In the official NewsOne / BlackPlanet.com poll, seventy percent of African-Americans say they “love” their father. With over 2,500 respondents, 11 percent said they “hate him” and 19 percent said they never knew him.
Those numbers might seem surprising given the reportedly bleak state of the Black family in the United States. On Father’s Day last year, then-Senator Barack Obama pointed out the problems:
“If we’re honest with ourselves we’ll admit that too many fathers are … missing. Too many fathers are MIA. Too many fathers are AWOL, missing from too many lives and too many homes. They’ve abandoned their responsibilities. They’re acting like boys instead of men, and the foundations of our family have suffered because of it. You and I know this is true everywhere, but nowhere is it more true than in the African-American community.”
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Indeed, 56 percent of Black households are headed by single parents, according to data the U.S. Census Bureau collected in 2006. 91 percent of those single parents are mothers. Across all races, there are 18 million children in the U.S. living apart from their fathers, 34 percent of whom told the National Fatherhood Initiative that they don’t know their biological fathers at all.
But even though African-American families are often headed by single mothers, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on research that showed that, “African American fathers, more than any other group, are more likely to maintain lasting relationships with their children when they don’t live with them.”
Perhaps that bit of good news, amid all the bad press African-American fathers get, is the reason why 70 percent of African-Americans say they love their dads.