From The Ramparts
Junious Ricardo Stanton
Fatherhood vs Sperm Donors (Baby Daddy)
“Black men must be believers in Black people (men, women and children) twenty-four hours a day and develop a lifestyle that clearly state we re not for sale... We are a social people and the Black family has been the foundation of our strength. Our foundation is weakened when the men are confused about their role, rather their mission in life.” Haki R Madhubuti
The third Sunday in June is the day set aside to honor fathers. In AmeriKKKa it is a time for retail shopping and spending, so in order to keep the cash registers ringing, the Madison Avenue mind molders and advertising gurus added graduation to the theme. Now they call the day Dads and Grads. In a way it is quite revealing and symbolic. Fatherhood is being undermined and supplanted by marketers for a few dollars more. In our communities, real fathers, the protectors, supporters and role models for manhood for both boys and girls have been replaced by the term “baby daddy”. In its’ most crass definition it means the male who impregnated the female to produce the baby. The term baby daddy is usually followed by the word drama as in baby daddy drama to designate an unwed couple experiencing a chaotic often contentious relationship. The flip side of baby daddy drama is baby mama drama. This is a sad commentary on just how far parenthood and male-female relationships have devolved in this society.
In the black community it is sacrilegious to disrespect one’s mother or to criticize motherhood in general, even though our women have been under a relentless assault since we were brought to this hemisphere in chains. Our women have been dogged out and denigrated since 1619. The white woman was held up as the ideal, Miss Ann the lazy loafing female who was too trifling to even nurse her own children was held up as the role model for femininity! The Mammy ideal, the black women who subsumed their own needs and the needs of their families for the benefit of whites were held up and valued. These women were praised and prized for their nurturing abilities especially for Massah’s children.
Black males on the other hand, even the most docile house servants were always viewed with suspicion. Black men posed a serious threat. Knowing full well the dominance of black genes, white men feared miscegenation and sexual race mixing unless they were driven by their lust to be the ones doing the impregnating. White men feared black men would attempt to get free or worse pay them back for the evil they did to us. White men also feared the residual strength and mental acumen of the black male, so they endeavored to discourage us and emasculate us at every turn. It is a deep insight into the perverse psyche of whites that even after murdering black males by hanging or what they called lynching, they often cut off the victim’s genitals. In addition to cutting off other extremities depraved whites often kept the penis as a souvenir.
From a financial perspective whites did appreciate black’s ability to reproduce and went to great lengths to selectively breed their blacks just like they did their horses and cattle. This is part of the insanity of AmeriKKKan slavery. Whites needed black men to be virile as long as it was controlled and profitable for them! But all the while they intuitively feared Black males and did everything in their power to minimize our ability to be fully actualized men.
Despite the legacy of slavery in which our unions and marriages were not accorded full respect and legal standing, our ancestors did everything in their power to make the marriages work; often under the most trying and egregious circumstances. Nevertheless when I was coming up in the ‘50 and 60's every house in my neighborhood had a man in it, father, grandfather or in my case a great uncle. My father died when I was three years old, my parents had been married for twelve years. Even though I grew up without a father, I was blessed to grow up in a time and place when men asserted themselves and made every effort to support and protect their families. I saw men get up and go to work everyday. These men worked in factories, they worked as mechanics, police officers, postal workers, they worked in the ship yard and many did low wage menial work. But they went to work and they supported their families. They set the tone and tenor for our neighborhood: no nonsense, be respectful law abiding, go to church and look out for the whole community.
More importantly the men in my neighborhood took the time to know all the children and they let us know they were watching us. When the occasion warranted, they chastised us, sent us on our way and held us accountable for our behavior. These black men were the epitome of fathers. They were not merely sperm donors, they took their roles as males and fathers seriously. Times are much different now. A myriad of forces has attacked the black family, liberal divorce laws, changing religious attitudes, federal, state and local government policies regarding welfare and aid and the role of the corporate media have all impacted us over the past four or five decades.
Today being a father means almost nothing. Given the decadence and debauchery promoted by the mass media, it is no wonder fatherhood has been reduced to “baby daddy” casual relationships. This is one of the main reasons our community is so dis-empowered, so disorganized, discombobulated and in so much turmoil. We don’t have the type of male role models today we had when I was growing up. Except in rare occasions we don’t see men and women getting married and staying married for forty or more years. We don’t see couples working out their differences, making sacrifices and working together to raise their children and grandchildren.
Were times easier when I was growing up? Not hardly. Racism and economic privation were the order of the day. Government sanctioned apartheid was in full effect. But the values were different then. Black folks aspired to do and be better, to make changes and make things better for the next generation. Being a man meant more than just having a penis, wearing jewelry or having a nice car. Being a real man meant shouldering responsibility, starting a family and supporting them even if you and the mother didn’t get along! Being a man meant chipping in to set a positive and protective tone in the community. The men in my community stepped to youngsters who got out of line and even went so far as to let the parents know they did it. Nowadays you better not correct or chastise a child, even if the child is way out of line, the parents will go off on you.
Given the changes in AmeriKKKan society it is unlikely we will go back to those times but, that doesn’t mean we cannot alter or improve the way we carry ourselves and handle our business. We can still be role models. We can still make an impact on the lives of our children. We can be actively involved in our children’s lives. We an volunteer and be supportive in the neighborhood. We can be more than a sperm donor, we can be real fathers and real men. As we celebrate Father’s Day, let us contemplate the highest ideals of what it means to be a real father and real men. Let’s manifest these ideals and live them whether we have children or not.