This 'Letter' To Black Fathers Is A Poignant Challenge To The Absent Father Stereotype

"You all are very much loved, very respected, and very much appreciated."

"Black fathers, when you're around, you're the only role model that's needed — no sports figure, no actor, no famous person could ever take your place." Sure, those first words in a new BuzzFeed video entitled "A Letter To Black Fathers" would resonate with any dad, regardless of color. But for Black dads across the country, the words represent a much-needed counter message to the "absent father" stereotype they are too often subject to.

The conversation surrounding Black fatherhood often leans negative, with many sweeping statements on its impact. Many have pointed to the statistics on single Black mothers and young Black crime as a result of fathers' "desertion of their offspring," as Charles Blow at The New York Times put it. Politicians and media pundits perpetuate the stereotype too, most recently in their conclusions on the police-related deaths of Black youth.

But a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) last year dealt a blow to the myth of Black fatherhood. The study showed that Black dads were just as present in their children's lives as dads of other races — sometimes even more so.

Narrated by different people, the BuzzFeed video is a powerful "thank you" note to the men in their lives who challenge the stereotype by instilling in them values that have shaped their lives. 

"He's the type of person that doesn't say, 'Do this,' or 'Do that,'" one woman says to the camera.  "Instead he just lives a life that is admirable and wonderful."

Listen to the entire letter here:

Cover image via Rob Marmion / Shutterstock.