Disclaimer: The following are the views of a single, black father whom shares custody of his child. These views are not representative of all single fathers or black parents. These views are not meant to excuse or justify the choices or actions of any individuals. However, this discussion piece is meant to provide new perspectives and encourage dialogue. Comments are greatly appreciated.
The Baby Daddy Chronicles
I – The “Choice” of Fatherhood
The most notably celebrated archetypical villain in black culture is the “Baby-Daddy”. People hate a BD… and they LOVE to HATE the BD.
Have you ever seen an episode of Maury Povich? The topic of the show will be about men who refuse to take care of their children because they haven’t had a paternity test yet. Before the man is ever introduced, he is belittled and berated by his accuser… the crowd shows no mercy; they boo him before he even has a chance to prove innocence; guilty until proven childless.
People Love to hate the BD. And what is more is that the BM is usually assumed to be the “good guy” in most cases. So much so, that a BD is discredited from ever having a point of view. Before we even hit the stage, we are trifling, no good, and assumed to be the single source of everybody’s strife… regardless of the fact that both parents should share accountability… not only in the child’s existence, but in the lack of planning to raise it correctly as well.
But instead we play the blame game. As a result, fatherhood isn’t seen as a life goal; it’s more of a chore.
People always ask the simple question of “Why don’t you JUST take care of YOUR kids?”… not realizing how loaded of a statement this is. What if the simple answer back was “Because I never intended to, and that wasn’t a secret.”… would that excuse him? Would we reassign blame to the woman who flirted with the risk of a pregnancy by an Aint-Shit-Dude?
What society fails to realized and/or accept is that ownership of a child/situation isn’t always easy or simple. Mothers have the advantage of seeing a feeling a tangible difference in their lives while expecting a child. Men sometimes need more time than that… especially when it’s not a part of their plan.
While as humans, we have individual beliefs and moral backgrounds that restrict some life options, the fact remains that there are choices for women to abandon motherhood. Abortion and Adoption, while not very popular, are very available. Men’s only option is to abandon the woman and the child.
This underlying fact coupled with the expectations set in the relationship between the mother and father to be (Please see this link for explanation), could equal something upsetting for one or more parties.
Considering that all active parties know the consequences of unprotected sex, if a contingency plan for pregnancy has never been created, it is assumed that both parties will work to raise the child… But is this a fair assumption? Assuming that somebody will loan you $20 is harsh… but assuming that somebody will invest the rest of their life to include you in some way…. Easy decision. And for those who don’t agree with the many, the choice is not to be a father.
You see, in truth parenthood is a choice; responsible individuals realize that long before they decide to not use a condom. Even still, men often view it as a trap. Sometimes it’s not even that fatherhood is scary; it’s just that men decide they don’t want to be with the woman before they become attached to the idea of raising their own.
Is this okay? No… but it is life… it happens… often. You see it on TV, in movies, on Maury, in your family… maybe even with your mother. My point is that it is prevalent… yet it continues to happen. But you never know, maybe these men abandon the job because they have no intentions of doing it correclty… This is a pathology that is directly linked to the historical behaviors of (absent) fathers, however the blame cannot be placed in one (Man’s) lap.
KING’S LAW: The Parent Trap isn’t impervious to free will.