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  • Black Fathers and White Fathers

    Posted in ,
    April 22, 2022

    Part of Critical Race Theory is the assumption that racism is inevitably related to white male heterosexuality and the oppressive patriarchy that occurs under the selfish rule of powerful father-figures. Thus, the contemporary version of a “man” in U.S. society is “hyper-masculine, straight, and white…the wealthy white male property owner.” So “…we must begin to dismantle the racist and patriarchal systems.”[1] Theorist Rob Okun calls for an “anti-patriarchy Peace Corps with dedicated organizers fanning out across the country to help communities figure out ways to rid their local schools, courts, workplaces, hospitals, and houses of worship of entrenched white supremacy and patriarchy.”[2]

    Black thinker, John Washington, a self-described “liberal” examines this goal provocatively.[3] His analysis deserves our attention. His autobiographical essay begins with a stunning observation: “CRT identifies the problem as white supremacist fathers that produce black victims—but this black man [the author] identifies the absentee black fathers as the problem.”[4]

    Washington wonders if the criminal behavior of young black males today owes something to a sense of lost masculinity that others get to see in their faithful fathers at home. In inner-city communities, he argues, viciousness often defines what fatherless young men imagine is manhood. He sees much truth in the 1965 controversial report entitled “The Negro Family: A Case of National Action” by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a sociologist working at the Labor Department. Moynihan concluded that many of the social problems affecting American blacks are due to the disintegration of the black family. Washington supports this thesis by going into great detail to show how one-parent families, whether black or white, create all kinds of problems for children, and especially boys.

    There is a sad irony in Washington’s conclusion regarding the reasons for the state of affairs in the black family. As long as patriarchy is considered evil (as Critical Race Theory maintains), then the real solution—wise fatherhood—can never be applied because it is openly attacked as the ultimate cause of the problem. The genuine solution is seen as the essential cause. Thus the race problem will never be solved as long as CRT is considered to be the solution for racism. My observation is supported by certain black thinkers who, like Washington, analyze the fundamental black problem as the absence of fathers in the home. Christian believer and black activist, Jason Whitlock, believes that the only real solution to black issues is the introduction of a biblical understanding of the role of a father. He asks: “Our family structure is way outside of God’s design. Do we think the charity of guilt-ridden white people (CRT) can fix problems resulting from the destruction of the family unit?”[5]

    A case needs to be made for biblical patriarchy, granted both its effectiveness and its contemporary demonization. Patriarchy means the rule (arche) of the father (pater), which, since the rise of radical feminism, has now becoming identified as a great social evil. Any time there is rule, sinful human beings will exploit it and/or rebel against it. Unfortunately, even Christian husbands are capable of gross oppression of their wives and children. Having perhaps seen such abuse, feminist thinkers demonize the arche of the father. Feminist theorist Andrea Dworkin believes that

    Being female in this world means having been robbed of the potential for human choice by men who love to hate us. One does not make choices in freedom. Instead, one conforms in body type and behavior and values to become an object of male sexual desire, which requires an abandonment of a wide-ranging capacity for choice…[6]

    For radical theologian, Mary Daly, patriarchy comes from way back. The works of Aristotle, for example, portrayed women as morally, intellectually, and physically inferior to men, to be considered as property. Their role in society was to reproduce and to serve men in the household, where male domination of women is natural and virtuous.[7] “I intuitively understood,” says Daly, “that for a (person) trapped in patriarchy, which is the religion of the entire planet, ‘to be’ in the fullest sense is ‘to sin.’” Thus a patriarchal culture is profoundly sinful.[8] Such a negative view of patriarchy is understandable, considering some expressions of it. This negative analysis of patriarchy also holds true in history in regards to racism, in which the white patriarch consigns black people to slavery, suffering, and injustice. It would seem that both those suffering in a racist society and those suffering under an unhealthy patriarchy have reached the only valid solution: Eliminate family and creational sexual norms.

    But biblical patriarchy does not teach what Aristotle believed nor does it teach human beings to oppress and hate one another in systems of racism. The Christian era developed the principles already laid down in the creation. Women and men are “naturally” different and together they constitute the core element of human societies: biological families created by God. Since the world is a dangerous place, men act as protectors of women and children and work selflessly to bring in wages that make family life possible. In the Genesis account of the beginnings of human society, men worked in tough conditions and women gave birth to children who were raised by father and mother together. To the first woman God said: “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children” (Gen 3:16). To the first man he said: “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground” (Gen 3:19). The fundamental reality of patriarchy emerges not from an evil desire for power but from the very caring structures of creation and the natural roles of men and women living in a sinful world.

    There is nothing evil about patriarchy. God gave it to us and revealed it to us because it expresses his image. The ultimate Pater who rules is God himself, who reveals himself in Scripture as a Father of the fatherless and protector of widows (Ps 68:5) and as a provider for the needy (Ps 68:9–10). Thus, the believer exclaims: “You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation” (Ps 89:26), the one who shows compassion to his children (Ps 103:13). In the New Testament Jesus reveals God as both his Father (John 3:35) and our Father,” to whom we pray (Matt 6:9). According to Jesus, God is the caring Father of those in need (Matt 18:14), a loving Father (John 14:23). Paul quotes from a collection of verses in the Old Testament Scriptures where God says: I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty (2 Cor 6:18).

    Since human beings are made in God’s image, we are exhorted to live out and express the biblical reality of patriarchy, both as males and females, understanding what the will of the Lord is (Eph 5:17), as expressed in verses 22–33, which show an interplay of the marital relationship of “one flesh union” via “love” and “reverence” (Eph 5:33).

    Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife respect her husband.

    Clearly the biblical version of patriarchy seeks to maintain the different male and female roles and the mutual respect between the husband and the wife. The husband submits to the constraints that Christ lays out for him and the female submits to her husband in the same way that the Church comes under the fatherly tenderness of the Church/God relationship. The arrangement is an exquisite and unparalleled description of the symphony of marital love that God intended and where children thrive. The “great mystery” of Genesis 2:24 is the amazing fact that God inspired the Old Testament text regarding marriage to act as a mere preview of the mystery of the gospel.

    In our time, beyond the ultimate issues of theism and atheism, two fundamental and very practical theories regarding patriarchy oppose each other, with essential implications for human survival: either a biblical view of human existence (which presupposes the flourishing of the natural or nuclear family and the male/female distinction) or a CRT atheist “anti-racist” view that ultimately eliminates all distinctions for the sake of the installation of a godless Marxist utopian equity. The extent to which this social justice ideology has taken over our educational institutions and even some of our Christian schools and churches indicates that contemporary racism is not merely a question of moral choices but a conflict of essential ideological truth. Behind this, there is something truly sad taking place. The real solution to racism, namely a faithful husband and father staying at home, playing the role of a real patriarch, caring for his children (especially his sons for their emergence into manhood), can never be allowed according to the ideology of anti-racism, since patriarchy is defined as the ultimate expression of social evil.

    Jesus defines divine patriarchy as the essence of love when he says to his opponents, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God…I came not of my own accord, but he sent me” (Jn 8:42). This is the essence of the gospel Jesus brings to the human situation. “God (our Father) is love” (1 Jn 4:8). Ultimately, our human home will not be empty. It will be transformed and ruled by our eternal patriarch —God the Father, who, in his love for his children, provided salvation through his Son. Our tender Father will wipe away every tear (Rev 21:4). Men and women of every race who have confessed their sins and acknowledged Jesus as their Savior will find indescribable joy as they bow in reverence to their God and Father and take their place in the final expression of family.


    [2] Art.cit.


    [4] Art.cit.

    [5] also the work of Bob Woodson, founder and president of The Woodson Center and the author of “Red, White, and Black: Rescuing American History from Revisionists and Race Hustlers.”

    [6] Art.cit.