MSNBC Father’s “Broken” Promise Another Sad Commentary on Black America


Last night Al Roker hosted this documentary that chronicled the birth of three children. All of their fathers had pledged when they were born in 1996 that they would be there for their children. Two of the three are currently in prison serving long terms and the third is often MIA, he is a veteran of the first Gulf War and suffers from post traumatic shock syndrome. After watching the show one wondered what was the point. Was it just another opportunity to bash black men or was it an opportunity to understand why they had abandoned their responsibility. Their reasons varied from their inability to keep or get a job to their dysfunctional relations with their children’s mother. At the conclusion of the show Roker hosted a roundtable discussion on the subject with Rev. Eugene Rivers, Mayor Corey Booker, Tiki Barber and two women from the field of education. They shared their own personal stories and their complicated relationships with their own fathers but no real solutions. The reality is there are not pat solutions. Each of the scenarios comes down to personal responsibilities. Being an engaged father is hard work, but once the baby is here it is the responsibility of the father to be there to offer guidance and support and there is really no acceptable reason to abdicate this responsibility. So this documentary is a continuation of the CNN special on being black in America and from the MSNBC perspective it is indeed a sad situation.

Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  • Brian  On February 18, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    I work with primarily white fathers in the whitest state in the country.
    I missed the first half of the show, but had some thoughts as I watched. I was disappointed in that it let white/nonblack men off the hook. It was too easy to say it is “their problem” even though the stories were similar to those I hear.
    There are a lot of reasons for this frame, (who they had been following, the fact that the movement really began in the balck community, stuff like that) but when we have national attention to fatherhood issues I wish it was more representative. All men are part of that story, we all have to struggle with what it means to be a good father, a Man and a partner.

  • Marla  On February 21, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    I got news for the producers of “A Father’s Promise,” Most white fathers don’t have a conversation with their sons either about “This is what it means to be a man.” My father never did with my brothers, and my husband has not done so with our son despite my prodding him to. In his background, you learned by osmosis from watching your own father…although I have to say my husband is not much like his Dad (to his detriment. I wish he was).

%d bloggers like this: