Being a Black Father in America

As a father, my job is to provide for my family and to protect them. As a husband my job is to keep my wife happy and never need anything. But as an African American father, my job is to educate my children and others about negative stereotypes that my children will fall victim to.

We all know the recent developments in Ferguson have drawn a lot of national attention and rightfully so. People are asking how and why this is happening. My response to the why it’s happening is that this has ALWAYS been going on.
Being African American we always get judged by the color of our skin and the thick curls in our hair. We are even judged by our newfound culture (since our old ones have been striped from us). Society put a negative view of the areas that we live in calling them ghettos, hoods, projects, or the bad part of town (no matter how nice the area you live in is). We are constantly judged by the clothes we wear and even the language we speak.
What is happening in Ferguson has only shed light on what happens around America. How did this happen? What I believe happened is a young man, Mike Brown, was walking somewhere with his friend. When an officer told the two young men to get out of the street, I don’t know what happened after that. However, I do know that excessive force was used and a young man was killed.
Everyday I strive to break down the stereotypes that are destroying the African American community especially now because I am an African American Father in America with children. I am very active in both of my children’s lives. I teach them how to be the best they can be aside from anything cultural or racial. I teach them right from wrong and good from bad. I teach them not to judge someone with out getting to know them first. I show them how to be helpful and how to help someone while keeping yourself safe.
I also have to teach them the rules for being African American that were taught to me as a child.
-Be careful who you hangout with
-Don’t be in big crowds
-Never roam the streets at night
-Don’t hangout at stores or in the mall
-Don’t act crazy or wild
Some of you will read this and say these are all rule that everyone should be taught as a child. While I agree that these are rules for everyone, as an African American if you don’t follow these rules we have the reality of what is happening in Ferguson. You end up dead, in jail or in trouble over something you didn’t do or because someone else hates or has negative stereotypes toward African Americans.
I have talked to my children about what has been going on in Ferguson and I explained it in a way they could understand with out demonizing the situation. I told them that a young man was walking down the street with his friend when a man came up and told them to get out the street and something happened and the man shot the boy. I stayed away from telling them that it was a police officer because not all police officers are bad and I don’t want my children to be afraid of police or afraid of asking them for help. I also reminded them that they need to listen to what mom and I tell them.
Being an African American Father in America isn’t easy but I am determined to make a change. I won’t be put down with what I’ve dealt with all my life as unfair as it is. I won’t stand for my children to fall victim of stereotypes or to judge others because at the end of the day I will Always be judged.


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