I don't wear my wedding ring. I have never been into jewelry and my wife doesn't seem to mind much that I don't wear it. I have lost 3 rings. One in a piña colada when I used sling drinks on the weekend. Another one, after I lost the first one, my wife put it in a safe place so we would remember where it was at. It was such a safe place that neither of us could remember the safe place we put it. The third and last one I lost at the gym two years ago.
The other day I had all 3 of my kids while my wife ran some errands. I decided to take them for a walk around the lake next to our house. On our walk, I had started up a chat with a family who was walking a dog and I randomly saw the mother staring at my hands. I am guessing she was looking for a ring to see if I was married. Later in the conversation, she made a comment about how nice it was that I was spending so much with my kids. My initial thought was "of course I love spending time with them, I am their father". Later, I wondered if she was eluding that maybe "I just had my kids for weekend".
I don't know what she meant but for some reason it resonated with me. As a minority father, the stereotypes is that we aren't around. When it comes to discussions of fatherhood, minority fathers aren't considered to be a part of the conversations. If you listen to the media, the constant misperception is that the problem in minority communities is fatherless children. Yes, that is a problem but that is an issue in every community. Making fatherlessness a minority problem (which it isn't) negates the fathers who are doing work to change that.
In fact, a recent CDC study on the role of the American father, which included African American fathers, defy the stereotypes. The CDC study shows that minority father's are just as involved if not more involved than other fathers.
Statistics like these could also be the reason why the US has seen a meteoric rise in college educated minorities in this country.
If you want to follow a really amazing project who's goal is to tear down stereotypes of the black dad then you should follow Lucy Barber's "100 black dads project".
I will be writing about her project in depth in another post. It really is amazing project and I hope you take some time to go through the images.
So, the next time you hear someone on the news or friend refer to minority Fatherhood as a "crisis" you now have resources to know that it is far from the truth.
I love being a father and I know there are a lot more dads out there just like me.