Father’s Day and the New York Times Part IV

Antonio Brown is a single father, film producer, and author, and he is the fourth contributor in the New York Times “Room for Debate” series on dads’ role in the conversation about parenting.

He begins the piece discussing the pull between boys being taught that  “men are historically hunter-gatherers,” and what feminist society expects of them: supporting “evolving definitions of womanhood.” What this paradox sometimes returns to Brown is a suspicious glare at the playground by those who assume he should be working.

He goes on to tell of being chided for attending his children’s events and even being offered out of town trips at work so that he doesn’t have to go. This is in addition to suspicious looks from moms in what is naturally their turf, despite the fact that he should be applauded for not being a stereotypical absent black father. I think I would be more offended than he appears to be, much to his credit.

What begins as a clearly articulated problem and several specific examples of the paradox he faces, ends with a rather clichéd remark about his own parenting, stating that “love is love” and despite the challenges, things will turn out ok.

Whenever I hear someone throwing around the word love these days, I really want them to define it, for it seems that we have lost a good, clear picture of what that is. Despite the fact that Brown is a single parent, I don’t think one can necessarily assume that sacrifice is part of the definition; though, it seems from the article that he understands that and practices that. It’s just that in life, we can no longer count on that. I would have loved for him to continue the confident writing of the first part of the article and give one more bold example of the sacrifice he makes to be an involved, caring dad. That would show us love, and go much further, I think, in the conversation.

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