As racial injustices continue throughout the country, one of the biggest myths have resurfaced which places blame on the problems facing the Black community on the absent Black father.
This myth ignores hundreds of years of institutionalized oppression and systems in place to seperate the Black family while also further scapegoating Black men for America’s societal ills.
Dope Dad, an organization founded byJoshua Johnson, is aiming to address that myth by shining a light on Black fathers and the importance of their role in raising Black America.
“We do not deny that there are many families that lack the involvement of a father, and we also do not deny that this is largely due to intentional attacks on the Black community,” said Johnson. “ We also know that the myth is perpetuated through mainstream media. We may not have the capacity to affect and change the content on those channels, but we can help affect other outlets such as social media. Flooding timelines with the true images of fatherhood helps to dispel these myths.”
Johnson founded Dope Dad in 2017 after noticing feedback and praises in response to the relationship he shared with his daughter, Kori. What he thought was normal activity between a father and his child was seen as taboo and not too often recognized in his role.
“So many people were taking notice and offering praise for actions and activities that were so normal to us,” said Johnson. “ I knew that there were many fathers like me, and wanted to highlight them.I wanted to work to create a network of fathers who would help to make other fathers comfortable in their roles. The mission of our organization is to highlight, encourage, and inspire the positive relationships and interactions between fathers and their children.”
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, “Fathers’ Involvement with Their Children”, whether living in the same home or not, Black fathers are the most involved of all primary recorded race and ethnic groups.
Johnson believes that Black fathers make the biggest impact in the community in raising future leaders and helping to ensure that the woes of being Black in America do not overwhelm their children and families.
“I understand that all family structures will not look the same, but I think there are benefits to structures involving a family in some capacity,” said Johnson. “Black fathers have a role in helping to make sure their children and families are mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. Actively working to support, uplift, and protect them, despite what the world around them may be attempting to do.”
Since the founding of the organization, Johnson has seen an increase in interactions between fathers and families ready and willing to show off their relationships with their children or nominate other Dope Dads to be highlighted on his platform.Johnson also partners with other like-minded organizations to further his mission of connecting families.
“We love to see new families attending our events and joining our network of fathers,” said Johnson. “We like to collaborate with various organizations to give our supporters and attendees the opportunity to experience things they may not normally experience. For instance, most recently we took about 25 families out on a hike in collaboration with Black People Who Hike.”
Johnson hopes to increase and strengthen his network of fathers and resources to connect more families and encourages those interested in supporting the mission to follow the organization on Instagram and Facebook. He also sells merchandise to help fund their events and will be launching an official website to serve as a hub for highlights, resources and more.
“I would like to tell Black fathers that I know that there is much opposition stacked against you, but I am confident that you can overcome these things and be a Dope Dad,” said Johnson. “There is no blueprint to fatherhood so do not expect to be perfect. There are many dads who have experienced so many things and they are willing to assist you. And as always Dope Dad is here to assist however we can.”
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