In his Washington Post op-ed, “The dangerous myth of the ‘missing black father,’” Mychal Denzel Smith argues that “responsible fatherhood only goes so far in a world plagued by institutionalized oppression.”
If black children were raised in an environment that focused not on bemoaning their lack of fathers but on filling their lives with the nurturing love we all need to thrive, what difference would an absent father make? If they woke up in homes where electricity, running water and food were never scarce, went to schools with teachers and counselors who provided everything they needed to learn, then went home to caretakers of any gender who weren’t too exhausted to sit and talk and do homework with them, and no one ever said their lives were incomplete because they didn’t have a father, would they hold on to the pain of lack well into adulthood?”
Hmmm. The first question answers itself. If all children get everything they “need to thrive,” it is assumed they’ll thrive. The second question is impossible to know . . . at least until the creation of that perfect utopia with universal material abundance, a flawless education system and indefatigable single-parents.
Fatherlessness is not just a black problem. And let’s agree there are great single-parent (or no-parent) homes as well as terrible two-parent homes.
Still, fathers are nice. Oftentimes they help children thrive, in part by providing “electricity, running water and food” as well as “love” — both tough and nurturing. Proclaiming that fathers would not matter in a society where everything’s automatically supplied is . . . simple-minded.
Often called socialism.
Smith raises the issues of “racist drug laws, prosecutorial protection of police officers who kill, mass school closures . . . the poisoning of their water.” He’s right: having a father won’t magically solve those.
But it would solve the problem of not having a father.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.