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O Father, Where Art Thou Essay

The article, “O Father, Where Art Thou? ” which was written by Joshua Alston and published in Newsweek last May, basically explained that the notion that most black fathers are irresponsible parents is not entirely true. According to the author, while statistics show that there is an alarming rate of black children living in homes without a father—50 percent, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all black fathers are the same. In fact, Alston wrote that there are a number of black fathers who are responsible parents and who have been supportive and caring for their children even in the most unstable and volatile situations.

This, according to the author, is greatly illustrated in Tal-Nehsi Coates’ memoir, “A Beautiful Struggle,” in which he depicted how his black father, Paul, was a source of stability in security in a community where violence is rampant. Moreover, Alston claimed that the image of black fathers were significantly tainted by songs and shows such as “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” and “The Maury Show,” which both portrayed, in a way, that black men are bad fathers and, as a result, gave rise to the negative views towards them.

On the other hand, the problem with most black fathers, according to the author, is that they think they equate being a successful parent to making a lot of money or being a breadwinner. Therefore, if black fathers aren’t able to substantially provide for their families, they opt to leave home instead of having their pride hurt. Based on the article, this is what people like Coates are trying to change. According to him, black fathers shouldn’t be made to feel like failures just because they aren’t living to the role of breadwinner.

Coates also claimed that being a father also entails love, leadership, and teaching his children values and lessons in life. In his memoir, Coates wrote that he was raised well by his father, which also enabled him to develop his critical thinking. In short, according to the author, in order to reduce the number of black fathers who are absent in their homes, people should view them in a different light and look at the other aspects of their lives instead of just focusing on their inability to provide for their families.


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