect Blacks as a community while simultaneously insisting upon individual personal responsibility. For too long have we Black women sat silent while our needs have been trampled upon...our children's needs...I can't sit back and watch it continue.

From the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community (emphasis mine):
Fathers contribute to the well-being of their children and female partners when relationships are healthy and loving. Yet research indicates that in high conflict relationships when fathers are abusive to their female partners and/or their children, victims suffer short-term and long-term physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual affects of the abuse. Even during separation and divorce, abusive fathers may still have contact with their former partners and children because the courts, mother, or children choose it. What should our helping systems consider in order to protect and support women and children when domestic violence occurs? What can be done to encourage healthy, non-abusive behavior among fathers with a history of violence and abuse?
Black women are last on the totem pole. Browse the stats on the IDVACC website.

Black people pay attention.

Our children will continue to suffer. And I will not pretend that President Obama is going to be our savior because he has internalized the same beliefs held by White majority...those same beliefs offer more disaster and little relief.

You wouldn't hire a mortician to save your life. You wouldn't ask a sumo wrestler to play pro-ball. What makes you think that anyone will do? Any father isn't good enough...and I'm sick of the patriarchal court systems "coming to the rescue"...acting as if they are doing us a damn favor by legislating Black families!!!

0 advocates for peace: