There is a stigma associated with black fathers not being present in their children lives. They’re considered to be “deadbeat dads.” While this is true in some cases, it’s not the case for every black father out there. Some of these men are voluntarily not in the lives of their children due to their immaturity or whatever their reason may be, but this is not true for every man. Society pushes these labels on black fathers and forces them all to fit under this one stereotype. This stereotype is represented everywhere from the shows we watch to the music we listen to, so we tend to ignore the fact that outside forces affect our black fathers. We ignore these outside forces because many of us don’t know about them, and the media doesn’t show them to us. The fact that the media acts like black fathers are the answer to every problem in the black community is a problem within itself. Not every black person who is involved in illegal activities is lacking a father or a father figure in their life, and the black community not being as united as it could be isn’t going to be solved by everyone having a father. The real issues in the black community cannot be solved by having more fathers, in my opinion but it could be solved by decriminalizing being black in America. A major outside factor that affects not only black fathers but also black men in general, is mass incarceration. Many black families are broken up due to the fathers being imprisoned, and then they’re affected by the aftermath of being released from prison. They can only be affected by the aftermath of being released if they are ever released from prison. Mass incarceration combined with mandatory sentencing takes away a big portion of our black men. The system plays a big part in the “missing black father” myth because not every man is missing voluntarily as it is portrayed. There are a lot of black men that are black fathers who are doing great things. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the Real Dads and Real Men.