With Father’s Day just around the corner, the number of “fathers” that participate in the lives of their children is declining. According to a Census Bureau report made in 2005, more than 19 million children (about one in four) were in households where there was not a father figure, biological or otherwise. The statistics also showed that black children were more heavily affected by this. As of 2004, about 56 percent of black family homes were single-parent homes, most of which were headed by the mother. This is extremely high in comparison to 31 percent of Hispanic family homes and 22 percent of white family homes.
There are groups, such as Black Star Project, that sponsor activities such as having fathers walk their children to school on the first day of classes for the year. In 2006 there was an estimated 300,000 men in 127 cities that participated on the first day of school activity which was called “Million Father March” and there is hope that the 2007 school year will see nearly half a million men in 200 various communities.
Phillip Jackson, executive director of the Chicago based Black Star Project, told Reuters that “Father absence in the African American communities across America has hit those communities with the force of 100 hurricane Katrina’s.” “It is literally decimating our communities and we have no adequate response to it.” Jackson went on to say that it has taken decades for fathering to decline to its current state, and restoring it would be a long process.
The National Fatherhood Initiative in Gaithersburg, Maryland in 2006 commissioned the University of Texas at Austin to conduct a survey called “Pop’s Culture: A National survey of Dads’ Attitudes on Fathering.” The survey was to be conducted on 701 fathers. The results of the survey concluded that about 91 percent of those who participated did agree that there is a father-absence crisis in America, work demands being the number one barrier of being a good father. Other major issues that were also determined were financial problems, the media, and popular culture. Unmarried fathers stated that there was a lack of cooperation from the mothers as a big problem of being a good father, followed by work responsibilities, financial problems, and treatment of fathers by the judicial system.
The president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, Ronald Warren, told Reuters that children in fatherless household were more susceptible to life’s challenges. “They are two to three times more likely to use drugs, become teen parents, be connected with the criminal justice system, to fail in school or to live in poverty” he stated.
Source: Kelly, Joyce. “Father absence “decimates” black community in U.S.” Yahoo News Reuters. 14 June 2007. http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070614/us_nm/usa_fathers_dc