In a powerful spoken word piece posted to Upworthy.com, artist Marshall Davis Jones shares a dream in which he is a child asked to spell “father” at a spelling bee and he spells it ”m-o-t-h-e-r.”
In his experience, deadbeat is spelled “f-a-t-h-e-r” and is a reflection of the parental shoes that fathers leave empty for mothers to fill.
Watch spoken word piece below:
The controversial phenomenon of calling Black, single mothers “father,” has led to backlash from many in the African-American community, who claim that it’s insulting to “real” fathers who do their job and emasculatesBlack men.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Hallmark’s Mahogany brand causes an outcry each year with their Father’s Day cards for single Black mothers. Though many take it as a stereotypical insult to the Black community, Hallmark said that could not be further from the truth and that they began the line at the request of customers:
“Hallmark has long offered “Happy Father’s Day, Mom” and “Happy Mother’s Day, Dad” cards in our lines,” says spokesperson Kristi Ernsting. “It’s a common request for people who have lost a parent and want a way to express to their living parent that he/she has been both mother and father to them.”
The backlash to this marketing scheme has been harsh and swift.
“Dear single sisters who wished yourselves a “Happy Father’s Day,” in my best Maury Povich voice: “YOU are not the father!” wrote John Fountain for Chicago’s Sun-Times in response to the Mahogany card line.
“It is a denigration of God-ordained masculine parentage and a slap against good fathers; a subtle undermining of the divine prescription of joint parenting by a mother and a father,” he continued. “Women can never “father.” That is a lie from hell . . .”
Writing for Urban Faith, Will Laviest opined, “By marketing “some love” to single moms on Father’s Day, the role of dads is devalued, especially in a community that badly needs fathers to step up and be real parents. It’s also capitalizing on a self-inflicted wound. Society should be lifting men who are honoring their role.”
Writing for The Root, Dr. Ivory Toldson breaks down to the numbers that lead to this complex and often volatile conversation:
“In the United States, 31 percent of Black children have both a mother and a father in the home; 53 percent have only a mother present; 7 percent have only a father present; and 9 percent have neither parent present. These figures have been represented in various ways in the media to portray a single-parent crisis in the Black community.”
Though, for many people, “mother” is just as powerful and would have encompassed it all, Jones honored his “father” in his own way and his relationship with her should be respected.
Read complete transcript of Jones’ piece below via Upworthy.com: