“Dad changed the world,” said a proud six-year-old Gianna, the youngest daughter of George Floyd, the Houston man who was killed by a former Minnesota police officer after he put his knee on the neck of Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Most children are like Gianna in putting their dads on pedestals believing that they are fearless, strong, and will protect them at all cost. However, in the eyes of America, Black fathers are viewed in a different light making them have a bad wrap.
Judge by the color of their skin, Black men are looked at as being associated with drugs, gun violence, and incarceration. Black fathers have those stereotypes placed on them in addition to negative portrayals of having children out of wedlock with multiple baby mamas, not paying child support, and not being engaged in the lives of their children. Although some Black fathers can check these boxes but to categorize all of them collectively like this is totally wrong. There are plenty of Black dads who are present changing diapers, reading bedtime stories, helping with homework, and cheering on their offspring at every stage of life. Applause is not needed or required for these dads who cherish the responsibility of being a father. It is just what all good men do when they are blessed with that precious gift from above. However, many of them are being robbed of the opportunity to be a father. Losing their lives at an alarming rate by the very hands that are meant to protect them, law enforcement. Black fathers are being murdered all in the name of ugliest word in the dictionary, racism.
Floyd, by the accounts of his family, was a good man and a good dad. The father of five was a vivid presence in each of the lives of his children as well as a mentor to many others. In fact, he was callously killed in a city that he relocated to just to find better opportunities to provide for his family. Now his children are suffering. Floyd won’t be there to walk his daughters down the aisle, see his son become a man, or cheer them on at every stage of life. Black fathers are terrified that they too will be another George Floyd. Every day that they leave their home they know there is a possibility that they might not return leaving their children fatherless. That thought is terrifying for Black fathers and constantly weighs heavy on their mind.
Antonio Scott, father of four (Amber 19, Kiara 14, Amanda 10, and Antonio Jr. 9), sighs just thinking about how difficult it is to be a father right now. “I worry about my kids as they go to school or just try to hang out with their friends. Can they go to the store without being profiled as shoplifters or ride in the car with more than two people without getting pulled over?” said a concerned Scott. “It just means I have to make sure they know I’m here to be their confidant, positive black role model, their shoulder to lean or cry on and for them to know that dad will always have their back.”