October 2, 2017 | by Mark Stephen O'Neal
There are stark differences between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in my community, and though Father’s Day 2017 wasn’t exactly a massacre, it certainly felt like one in a sense. I live in Dolton, Illinois; a southern suburb of Chicago, and I frequent a Walgreens on the corner of Sibley Boulevard and Woodlawn Avenue.
Flashback to Mother’s Day 2017, and the Walgreens parking lot that’s a half-mile from my house was filled to capacity. I stopped off there to buy cards for my wife, my mom and my mother-in-law; and I was lucky to find what was needed without having to go to another store.
However, Father’s Day 2017 was an entirely different experience from the previous month’s festivities. I arrived at the same Walgreens as before for a card for my dad and had no complications in doing so. In fact, the parking lot was completely empty, and the store was almost as empty as the outside lot. I went directly to the Hallmark section and found what I wanted in record time.
The only conclusion I could derive was that fathers aren’t celebrated in the Black community anymore. The perception is the Black man doesn’t take care of his responsibilities as a collective group, and mothers get most of the credit and praise for raising children. I understand there are many fathers who shirk their parental duties, but statistics show that the majority of Black fathers play a significant role in their children’s lives (60% of Black fathers live with their children according to the NY Times).
The media perpetuates the stereotype by focusing on the small percentage of rotten apples who commit crimes and demonize the Black male population with the constant bombardment of these images to the public on the daily news. The sad truth is that it seems as though the Black community as a whole has bought into the myth the media has created—Black fathers have abandoned their children.