Popular culture and television suggest that absent fathers are a black problem, but this is simply not true. This is a global problem, affecting families and communities all over the world.
In the United States, white women are the fastest growing group of single parents. White women under 30 are more likely to give birth to children outside of marriage. The reason it is important to recognize that fatherlessness is everyone's problem - and not just a black problem - is because when we see it is everyone's problem, we are more likely to take it seriously.
When we think of it only as the problem or issue relating to one group, then it's easy to ignore it as a problem because we don't feel it affects us directly. But disappearing dads affect all races and cultures; and in the United States, it affects all communities and families, whether those families personally experience father absence or not.
That is because tax dollars go to the matter of absent fathers and the issues related to it - tax dollars provide aid to single-parent households, support programs designed to curb drug abuse and other decisions often attributed to fatherlessness, etc. In fact, recent research suggests that missing fathers cost us $100 billion in tax dollars a year! This doesn't even quantify the real economic impact of father absence, as it doesn't take into account lost future income due to father absence and other factors.
And children who grow up without fathers are more likely to get into trouble - and that trouble can affect all of us. Girls who grow up without fathers are more likely to get pregnant as teens and boys who grow up without fathers are more likely to wind up behind bars.
So when we view father absence this way, we see it is indeed a problem for us all. We must become serious about addressing father absence because it damages the very fabric of our families, communities, and nation.
Popular culture's inaccurate portrayal of fatherlessness as only a black problem is misleading and cannot be trusted. This is a problem facing all of us and we must all become interested in addressing it, or we will all suffer in the future as it grows. We will dedicate more tax dollars to the results of father absence and see more social impact of it.
We can address fatherlessness within specific populations, as well as in our overall population.
Written by Kenneth L. Osborne in 2013
Kenneth L. Osborne is the author of When Mama Is Daddy: The Male Crisis and Challenge of Ending Father Absence. He speaks on father absence, drug abuse and behavior, and the social impact of fatherlessness. Visit his blog at http://kennethlosborne.wordpress.com.
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