Saturday, February 7, 2009

Black History Month Black Television Film Alert - A Father's Promise Debuts February 8th, 2009 On MSNBC

15 comments:

RainaHavock February 7, 2009 at 2:11 AM  

This looks very interesting.

Rj February 7, 2009 at 9:28 AM  

I can't support this on many accounts, the first being that there is a hype about fatherlessness all stemming from interpreting the data incorrectly (Ann Coulter comes to mind). Second, "father-absence," as they call it, is a way to continue to pathologize the Black community in attempts to make us feel bad about family structures that do not hold up to patriarchal ideals. Furthermore, if you even wanted to "fix" the problem of fathers being absent (the word isn't even absent, it is nonparticipatory), with respect to Black communities, poverty must be at the forefront. I could go on and I know a lot of people have bought into this hype...but I'll have to settle for writing about it on my site...Thanks

selena February 7, 2009 at 12:17 PM  

"...if you even wanted to "fix" the problem of fathers being absent."

Who are you referring to when you said "you fixing the problem"?

The black community needs to feel bad at the shape its currently in. It has nothing to do with someone else's idea of what a family should be like. We ALL know what the black family is not so let's stop passing the blame it's 2009 for God's sake!

mypov123 February 7, 2009 at 4:16 PM  

Personally, I don't think this "special" is a good idea. This is supposed to be "Black History Month", correct? During this month, don't we usually put the emphasis on the positive contributions of African Americans? A special about absent African American fathers doesn't exactly fit that criteria. I'm not disputing that the problem of absent fathers exists in the Black community, but I have a problem with a "mainstream" network having a special on deadbeat fathers that singles out Black men, and during Black History Month??

DK Mama February 7, 2009 at 6:17 PM  

RJ: Amen, amen, amen. I am so sick of Blackfolks buying into this nonsense. When will we get that it is QUALITY of parenting that counts. Far too many of us, especially sistahs are so caught up with getting man or finding a man for they chillin, and wind up with destruction: think Jennifer Hudson's sister. And Oprah had that story a time back where the NFL player was raped by his mother's new husband at gunpoint. Think even that Women Thou Art Loosed Movie. Too many of us are trying to model a lie, a big white one, instead of thinking critically about what our kids really need: quality, good parenting be it a single parent, a couple, or even grandparents. There are far more dysfunctional married couples, who will likely get divorced and wreack way more havoc than single parents, especially ones by choice! And who is doing this hot mess? Al Roker. Not the modicum of Black manhood that I would ever want my son to emulate. Ever.

Rj February 7, 2009 at 8:49 PM  

selena, "you" was just a general reference to anyone who purports to care.

mypov123, you're right about this month being chosen...interesting...

DKMama, thank you so much. It is hard for people to accept what I am saying because people want simple answers and simple solutions. I went to the MSNBC site and commented on it--via newsvine--much more in depth.

You have too many truths in your comment that I won't even reference them specifically. Again, thank you for having a critical mind.

BLKSeaGoat February 7, 2009 at 10:27 PM  

I wonder if any gay fathers will be included in this special.

With regard to only kiztchy black stuff being broadcast during black history month, what makes February off limits? If a black man (and I'm speaking in general terms) is trifling the other 11 months of the year, broadcasting those shortcomings in March won't change the fact that he's trifling.

I'll watch the special and reserve comment about it later. However, I think everyone here so far have made some pretty salient points.

Selena February 8, 2009 at 12:03 AM  

I'm not disputing that the problem of absent fathers exists in the Black community, but I have a problem with a "mainstream" network having a special on deadbeat fathers that singles out Black men, and during Black History Month??

Well when is it a good time to discuss it? And whose really putting any credence in Black History month anyway these days?

I hate to sound so nonchalant about the one month that we do have but what do black folks really do during this month aside from the "Black History" fashion/talent shows?

