It’s common for young black males to grow up in a single family household. Unfortunately, a lot of these young black males are growing up without a father figure. Incarnation, not owning up to responsibilities or not knowing how to be a father there’s multitudes of reasons nevertheless, the child won’t have their biological father around to look up too. It’s a touchy subject, but the topic hits close to home. I grew up without my father around.
My father wasn’t around as often has I would want him to be. I learned a lot through my mother and I’m grateful for that. But there’s certain things a father teaches their son that mothers can’t do. For example, my first experiences at the barber shop. My Mother dropped me off an asked one of the barbers to cut my hair evenly. As I looked around I noticed how a lot of fathers were interacting with their sons. The fathers would “boast” about how their son is the star running back on the little league football team scoring touchdowns. The fathers would ask for a precise cut for their son’s hair so he can look his best and find him a little girlfriend. Most importantly the father was preparing their son to get accustomed to the shop and its “masculine rituals” such as talks about who’s the best rapper, women with fat ass and of coarse sports. I know it sounds stupid, but know looking back on it was some sort of tradition passed down through generations. The barbershop became this space that a father and son could have a bonding experience, something I didn’t get to have.
In the Progressive black masculinity book, edited by Mutua I found it surprising that the idea of baby –sitting of one’s child was brought up. When I did get to see my father, it was only when my mother had something important to do. She would drop me off at his place with toys, food and importantly money. My dad would refuse to take me with a couple of dollars waiting for him. My dad would call my mother constitutionally on when she would pick me up. I was interfering with his time and money he would say. Basically, my dad was my personal babysitter.
For those short hours being with my father I couldn’t recall ever being disciplined by him. I got to do what I wanted to do with no repercussions. I felt free for those hours, but was there a reason behind it? In the Masculinity of the Black Imagination , Rex L. Crawley wrote about how black fathers were scared to disciplined their children. I was shocked further reading the article. I thought it was somewhat hilarious that these men would put the discipline on their wives hands. They had this fear of hurting their child, but doesn’t this buy into this stereotype of black men being physically aggressive? Either way could i correlate Crawley’s findings to my fathers no discipline rule? Maybe or maybe not, but I did find it quite interesting.