Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood

Overview

The fatherless black family is one of America's most damning stereotypes and most troublesome epidemics. Raised in a home with an abusive, emotionally distant father, journalist Leonard Pitts Jr. didn't know where to turn for guidance when raising his own son. Where and how do you become "Dad" when you have grown up without positive role models? Pitts interviewed dozens of black men across America to pose this question to them. The result is an honest portrait of black ...
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Overview

The fatherless black family is one of America's most damning stereotypes and most troublesome epidemics. Raised in a home with an abusive, emotionally distant father, journalist Leonard Pitts Jr. didn't know where to turn for guidance when raising his own son. Where and how do you become "Dad" when you have grown up without positive role models? Pitts interviewed dozens of black men across America to pose this question to them. The result is an honest portrait of black fatherhood that offers much food for thought.
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Editorial Reviews

Martha Southgate
In this book you'll meet men who've beaten their own sad legacy and become superb parents and men who have perpetuated the cycle of violence and loss in which they were raised. This book---clear-eyed and searching---is one that anyone who cares about fathering in our community won't soon forget.
Essence
Erik Bledsoe
Becoming a father is easy, requiring little more than a healthy sperm count, but becoming a dad, with the respect and love implied by that term, is a lifelong process and commitment. In this book, Pitts offers a critique of absent, neglectful and abusive fathers as well as advice for those who would like to do better.
ForeWord
Library Journal
Pitts, an African American journalist, has written a poignant account of the nature and meaning of black fatherhood in the contemporary United States. He deftly weaves together remembrances of an abusive father with scores of interviews with other black fathers and children. The result is a moving portrait of pain, suffering, and guilt as Pitts recounts a number of stories in which black fathers simply are not "there" for their kids. Although he offers no easy solutions, he does use the Million Man March of 1995 as a hopeful symbol that black men can learn to take more responsibility for their lives and those of their children. Although repetitious in places, this is a very well written and provocative work. Highly recommended.--Anthony O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, IN Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Syndicated Miami Herald columnist Pitts offers a thoroughly absorbing study of the African-American man's struggle to become a competent father in a society sorely lacking in role models. Detailing his personal efforts to bond with his children, the author also presents numerous case studies of black men facing similar difficulties. Sons of abusive or absent men, many members of the younger generation have to pave their way to productive fatherhood over rough terrain, while exorcising their progenitors' ghosts. As Pitts details, with 64 percent of African-American children growing up in single-parent homes, often raised by poor mothers, black youth, especially males, are at greater risk for delinquency. Lacking male role models that provide love or discipline, insecure black youth often feel abandoned and adopt the tough bravado of street culture. Interviewing black males, Pitts encounters too many who have abdicated all the responsibilities of fatherhood; some aren't even sure how many children they have. Blaming racism for their predicament, as valid as that may be, in Pitts's view only perpetuates the cycle of black men who grew up without fathers begetting children who grow up in single-parent homes. Pitts offers helpful, sensible advice. He urges black men who have fathered children to locate them and establish a relationship with them and their mothers. Once they establish that relationship, he says, they should not try to buy kids' love but instead create structure and stability while praising them, allowing the next generation to grow up confident. Fathers must also make the children understand the importance of education, says Pitts; this is especially important in a society"that touts the notion that authentic blackness precludes academic excellence." A readable, well-balanced, impassioned account of a dilemma that touches not just the black family, but all who care about children. ($100,000 ad/promo; author tour)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563525018
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/1/1999
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 1.03 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2005

    Solution Oriented Discussion

    Leonard Pitts, Jr., dispells the myth that women and children 'don't need a man' by showing the impact that fatherlessness has on children. His analysis has relevance far beyond our African-American community and is supported by a large body of anecdotal, first-person interviews as well as statistical evidence. Makes me thankful for the strong women who held it together in my life and in other families.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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