True I won't be watching this mess either but it won't be because I feel its desecrating "our" month. I won't be watching it because I'm well aware of the plight of the black family. The folks that should be watching this probably don't watch MSNBC nor read online blogs.

mypov123 February 8, 2009 at 1:51 AM  

@ BLKSeaGoat and Selena:

The fact that this special is being aired during Black History Month is not the only (or the main) reason why I have a problem with it, as I stated in my previous post. My main issue is that I have a problem with Black men being singled out in a documentary on absentee fathers. What about absent White fathers, Hispanic fathers?? This is not being aired on BET. The majority of the audience will consist of White Americans. You don't see anything questionable about airing this special now and not in March or another month?? Black History Month is supposed to be a time when we focus on the positive contributions of African Americans. It's not just important for us to recognize the contributions of African Americans to this country, but for other groups as well. To air this special now, I believe, puts a damper on what is supposed to be the one time where Black people are shone in a positive light(to some degree anyway).

BLKSeaGoat February 8, 2009 at 8:37 AM  

POV, nothing of any substance ever airs on BET and the last time I checked it was black folks catching hell for the disintegration of their families and communities. I don't care about whites and hispanics because even the poor ones seem to be faring better than blacks of similar and higher status. I am also not white and my hispanic ancestry hails from confused dominicans who have been in a racial identity crisis for several hundred years.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the airing of one's dirty laundry in any month. The sad fact is that the trifling parents, male and female, who need to watch the special won't tune in because they'll be watching BET.

Black men aren't being singled out. In fact most of the discussion about the collapse of the black family was dominated by the lack of people having children who actually KNOW how to be parents. In many of those discussions it's the WOMEN who have been singled out. Black men have been told that they are the kings of their community and black women are the queens who should submit. Why submit to anyone at all? Why can't both be equals?

Someone stated earlier that poverty was a primary cause for the situations mentioned earlier. There is some truth to that, but I also believe that poverty is only one cause. Prior to integration black folks were broke and poor, but we had communities and recognized the value of our own nuclear families. Now blacks control billions of dollars in consumption and some of us have lost our damn minds.

Airing of this special during the month doesn't diminish it's significance. If Carter G. Woodson were alive to day, you be getting cursed out if you think he would allow any black person to stick their head in the sand to hibe from black problems everyday during the month of February.

Selena February 8, 2009 at 10:20 AM  

My main issue is that I have a problem with Black men being singled out in a documentary on absentee fathers. What about absent White fathers, Hispanic fathers??

Wow bm protectionism at its finest. However I don't blame you personally...but I do blame "us" for this ongoing syndrome within "our" community. So I will add a quote from Khadija over at Muslim Bushido in response:

Whenever the topic of wrongs committed by Blacks comes up, there are always plenty of Black folks who link and measure our evil deeds with those of Whites. I believe that this traditional, knee-jerk response is a serious error. As much as we like to scream about how we're being victimized, many of us feel perfectly comfortable victimizing others. The "White people are doing it too," or "White people did it worse," or "White people are doing it more" arguments are totally irrelevant when considering the evil of some of our people's actions. Furthermore, these arguments are: (1) ethically repugnant; and even worse, (2) a dangerous strategic liability in terms of African-Americans' long-term interests.- Muslim Bushido

Professor Tracey February 8, 2009 at 11:03 AM  

@Everyone -

I think everyone raises valid points here. I too question airing this on Black History Month. It's not the fact that black fathers (good or bad ones) should NOT be focused upon, it just seems like that by airing this on black history month, MSNBC are attacking like this is some kind of "special" problem for black Americans.

There are plenty of children in this world without a father, even when he is at home. Black people don't have a corner on the market of fatherless homes. Further, all of these specials attack like black households are ALWAYS fatherless FIRST and completely deny how HARD American society has worked to make it nearly impossible for some black men to head households. I can guarantee this special will act like black men are BORN to be bad, absent fathers.

I am also tired of the "woe is me" specials on black people. They make me tired and angry. Yes, black folks have problems and we need to be open and honest in discussing them. With that said I hate the airing of our issues by a mainstream media that really does not give a damn about helping to resolve these problems.

DK Mama February 8, 2009 at 11:43 AM  

RJ, thanks for the tip I posted my comments under LawyerMom. You continue to make salient points and powerful blog BTW.

