When the public reacts to the deaths of young black men in Baltimore and Ferguson and Sanford, we often hear about a “crisis” among black fathers—namely, that too many of them absent for their children. But that “crisis” may not be the case at all. A study conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that black fathers are just as present—and sometimes more so—in the lives of their children than dads of other races, defying the stereotype that black fathers simply aren’t around to give their kids guidance and support.
The study provides a telling look at fatherhood among black, Latino and white men. The CDC found that a higher percentage of black fathers living with young children (up to age five) did daily activities like sharing meals, dressing their children, and reading to them than other fathers. Across the board, black dads did just as much as white and Latino dads, whether they live with or apart from their children.
It should be noted that that’s often the statistic that gets thrown around when we talk about the crisis of black fatherhood—that more black men live apart from their families than other fathers. That’s true, but as ThinkProgress notes, there’s evidence that suggests that number “stems from structural systems of inequality and poverty.”
ThinkProgress also highlights that black and white dads are just as likely to agree it’s important to be a father “who provides emotional support, discipline, and moral guidance,”—and blacks dads are “even more likely to think it’s important to financially provide for their children.”