More commentary on the Washington Post Black Men series.
This covered the relationship a "man" has with the mother of his child and the relationship he has with his child.
When 19-year-old Donn? McDaniel became pregnant last year, Tim Wagoner didn't consider marrying her.
"Nah, man, it wasn't really discussed. We're just friends."
They'd dated a year. The pregnancy wasn't planned.
Now their son, Zyhir, is 4 months old. Zyhir stays here, stays there.
It's 11 a.m., a cold fall morning. A darkened rowhouse in Northwest Washington, just off Georgia Avenue. "Cold Case Files," the television cop show, is the only electric illumination in the room. Cries come from the crib by the couch.
"You fussin', shorty? You don't want to be in there?"
A tattooed hand reaches down, pulls little Zyhir up to his lap. "The bottle? This it?"
Wagoner is 27, handsome, neat moustache and goatee, the oldest of five kids. Lean, muscular, not too tall. Maria, his mom's name, is tattooed on his hand. He lives with her and his sisters, making $7.50 an hour working at a teen recreation center in Brookland two days a week. He's studying for his GED.
Wagoner is with his child part of the time, and part of the time he's not. He and McDaniel share child-raising duties but there's no formal agreement, and Wagoner pays no child support.
In many ways, this is a new norm. Single black mothers almost outnumber black two-parent families, and absentee black fathers have become a staple of conversations, sermons and stand-up comics. Some 48 percent of all black children live without their fathers in the home, nearly double the rate of any other ethnic group in the United States. On his block, Tim Wagoner knows more guys his age who have been shot than who are married with kids.
He is 27 and she is 19.
On more time.
He is 27 and she is 19.
In this post about the article, I wrote this:
Question: What the hell is a 27 year old man doing dealing with a 19 year old young woman?
Answer: with his background, any woman his age with any sense wouldn't be dealing with him.
See, there's a problem right there.
You have a loser, wanting to get his rocks off, choosing a young girl who was ready to do the do. This is something that needs to stop, no matter how phat and ready these little girls are. It's up to the "men" to shake their heads at these phat young girls, mumble to themselves, and walk the hell away.
From the article, this shows promise:
Wagoner grew up without his father around, he says. His stepfather was shot to death when he was a teen, and his uncle, another father figure, was, too.
Now it's his turn to be a father. Now it's his turn to answer a hard question:
What does a daddy do?
There is a pause. Wagoner doodles his index finger around his son's hand. Zyhir is tapping it.
"Just be there," Wagoner says, not looking up from Zyhir. "That's the most important thing. You can buy them all the clothes, all the toys, and it don't matter. Most important thing is that he knows my voice, knows me when he sees me."
However, this doesn't:
This is going to be hard, because Wagoner has struggled with stability and achievement. Started high school, dropped out. Worked Job Corps. Worked at Target. Worked at a storage company. Worked as a driver for the handicapped. Worked construction. The longest job he has held was six months, maybe seven. He has a record after beating up a guy, and now it's even harder to find work.
Pray for them.