When Father’s Day is on the horizon, it always gives me cause for pause. I’ve written about this topic a few times, but each year I find myself compelled to say something more. There are so many amazing fathers in our community, and they are rarely given the acknowledgment that they deserve. We hail from a rich culture of diviners, scientists, and brilliant men who built the pyramids and left us innumerable clues to our true legacy. Yet, there is is a great need for healing as it relates to Black men and fathers.
On the other hand, due to the history of Black People in America, there are so many of our men who have been marginalized. There are those in prison (this is by design) many more who are unemployed and poorly educated, and there are those who deal with their pain through alcohol and drugs. All these factors lead to a disproportionate number of absentee fathers. Our history of enslavement in this country was fraught with generations of families being torn asunder, spouses, parents, and children separated for life. This devastating dynamic has an impact on our communities has been blatantly minimized and dismissed. Yet, it is the cause of generational pain and suffering.
The heavy burden that a black man bears in a society that dares him to stand tall and be his great and authentic self is something that no one else can ever imagine. He lives with this gravity daily. He can be killed at any moment for breathing while Black. Black men are vilified and made to be scary heathens in this culture. Even stable and successful black men in corporate American can tell you of the many slights, micro and macro aggressions experienced daily in the workplace, and the tightrope they must consistently walk to maintain the summit they’ve reached.
Many Black men who are suffering have not been raised by a father who is present in body and mind, who is loving and inspiring; therefore they no frame of reference for how to offer this to their offspring. Don’t get me wrong; there are those who haven’t had fathers who have made it their mission in life to be exceptional fathers.
In the meantime, many adults who carry within themselves deep sorrow that manifests as anger with their absent fathers. Sometimes the father was present but abusive, in most cases because he too was abused. This abused also has its roots in the brutality of slavery. We must get to a place of true understanding and forgiveness. Instead of forgiveness, there is shame and blame. This anger often doesn’t diminish even when the father is no longer living. This anger follows the father to his grave and beyond.
I have walked the road to understanding and forgiveness and while it’s not an easy journey, getting to the other side is beyond rewarding. On this upcoming Father’s Day, I am praying for more forgiveness, more love, and understanding for Black Fathers.
Some techniques for healing this pain is to talk about it, write about, seek professional counseling, commit to dealing with what you are feeling, what you may have pushed down and tucked away in a place that eating away at you. Prayer, meditation, and affirmations can help to release old wounds. You must want to reach a place of healing. It will more than likely not occur of its own accord. You must diligently seek it.
In the meantime, to all those great Dads out there, we sincerely appreciate you. You helped me to heal my heart. Many Thanks to my father who eventually came back around and made it his business to connect with my siblings and me and generously blessed us upon his death as he had long promised.
Let’s celebrate Black Men.
Resources for healing: