ColumnistsD Kevin McNeirEditor's ColumnOpinion

EDITOR’S COLUMN: A Memo to the New York Times — Not All Black Dads are Dysfunctional, Disinterested Deadbeats

Another Father’s Day has come and gone with the usual amount of tepid, lackluster attempts to convince America’s dads that we matter at least half as much as mothers are reminded on their annual day of celebration.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not sulking. I’m not angry. As the young folks say, “it’s all good.”

Truth be told, my children and my two grandsons let me know in all kinds of ways how much they love and appreciate “the old man.”

No, my two college-educated, gainfully-employed children did not hop a plane and come visit me.

No, my phone did not ring off the hook with joyful messages from those whose noses I once wiped and who still hit me up for a few dollars when they’re in a bind.

And no, nothing arrived Special Delivery to put a big smile on my face.

But that’s not what’s bothering me. Not in the least.

So, you wanna know what shot my blood pressure upwards toward dangerous heights and caused a glob of putrid bile to form and settle in the back of my throat?

You wanna know what almost led me to stick my head out of my bedroom and scream in typical Howard Beale style, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore?”

Well, I’ll tell you, soldier.

My anger and disgruntlement were fueled by a cover story shared for my “reading pleasure” by my alternative “Bible” with which I always cuddle up on the couch every Sunday morning: The New York Times.

You may find this hard to believe but years ago when I was in between jobs and lived with my older sister, she eventually had two copies of the Sunday Times delivered to her door. It served as the only sensible solution to squashing the arguments that always ensued between her husband and me over who would get the newspaper first . . . and how long we’d keep it from the other.

Like always, I methodically devoured every section until I reached the special prize inside – the New York Times Magazine. The anticipation was tantamount to a little child tearing open a box of Cracker Jacks and emptying out the contents so they could find the secret prize hidden inside.

But on this Father’s Day, I was nonplussed by the “gift” that awaited me.

The lead story, “Finding My Father,” with a theme that only a moron would have trouble figuring out, began with these words, prominently displayed on the front of the magazine:

“My dad was a mystery to me, even more so after he vanished when I was 7 years old. For a long time, who he was – and by extension who I was – seemed to be a puzzle I would never solve.”

I must say that it was a beautifully written story. And there were some surprising nuances to the young’s man tale of discovery: his mother was white, they had lived in several exotic places throughout his formative years, he was a gifted child and because of his father’s ethnic roots, he developed a passion for all things Black and Hispanic.

But because of the degree of melanin he’d inherited, when society looked at him he was nothing more than another Black male. And he longed to understand that side of his heritage. He needed to know his father.

For those who like happy endings, the story concluded with the Black child – now a man – finding his father and forming a bond – a connection, albeit fragile. And while some readers may have needed to wipe a few tears from their eyes as they reached the story’s penultimate measure, I didn’t feel like celebrating.

Perhaps the editors chose this story because they figured it would garner more readers. After all, it did have a pretty good hook – father abandons mother and child, child wanders through life aimlessly, like a ship without a sail, child goes in search of and finds father. Father and son make amends.

But what I wanted to know, and what I’d like to ask The New York Times’ powers that be, is why can’t we have one – just one – Father’s Day story that features Black dads who are on their job.

Both my father, who died shortly after I graduated from college, and my other dad, my stepfather, were the kinds of men that made me both proud and grateful to be their son.

And they weren’t exceptions to the rule.

I’m just tired of reading about Black fathers who are dysfunctional, disinterested deadbeats.

Maybe I need to write a story about my two dads and send it to The New York Times for their consideration next year.

D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents, the native Detroiter engineered a transformation of The Miami Times resulting in its being named the NNPA’s “Publication of the Year” in 2011 – just one of several dozen industry-related awards he’s earned in his career. He currently serves as senior editor for The Washington Informer. There, in the heart of the U.S. Capitol, he displays a keen insight for developing front-page news as it unfolds within the greater Washington area, capturing the crucial facts and facets of today’s intriguing, political arena. He has degrees from The University of Michigan, Emory University and Princeton Theological Seminary. In 2020, he received First Place for Weekly Newspaper, Commentary & Criticism, Society of Professional Journalists, Washington, D.C. Pro Chapter. Learn more about him at www.dkevinmcneir.com, Facebook – Kevin McNeir, Twitter - @mcneirdk, Linkedin – D. Kevin McNeir or email: mcneirdk@washingtoninformer.com.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Subscribe today for free and be the first to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker