(Artwork credit: Nikkolas Smith)
If I were a Black dad, I would make sure the world knew that I was held to not only a double standard, if not triple, fourfold, oh gosh... maybe tenfold standard. You know the thing they do on the media to advocate for women to fight sexism, that women are expected to be a woman, a wife, a mom, a teacher, a worker, etc. all at the same time? Don't get me wrong, I swear I'd be a feminist too, but I think it would be very helpful if the media also advocated for Black dads like me, because we were already exhausted from advocating only for our rights.
As a Black dad, I'd be a Black person first, which means I'd be seen as a 'threat' by the non-black people around me, especially by the racist white cops and women who thought that I was going to rape them simply because of my presence. Ironically enough, they didn't realize that they were actually my 'threats', not the other way around.
As a Black dad, I'd be a man. I'd be expected to only show my masculinity side because men, especially Black men, had to be tough. I'd never allow myself to be beaten up by another man – so don't even try to tell me how I'd better learn to accept that I could die under the knee of another man – ever, again.
As a Black dad, I'd be a dad. I'd have to teach my kids that life, unfortunately, wasn't created equal for everyone no matter how much you believed in fairytales and magic. But I'd teach them that we could (and we should) fight for it – because 'being silent' wouldn't help maintain the equality gap and protect our lives by default, because 'being silent' meant we accepted that our happiness and safety were in the hands of others, and because 'being silent' would only broaden the gap and continue putting our lives in danger.
As a Black dad, I'd be a husband. I'd hold myself accountable for raising my family despite the fact that statistically speaking, I'd be the first one to be laid off when we had an economic crisis, but the last one to be promoted when I did my job well. I'd have to teach myself how to tame my anger of constantly feeling defeated by our society every single day so that I could be a rock for my wife and our family. Don't even get me started on COVID.
As a Black dad, I'd be a fighter. I'd have to know how to fight not only to protect myself but also my kids, my wife, my people. I hated violence, but if you hurt my family, you'd see my capability of turning into a gangster, too. If that ever happened, don't blame it on me, blame it on why you made me be.
If I were a Black dad, I'd have a strong urge to start a movement like #MakeBlackDadsTrendy and make it go viral all over social media, so Black dads like me would be seen, heard, supported, and celebrated. Social media have been long reserved for white-people-only reality shows, it's time for new shows now.
If I were a Black dad... forget it, I'm not a Black dad. But if I were, I'd think the best gift I could ever receive on Father's Day and every day would be an authentic global contract which guaranteed that I, my family, and my people, were protected and treated fairly in our society.
Happy Father's Day.
I called my dad this morning to wish him a happy father's day and also a happy Vietnamese National Journalism day as well. He's recently recognized in the 0.4% with the Outstanding National Journalism award, which was actually held for the very first time in 95 years of journalism history in Vietnam. However, I'm not only proud of his career achievements, but I'm also proud that – even though he is Asian and doesn't live in America – after many conversations I've had with him about racial issues in America and in the world, he understands that Black Lives Matter movement is a necessary movement for our humanity, not "All Lives Matter."