The increase has hit all races, but it's worse amongst inner city black families. In Washington, for instance, 85% of white families are headed by two parents compared to only 25% of black families.
A black woman named Ashley has written a post on this topic titled "We, of the fatherless tribe". It has this opening:
“We, of the fatherless tribe love men differently.”I find this interesting as it's written by a woman who seems fairly left-wing, albeit Christian, in her views. And yet, having experienced fatherlessness herself, she sees it as something distinct and valuable, as something that is not the same as having a mother. A father, she writes, is a protective figure, who has the power to bring a level of security and self-worth to a girl's life.
That one line of Gina Loring’s poem, “You Move Me” strikes me every time I hear it because as a young Black woman it rings so heart-wrenchingly true.
Some of us have other shadows of fathers who help but they can never quite be the “Daddy” that we silently envy in the lives of other Black girls. And those other Black girls seem so oblivious, don’t they? So unaware of the pot of gold they’re holding. In having a protective figure. Someone to validate them and instill self-worth. A rule-setter and protector. It’s not the norm anymore. And here we are. Trying to figure out ourselves...We struggle with insecurities before we even know what the word means.
She goes on, too, to write about the effect that feeling abandoned had on her future relationships with men: at first, a rushing into relationships to feel wanted or needed; then a "calloused" closing off to men, to avoid the hurt of feeling abandoned again.
But what's to be done? Ashley has, at least, taken one positive step. And that's to reject the current trend to define parenthood simply as the unisex physical care of children. Under this definition an "involved father" is one who takes over the physical care of children. It's not that fathers don't or can't do some of this, but it's not something that is distinctively paternal.
In other words, if you define parenthood as the unisex physical care of children, then that means that fathers aren't a necessary part of family life as they don't contribute anything distinctive as fathers. And that then gives the green light both for women to push men out of the family and for men to walk away.