Title

The Social Construction of Black Fatherhood in Responsible Fatherhood Programs

Proposal Focus

Research

Abstract

Since the mid-1990, promoting responsible fatherhood has remained on the national policy agenda, but fatherhood-related policy initiatives have yet to generate tangible outcomes for low-income communities. Almost 1 billion dollars have been allocated to address the combined efforts of marriage and fatherhood education, but the results have been minimal. Recent literature reveals a deep seeded legislative misunderstanding about the reasons behind low marriage rates among low-income couples. Contrary to popular cultural narratives that imply a blatant disregard for marriage, there is evidence that low-income couples respect the institution of marriage. Socio-economic barriers, however, inhibit that union from taking place. Despite this plausible explanation, policy-driven initiatives often employ program curriculums that seek to modify the behaviors of fathers by instilling in them the value of hard work as opposed to addressing the socio-economic circumstances they face. This partly stems from the broader cultural narrative and a related public perception that Black fathers are lazy and unwilling to work. Responsible fatherhood grantees have the potential to begin deconstructing negative perceptions of Black fathers by uncovering new information in these federally funded programs. Using qualitative interviews, this study utilizes a three-article style format to examine the presence of the dominant cultural narratives regarding Black fatherhood in Responsible Fatherhood policies and organizational narratives of the agencies tasked with policy implementation.

Keywords

responsible fatherhood, public policy, qualitative

Location

Tiger I

Start Date

9-3-2018 11:30 AM

End Date

9-3-2018 12:30 PM

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Mar 9th, 11:30 AM Mar 9th, 12:30 PM

The Social Construction of Black Fatherhood in Responsible Fatherhood Programs

Tiger I

Since the mid-1990, promoting responsible fatherhood has remained on the national policy agenda, but fatherhood-related policy initiatives have yet to generate tangible outcomes for low-income communities. Almost 1 billion dollars have been allocated to address the combined efforts of marriage and fatherhood education, but the results have been minimal. Recent literature reveals a deep seeded legislative misunderstanding about the reasons behind low marriage rates among low-income couples. Contrary to popular cultural narratives that imply a blatant disregard for marriage, there is evidence that low-income couples respect the institution of marriage. Socio-economic barriers, however, inhibit that union from taking place. Despite this plausible explanation, policy-driven initiatives often employ program curriculums that seek to modify the behaviors of fathers by instilling in them the value of hard work as opposed to addressing the socio-economic circumstances they face. This partly stems from the broader cultural narrative and a related public perception that Black fathers are lazy and unwilling to work. Responsible fatherhood grantees have the potential to begin deconstructing negative perceptions of Black fathers by uncovering new information in these federally funded programs. Using qualitative interviews, this study utilizes a three-article style format to examine the presence of the dominant cultural narratives regarding Black fatherhood in Responsible Fatherhood policies and organizational narratives of the agencies tasked with policy implementation.