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Project 21 Member Speaks Out About Black Fatherhood

Guarded Praise for Washington Post Article Exposing Government Role in Breakdown

 

Contact: David Almasi, Project 21, 202-543-4110 x11, Project21@nationalcenter.org

 

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 /Standard Newswire/ -- A new Washington Post report about the diminishing role of black fathers is receiving guarded praise from a member of the Project 21 black leadership network.  Project 21's Kevin Martin says the coverage of this tragic problem and the role of Big Government has played in the demise of the black family is long overdue.

 

"The Washington Post is finally reporting what members of Project 21 have been saying for years," said Martin.  "Our community's wholesale embrace of liberalism and Big Government has done what slavery and Jim Crow laws could not in destroying the black family."

 

Over the past year, The Washington Post has run a series of articles titled "Being a Black Man" which seeks to "explore what it means to be a black man in today's society."  According to the series web site, "black men often feel caught between individual achievements and collective failures, defined more by their images in popular culture than their lived experiences."

 

The most recent installment - "Dad, Redefined" - which appeared in the December 17 issue of the Post, dealt with the question "What does a daddy do?"  It focused on Tim Waggoner, Donne McDaniel and their son, Zyhir.  Waggoner says he and McDaniel are just friends and have no plans to marry.  Waggoner pays no child support but does help look after Zyhir.  Waggoner says the "most important" thing for him as a father is to "just be here."  McDaniel works, and Waggoner is enrolled in a DC-run job program helping him work towards a GED.

 

The Post article reported that 69 percent of black children are currently born to single mothers - a rate more than twice the national average - and 48 percent of black children do not have fathers living with them.  It is also noted that black family unity was relatively stable between the post-slavery era until the 1950s, but a tremendous drop in black marriage occurred between 1970 and 2000.  The article's author cited experts who name the sexual revolution and "shifting mores" regarding marriage and child-rearing as culprits; welfare assistance linked to households without a male parent was also mentioned.

 

"Shocking statistics such as the fact that half of black children live in households headed by a single mother and that government aid depends on such a poor situation speaks volumes about the overall failure of the Great Society programs of the 1960's and their lasting effects on our community," added Martin.  "While the self-appointed leaders of black America demand accountability from the government when there is a report of excessive violence on the part of a police officer, there is silence as the black family becomes an endangered species.  We must demand at least the same level of accountability.  And while this article implied that the solution for Waggoner and McDaniel was his participation in a city-run program, we need to realize that government programs are never going to solve the problem.  A strong sense of self-preservation and determination will make their lives better."

 

Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992.  For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or Project21@nationalcenter.org, or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.