On Father's Day 2012, Black Fathers Need to Stop Being Absentee Dads and Start Parenting

Editor's Note: Lumumba Seegars published this piece last year in response to Amy Chua's Wall Street Journal op-ed, and referencing President Obama's 2008 Father's Day speech. We have republished here because we feel his message still rings true today.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discussed the differences between Western and Chinese parenting. The author, Professor Amy Chua, praised a parenting style of not allowing her children to go on play dates, encouraging them to play the piano and violin, and choosing their extracurricular activities for them. Western parents, she argued, are way too sensitive about their children’s feelings and, consequently, never push their children to their greatest potential.

I am struck, however, by my realization that the experiences of the author – and her critique of Western parents – fell outside of what most African-American children experience. That is, many black children do not even have the luxury of a two-parent household.

Photo Credit: Seattle Municipal Archives