Live Blog Recap 4: SAMHSA Conf: Fatherhood and Fathering: Perceptions in Contemporary Communities of Color

Live Blog Recap 4: SAMHSA Conf: Fatherhood and Fathering: Perceptions in Contemporary Communities of Color

Session Description: Examined fatherhood and fathering in contemporary communities of color to understand the impact of different structures of fathering on the socio cultural, emotional  and behavioral development and well being of boys and men of color.

Panelists: Dr. Derrick Gordon; Dr. Irene Luckey

Take aways: You know a session is great when its the last one of the day and people want to rest their brains and eyes but are at full attention listening to the panelists. Dr. Derrick Gordon’s presentation really spoke to the role of the father in the relationship and development of the child. Some key parts picked up from his presentation.

  • Co-Parenting must be redefined as it may not fall in the traditional definition with fathers who are not in the house hold
  • While we want fathers in the lives of their children it must be ones that are able and fit to be fathers and positively impacts the child
  • Re-evaluate the role of a father and what it means to be a father in the lives of a child

In addition Dr. Gordon touched upon many of the obstacles and issues men who are fathers face in how they are defined under the limited scope of what it means to be a father and how it impacts the support and resources that are (or are not provided). He did note that fathering must be seen beyond just the biological father but that men in the community have often picked up the mantle in fathering children even when they are not theirs and that must be noted as part of this fathering effect.

You can check his bio and publications here.

 

Dr. Irene Luckey…

Ok time for a keeping it “hundred” moment. Dr. Luckey kept it plain and real. Though she was the last speaker, I could have listened to her for another hour on the issue of fatherhood. There is so much that she said that made sense that I’d have to do a three part blog. So I will keep it at the take aways.

Need to rethink the term “dead beat dad” and think “dead broke”
The point she was raising is that if fathers have a record, lack of education, no job and child support from the court building up it puts the father in a situation where they cannot have an opportunity to properly support and/or be in the lives of their child.

Need a space for fathers can feel secure to be fathers.
Dr. Luckey was speaking on something bigger and I will do my best to surmise this. To the point, men often suffer from society stating that men should not have emotions or feelings. So lost in all of this is the emotional suffering and pain that they may be feeling from their own upbringing, the lack of father in their own lives, the red tape of the court system and the lack of mental health assistance they may receive for their own help. So ultimately when visiting and trying to parent their own child it is so important for them to do it in a space where they can feel secure in being a man and father.

Research needs to be connected to the Practitioners
This was a recurring theme heard through day 1 of the conference. In the case of Dr. Luckey she explained how in the south there is a different cultural view of marriage and divorce than that of people in a urban/northern setting. These differences in perspectives and cultures can impact how research presents findings and ultimately how programs and policies are supported and funded. Therefore it is critical that research takes place on the ground so its terminology, narrative and structure is culturally competent to the realities of the needs of the community.

For Dr. Luckey’s Bio Click here.

My Take Away: The System Must Stop Keeping Fathers from Being Fathers
As someone that works with fathers through the court system on a weekly basis I get the opportunity to hear the storied and frustrations of these fathers about how the court system or social workers do more harm than good in terms of child custody. Far too often it works against the father. This is due to the same biases and micro aggressions that young Black males may face in education and with law enforcement. Unless research is connected to practice and this is transformed into policy the issues and challenges fathers face will continue.

This was a great day. (plus its 60 degrees!) looking forward to tomorrow!
L-Mani

 

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