Father Figure by Zun Lee

Type: Social Justice Book
Price: $39.99


Father absence is a highly visible social issue that affects all demographics and ethnic groups but is particularly highlighted in African-descended communities. According to census statistics, over two-thirds of black children are raised in single-parent households, the vast majority of them being led by the mother. However, research also shows that black fathers are no less present in their kids’ lives compared to fathers of other ethnic groups, whether they happen to cohabitate with their family or not.

Against this backdrop, stereotypic tropes of deadbeat black fathers continue to persist in the media and in politics. Much of the visual narrative intended to counter these stereotypes has remained formulaic, too, often consisting of “über-dad” archetypes (e.g. The Cosby Show’s Dr. Cliff Huxtable), celebrity fathers and “traditional” family patriarchs.

Lost between these two extremes: the everyday black father who may not fit conventional notions of fatherhood but is nonetheless taking his parenting role seriously. He may not live at home with his partner or kids, he may not be legally married and he may struggle to provide on a consistent basis, but this does not automatically mean that he is irresponsible. However, these visuals of quotidian presence remain underrepresented in most mainstream media coverage.

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