Back and Forth with Mikki: Pump and Go6/23/2010
When you hear the phrase "pump and go", what's the first image that comes to mind? Most of you would probably answer "...
When you hear the phrase "pump and go", what's the first image that comes to mind? Most of you would probably answer "gasoline" or "gas station". And if you are more seasoned, you might even say "filling station". Call me crazy if you'd like, but I think of something totally different - like absent fathers. It's sort of a strange analogy, but I’m sure you get the picture.
I could not think of another way to express it and get the message across loud and clear so here goes: just as we roam throughout our respective cities seeking the cheapest fuel prices, absent fathers do just the same. They pump and go from woman to woman, get their "fill-up”, only to turn around and abandon their fatherly duties - provider, protector, role model, mentor and friend - without any regrets. Their actions leave single mothers to assume their responsibilities. And please don’t get me wrong, its’ not just a black thing - absent fathers cross all racial barriers. But African-American households have the highest rate of absentee. Over 50% of African-American children are raised by single women. Over 50%! This is not a statistic that Mikki created. No, it's real. So real that President Barack Obama addressed it in 2006 during a Father’s Day speech. "They've abandoned their responsibilities" he stated referring to absent fathers in the black community. He also added "the foundation of our families have suffered because of it". President Obama was abandoned by his father at an early age so he knows from personal experience the ill effects of an absent father.
Yes, there are hundreds, thousands of men who abandon their families. But thank God for the scores of black men, real black men, who remain home tackling the difficult challenges of fatherhood. There are thousands of black men who become husbands before they become fathers and stick around to not only raise their kids, but become the driving force behind their kid's success. These fathers, however, are overshadowed by the stupid antics of dead-beat dads which in turn leave their dedication, hard work, and commitment to go unnoticed.
In celebrating Father’s Day, I am certain that we all have witnessed a real father's undying love for his family, church, and community. This father never allows anything to separate him from his responsibilities. And the only pumping and going he does is at the Shell or Exxon station. This father is not absent at all. He is present and he exhibits the mentality of the character Nettie from "The Color Purple" because "nothing but death" could keep him from his family!