It came from history….
Historically, Black fathers played a central role to provide and protect their family, and their community. Black Fathers actively participated the nurturing of children which included their own as well as others. They held gatherings for men and boys to discuss hardships. Fatherhood was seen as a community responsibility. The inequality, and diminishing circumstances that Black families have endured as a result of racism, systemic oppression which aimed to dismantle the family and community unit.
As many Black fathers due not fit the mold created by westernized culture, they are often stigmatized as being absent, uninvolved fathers in mainstream media and society. As there is this stigma of fathers being absent there is a lack of representation in research surrounding parenting interventions. However, research that is conducted shows that a fathers positive presence in a child’s life is highly beneficial to the child’s development and well-being. As such, many Black community resources support the involvement of Black fathers and support the community as they navigate anti-Black racism. As a result of systemic racism, it may often be difficult as a Black parent to navigate anti-Black racism that exists among systems including schools and child welfare systems. In addition, it may be even more difficult for Black fathers to navigate these systems as there is often a stigma of Black fathers being absent.
Identifying how systemic racism impacts Black fathering will help to improve and highlight their ability to navigate the system in a healthy way. By addressing the experience of police brutality, lack of mentorship, education inequity, poverty, health inequities and more, Black fathers can collaborate with resources to: address the mental health trauma, advocate for themselves within this system effectively, develop the skills and strengths to parent their children successfully, and navigate healthy interpersonal relationships.
Seeking Resources and Support
Accessing resources and support is essential to strengthening the role of Black Fathers.
Included is a list of articles and website links.
Tips on navigating the school system:
Tips on navigating the child welfare system:
Macaulay Child Development Centre (Toronto)
More Than a Haircut engages Black fathers or father figures in conversations about their
role. The program is carried out in partnership with local barbers. The groups are held in
barbershops in order to make the services more accessible
Young and Potential Fathers (Toronto)
The Young and Potential Fathers Initiative lack of resources, and lack of visible role models for
young racialized fathers in Toronto’s priority neighborhoods, with a specific focus on Black
Black Daddies Club (BDC) helps overcome the isolation that Black fathers experience by
providing a space for Black men to discuss parenting issues and concerns facing the Black
community as a whole.
Located in Toronto, Ujima House is the only father-focused centre in Canada. Serving
primarily African Canadians, it providing one-on-one mentorship, parenting courses,
supervised visitation areas, cooking lessons, and help with legal matters.
- Wilson, K. R., & Prior, M. R. (2011). Father involvement and child well‐being. Journal of paediatrics and child health, 47(7), 405-407.
- Turner, T. & Debrah, M. (2020). Review of Promising Practices: Supports for Black Parents. Toronto, ON: Turner Consulting Group Inc.
- Connor, M. E., & White, J. (Eds.). (2006). Black fathers: An invisible presence in America.Routledge.
- Ratele, K., Shefer, T., & Clowes, L. (2012). Talking South African fathers: a critical examinationof men’s constructions and experiences of fatherhood and fatherlessness. South African journal of psychology, 42(4), 553-563.
Written by: Jordanna, MSW Student