I must say, nothing makes me happier than hearing about my friends’ children. But my real joy comes when it’s my male friends doing the talking. I don’t know what’s so special about men doing what I’ve started to call “talking Daddy,” but I just can’t get enough. Luckily for me, a quick trip to facebook normally provides my fix. And if that doesn’t work, I simply have to ask my friend Jose how his son is and squeal when his answer is something super sweet like “delicious.” I almost can’t take it anymore.
I love when my friends tell me how their infant does something new or totally unexpected. I love watching videos of babies who have no idea how precious they are as they fall asleep while their parents try to get them to dance to songs. Or even simply little observations of their cognitive development. My favorite is when fathers tell me their child is their new best friend. I eat it up.
Something tragic happened to one of my closest friends, and yet even still, everything cool thing he does, he says it’s for his son. And even in private conversations, I can hear how this child who left the earth too soon has changed his life. My friend still talks Daddy to me.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by how much I enjoy Daddy talk given my field of research. I literally read and write about fathers all day long. And I find when I talk about my research, I spend a lot of time debunking this idea that fathers that aren’t married to the mothers of their children aren’t around and that they can’t be good fathers. And I spend the most time talking about Black fathers. Man, they get a bad rap for no reason. Especially when the research shows that as nonresident fathers, they are the most likely to actually be involved with their children.
It was with this understanding that I was totally annoyed when Courtland Milloy came out his face talking about Trayvon Martin and asking where Trayvon’s father was and why his mother was the one leading the charge for justice for her son. I mean, has he watched any of the press conferences? Tracy Martin is always there next to Sybrina Fulton. I mean, Travyon was visiting his father to get his priorities back on track when he was murdered. The next week, Milloy apologized… sort of. I get it, he’s writing about what he sees, or rather what he thinks he sees.
But this selective vision is the problem. We really have got to stop assuming fathers aren’t around. We need to stop for one second and realize that we’re surrounded by many men talking Daddy to us. We need to start listening.