Selena: Ah to be youngish. I too used to take knee jerk offense at those whose only critique of these Roker/Soledad O'Brien specials was that whites do it too. I'll be writing a memoir and no doubt will get the same critiques (assuming it is published success, lol). But when I became a choice parent of a son all these things took on a new meaning. I used to date interracially, and now that I am older and can be honest about why that occurred, that just ain't gonna happen with my kid and he knows it. Likewise, if we are honest about what plagues our community we will realize that it actually does NOT warrant a special because it what plagues us all as Americans does in fact cross racial lines, it includes gender inequity, poverty and other stuff that leads to dysfunction among families: when a man of any color trades in his wife for a younger model that has consequences; when parents don't love their kids that leads to drug use by those kids and lessened opportunities, when divorce happens, when women boast about being pro-life and belt out babies they can ill-afford to take care of, they will wake up one day and realize that no only has she destroyed her own life, but if she is a good mother, and only if, she will realize she has also destroyed her childrens' life; this often happens when the baby is no longer a cute and small and can be quieted by nursing, but a screaming toddler tormented because she/he cannot bear the tragedy of crust on the jelly toast and screams to high heaven about it or worse, when a disaster like Katrina strikes and mama finally understands that she has way more babies than she has hips to put them on to escape and must decide who lives or dies because of her poor and in retrospect, ungodly decision not to abort when she should have. Anyway, all that to say, our own beloved President was not raised in the mythical model Black and white folks by numbskulls like TD Jakes are so keen to keep alive of 2 parent, 2 children raised together in Leave it To Beaver harmony; he basically had a daddy and a mama who abandoned him (specifically a Black man who impregnanted a white girl from the sticks and left his Black son to deal with that potential tragedy!! whew don't get me started, those kinds of Black men to me are the worst). Why don't we take from Obama's life story that steady, loving parenting, from whatever source it comes from is what a kid needs: single parent, gay parent, grandparent, foster parent? People who marry and divorce do way more harm than any o fthese groups! Any way, why make kids feel ashamedbecause their homes do not look like TV; actually even TV today does not look like the model Black folks are so idiotically keen to keep alive, again a la TD Jakes. Anyway, folks will get this or they will not. I still say shame to Roker and CNN's Soledad O'Brien and Tony Harris, the Ben Vereens of journalism.

mypov123 February 8, 2009 at 11:59 AM  

@BlkSeaGoat and Selena:

Both of you are missing my points.
To BlkSeaGoat, I wasn't implying that I expected BET to air a special about this issue or anything else substantive. BET has been doing a disservice to the Black community for quite some time lol, I agree. My point was that this special is being aired on a mainstream network, with a predominately White audience. I would argue that, like the Black in America special on CNN, this special on black fathers isn't really meant for Black people to watch. We already know that the problem exists, why do we need to watch a special about it on MSNBC?? We just elected a Black/Biracial man as President of the United States. If they're going to air a special that focuses on African Americans, why can't they air a special on the achievements of other Black Americans other than Obama, why focus on negative aspects in our community? To Selena, I am not defending absent Black fathers. I would ask you, why are you so intent on focusing on bad black fathers and not fathers who are taking care of their responsibilities, don't they deserve to be recognized sometimes?? Just as Prof. Tracey said, I have a problem with mainstream media more often focusing on what's wrong with our community. You don't see specials on the divorce rate among White Americans, do you?? Or the problem of pedophilia among White males (according to FBI statistics, 80% of pedophiles are non-Hispanic white males).
At least Prof. Tracey understood the points I was trying to make lol.

Rj February 9, 2009 at 7:57 AM  

DKMama, thanks, and thanks for coming over to the other place to add some sense among piles of nonsense. I have been brewing a post on my site about Obama since last year. You see, he falls victim to the same patriarchal thinking--that his family was pathological. Indeed, I'm sure it had it's flaws and of course it was a struggle. But Obama 100% supports fatherhood initiatives (the same government programs that are being used to erase child support debt). Maybe someone can beat me to finishing my post about it. Look up Obama and Jeffrey Leving on You tube and listen to the radio segment.

Garbage.

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