This weekend is social media’s favorite holiday; Father’s Day. For the past few years Twitter on Father’s Day has been a celebration of great black men who raised their children into adulthood, but it has also served as a Comedy Central style roast of the “fatherless”; as if not having a dad around is choice that any child has ever made. Even right now as this is getting published, the most asinine hashtag of ever is making it’s way around Twitter calling for an end to the holiday for absolutely no reason. I’m not going to focus on the idiocy however because that’s not what this post is about. We’re going to discuss the fact that I am sick and tired of being called fatherless.
Understand something, there is no such thing as fatherless, literally and metaphorically. We all received our DNA from two parents, male and woman (since the term female is unacceptable now); and we all possess some character traits from our parents. Lebron James may not know his father, but he is still a product of his father’s genome, at least partially. On the flip side of that, majority of us who grew up without our biological fathers present always had some level of male guidance within our lives, for me, it was my grandfather who I called “Daddy Will” or simply “Daddy.” For others it may have been uncles, stepfathers, old-heads, OGs, whatever. None of us grew up completely devoid of any interaction with adult males; so again, while your definition of a father may be so narrow minded that you can’t see the value of these men who impacted and shaped our lives like only a parent could, that is not our issue.
What is my issue, and probably one of the biggest ones is that the term “fatherless” places the blame for deadbeat parenting on the child and not the parent. I had nothing to do with my father’s affinity for cocaine, thots, and free prison food, just as I had nothing to do with my mother’s decision to keep us separated until I was an adult. My situation is not unique; there isn’t a singular event, thought, or decision that leads one to being “fatherless”. A lot of time the situation is just too complicated or hurtful to harp on; you learn to accept, adjust, and move on with your life.
My last point is that a lot, and I mean an overwhelming majority of Twitter speakers who come from two-parent households, the ones who were “fathered” so to speak, are fucked up. Yes, you, spoiled princess who thinks that every man she meets is supposed to be her lord and savior because her daddy always took care of her like a man should. Your father taught you to be waited on hand and foot, to depend on the men in your life to provide instead of teaching you how to be a complementing partner. Your expectations are astronomically stupid, yet you insist that all the sleeping around, relying on temporary boyfriends and flings for money and security, and reckless attention seeking behavior doesn’t mark your character because well, you don’t have “daddy issues.” Um, sorry princess but you do, yours are just different.
Men aren’t exempt either. While I’m glad to know that so many men on the timeline have had their biological pops around to raise them, a lot of you are just as cold, uncaring, and emotionally stagnant as the ones raised primarily by their mothers. Some of you resent your fathers for reasons ranging from high expectations to not enough attention, yet you slander boys who don’t have the fortune you possess to simply even ask their dad a question. You make fun of gay men, specifically gay black men, as if live-in father is a prerequisite to your sexuality. I’m not saying that men not taking care of their children is great, because it’s not, and they’re assholes; I’m saying that having or not having a father has nothing to do with your character, how you present yourself, and whether or not you grow up to be a shitty person. Some of that will happen for you all regardless.
At the end of the day, parenting exists in a gray area that isn’t defined in clear, absolute values. If you were blessed enough to have two caring parents that love you, ask yourself if your characters and reputation reflect that. If you weren’t, it’s okay, you were and still are loved despite what Twitter, social scientists, and the mainstream media says. Let’s spend Father’s Day simply appreciating all the men in the world who seek to make it a better place for the next generation through their mentorship and guidance; not their spermal output. Take time to thank your fathers, but more importantly, your influencers for the role they’ve played in your success and survival. Remember, the world owes you nothing, so appreciate the people in it who give you all they have, even when they don’t have to.