Another Side of Invisibility: Present and Responsible Black Fathers
Some Black men are engaged with their families as spouse and father. They are often overlooked, invisible to the public, and ignored in our theory, research, and practice (Connor & White, 2006). In this chapter, I will discuss how this circumstance of public invisibility involves particular challenges for Black men and delineates the struggle faced by these Black fathers who are the exception rather than the rule. I will also present some of the implications for working with these present fathers in counseling and therapeutic settings. Fundamental to working with present Black fathers is an understanding that many subscribe to conventional notions of both masculinity and fatherhood, while male roles in the contemporary men’s movement make new transitions away from old models. The adherence to traditional male gender roles creates a unique role strain, one mixed with race, gender, and psychohistorical contexts central to understanding the world of Black men and the position of present Black fathers in it.