Barefoot Rhapsody Blog

Musings in "barefoot mode" -  taking a moment to step out of those restrictive shoes we wear, experience, feel and visualise life without them on

I'm a young, married, professional, black father. And I don't exist.

A friend just shared this story on facebook, the type that needs to be shared as widely as possible.  It made me think of a moment only last week as I arrived to run one of my mindfulness workshops for teachers at a primary school in Peckham. It was just as everyone was pouring out of the school gates.

Lots and lots of black dads picking up. My first thought was warm and fuzzy about how fantastic this is. My second thought was that you do see a whole lot more black dads than white dads at the school gates in my also very Afro-Caribbean part of town too, being in the Lewisham area.

Sadly, my next thought was that folk who maybe don't live in these kinds or areas or get much exposure to a diverse population (if we're putting it kindly) would have some of those pre-judging "unemployed", "not with the mum" thoughts mentioned in the article about what may be the factors behind this little observation. 

Apart from some horrendous "white out" years living in the Alps, my life, oh so thankfully, has been filled with black guys ('n dolls), from the age of two in Jamaica and an adult life always in London.

I don't like generalisations but from my own first hand experience, not, of course, as this article points out, from what I get in the media, I know for myself and admire the fact that black guys are really into their children and don't seem to get any hang ups about it affecting their masculinity or image of how they may be making their contribution to the work world, or whatever it is holding white guys back from being at those gates 'n all the rest too.

I mentally left journalism on almost the first day and was out physically within two years when my copy was getting edited to put in those damn stereotype handles to wrap around people like "black single mum". Please be vigilent about what you consciously and unconsciously read or hear in the media folk, please be aware of the insipient affect of labels.

I am white BTW, blonde, but adore heat, tan really easily without burning or using more than coconut oil on my skin. I must have adapted well as a kid exposed to that Jamaican sun....never judge a book by the cover as they say