It never ends. Thinking about manhood. Finding a way to think about black manhood. Trying to understand how a man understand being a black father. If you believe that all men are then same, then there is nothing to understand: all men are dogs.
But if you think every man and every woman has a story to tell it never ends. It never stops. How to hear men’s struggles to be men when many things around them are pushing them in the other directions.
And there are many things that can keep you in boyhood long, long after you are meant to have that stage in life. Structures and ideologies and psychological stuff that work to that deny your manhood. Unemployment is right up there, of course. Unemployment related to the fact of blackness and education. Lack of decent employment can check your progress to independent masculinity. That doesn’t mean employment on its own will make you a man.
When it comes to fatherhood, there is also lack of preparedness. Lack of sexual and reproductive health education for men. Lack of life lessons how to do this thing called fatherhood.
We all need education. I don’t mean certificates to get jobs. We need that, sure.
But we also need education how to be men, how to be fathers, how to be black and loving and proud and unafraid of raising our own children.
And for those of us who are in positions of teachers, and researchers, and bureaucrats, and politicians, and activists, those of us whose work is to represent others on film, in paint, on stage, in the media, in books, we can always use more education. Education to do it better – whatever it is we do. Like listening better. Like writing better. So we can hear and represent better but not to cover up the stories of black fathers. Here is an article that attempts to do that: tell the untold stories of black fathers.