In Society, Why Are Mothers Seen As The Problem, & Fathers The Solution?
In 1965, Daniel Moynihan penned “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” while he was employed by the U.S. Department of Labor. This controversial report would soon become known as “The Moynihan Report.” Mr. Moynihan researched and wrote this as a call for action. For those who are not familiar with the report, it addresses the poverty rates of African Americans in the United States while correlating it to the rise of single mother headed households within the black community.
By tracing back the trend of the broken family to the time when blacks were enslaved, it showed slave owners would break the family by selling the fathers of those families, causing black women to have to take a leadership role in the home. He then discusses how once slavery ended we were “granted liberty, not equality,” and the black man was forced to take on a subservient role outside of the home (or worry about being “lynched” if seen as too “sassy”) which then translated into the home. Causing, once again, for the black home to turn away from a patriarchal lead to a matriarchal one.
The report, though poignant at times, received a lot of criticism, particularly in the black community as “blaming the victim,” and not acknowledging institutionalized ways that blacks are held down.
Though there are some who dismiss this report as plain finger pointing rhetoric, it seems that when things go wrong within the workings of the family, in this day and age, the mother is held as the cause for these problems.
This expands outside of the black community, but since this is a black site, let’s discuss.
It seems as though if there’s a story that is published (either on this site, or another black site that offers commentary on society) if a person seems amiss, there always seems to be that one comment of: “Men, be fathers to your children, otherwise…”
I’ve also been a victim of this type of comment. In one of my earlier pieces I discussed the warning signs of being in an abusive relationship, while using my own experiences. In the comment section, I was thrown for a loop when one commenter came with the ‘See, this is why fathers need to be in their daughters’ lives, so they can know their worth.’ It’ll be an understatement to say that I was extremely offended by the now paraphrased comment, because I was raised in a two parent, upper middle class household. Though my parents just divorced last year, my father is and has always been a large part of my life and actually one of my main confidantes. So, I couldn’t understand why my poor decisions of an ex-mate were put on the hypothetical shoulders of an absent father?