By Al Carlos Hernandez
Being a Father and being a Baby Daddy are two different things. A Father is a real man who sacrifices, works hard, takes care of his wife and raises his kids irrespective of domestic circumstances. A Baby Daddy is a loser who sires a child, usually an absentee parent, who I consider an ignominious pariah on society and a traitor to La Raza.
A major problem facing Latino and urban communities are that males have turned coward and have run away from their traditional parental responsibilities. Hundreds of thousands have hidden themselves behind the skirt of substance abuse, and the convenience of incarceration. Real Fathers rarely go to jail.
Hip Hop Homies use any socio-cultural mealy-mouthed excuse not to work a traditional 9 to 5 and feed those precious innocent souls that they have brought into the world. Many of the urban kids today because of their unfortunate parentage really do not have a chance to scale the emerging class system of American society, the rich are getting richer, and Latinos are becoming an underclass.
Kids, especially boys with-out real dad’s or surrogate grand papas, sometimes look for validation and mentoring in gangs, desperately trying to find role models. The sad thing is they often find archetypes in Rap Videos, or emulate local Ballers who profess that manhood is all about materialism and misogamy. It is not. Hip Hop culture, which will ultimately fail, perpetuates the lies.
Girls without real fathers tend to look for validation in the arms of random men and often times find themselves in the same situation as their mamas, single and all alone, Baby Daddy in abstention. This sick cycle perpetuates the system of poverty and societal degeneration. Runaway Baby Daddy’s, and the Big Mama bleeding hearts enablers that feed and protect them, need to be held accountable.
There are however, many men who are to be celebrated and admired. They are the guys you see coaching Little League Baseball, Football, Soccer. Swimming coaches, that get up at 5 AM, take kids swimming at 6, then go to work at 8, and never miss a day sniveling. Noble men, everyday men with honor, who sacrifice by working two jobs, so Mama doesn’t have to work, so she can be a full-time Mom and instill in our kids a real sense of faith, integrity and Familia.
I remember being touched by a Latino father who struggled late one evening trying to carry a Christmas tree onto a crowed city bus. It wasn’t that many generations ago that men like our fathers literally worked themselves to death, so their kids (Us) could own homes and live a better life than they did. Good Men who willingly went to their premature demise rather than shirk the responsibility of being the patron.
This country has been built on the backs of ethnic male sojourner labors.
There are many real men you can see everyday, who stand on street corners 24-7 who make themselves available as day workers. They are here because their country failed them, and they are willing to do anything to feed their wives and kids back home. Politicians who stonewall and play regional games with those who want to work should be sent to Mexico penniless and see how they do.
While Day Laborers are out hustling, Baby Daddy’s are often living off of weak-willed women, sleeping late, watching game shows and collecting a welfare check.
If where you live does not have your name on the mortgage or lease, then you are homeless, or at least should be.
Statisticians report that almost 70% of Latinos, who now reside in this country, were born in another country, but in my opinion America nonetheless. Border Brothers and Sisters come here with the right value system, and an impressive work ethic. They quite often quickly transcend the material and education accomplishments of the Hoodie Homies and Hoochies born is the USA.
Culturally, I remember the values of “patronismo” instilled in me by my Dad, a warehouseman. We all respected him irrespective of his flaws. He, amidst minimum wage poverty, the drama of living in a Housing Projects apartment and serious illness, never left or forsook us.
That is what a real man is supposed to do. I never realized his resolve until I had kids of my own. My sons and I maintain that tradition and our families thrive.
On a positive note, I am particularly impressed by a new generation of men who have taken on the role of step-parent. Many families nowadays are non-traditional blending of her kids, your kids and a cousin or two. I celebrate the good men who have taken on the Fathering responsibilities of Los Peresosos who have run away.
Happy Fathers Day to the real Fathers out there! For Baby Daddies, get your caseworker or probation officer to read it to you, then get a clue, it is never too late to be a good Dad.
Al Carlos Hernandez writes from Hollywood.