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When Hosting Hits Home

Man, what a challenge it's been for me filling in for Farai Chideya the last two days.

Don't get me wrong, hosting is wonderful. And whenever I sit in the host's chair for News & Notes, I know what to do: guide the discussion but try to "stay out of it" as far as offering my personal opinions and beliefs. (And that's a good thing.)

But on Wednesday, I found myself struggling to keep my on-air distance as Judge Lynn Toler and I discussed Barack Obama's "Father's Day" speech at a Chicago church. You see, I'm tired of hearing about how bad black fathers are, all the time. There, I said it.

Even though I know it's true in far too many instances, including some of my own relatives, I sometimes feel we black fathers are far too easy a target. Was Barack pandering for votes?

It was painful for both Judge Toler and me, and we struggled to find words that expressed what we were feeling. If you heard the interview, you know what I mean. It was painful to accept another negative portrayal of African American dads, and so publicly, and from someone who has the credibility to do it, thanks to his own awol father.

But did Obama have to add fuel to the fire? Are black dads going to be the Willie Horton of this campaign? Can't we just discuss this between us? The answer is, of course we can't. Not addressing the reality is what allows these deadbeats to keep messing things up for the rest of us.

I'm a black father who raised three children through two marriages. And I know countless dads just like me, all over the country. Involved. There for our kids (even at different addresses). Working our butts off to provide. I just want the world to know about us, for that to be the norm and not the exception.

That's not going to happen anymore than the Lakers were going to win Game 6 in Boston.

So Judge Toler and I just gritted our teeth and questioned whether Obama had to go there, but knowing full well why he did.

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