Archive for February, 2015

Black History Month

February is celebrated as Black History Month and it was accentuated by last night’s Oscars ceremony in which the lack of black nominees was widely noted.

What has not been widely noted is that in the 1950’s, when racial segregation and  discrimination were widespread, the percentage of black children born into single parent families was only 5-10%, which, by some accounts, was lower than that of the overall population. Today it has been calculated as high as 73%, with Hispanic children at 50% and the overall population at 40%.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously noted in the late 1960’s that the Great Society programs of LBJ were partly to blame by making it easier for single parents to survive economically.  In the 1970’s came no-fault  divorce, which added to the divorce rate. Another 1970’s trend was the War on Drugs, which was particularly hard on black men and made them increasingly suspicious of the justice system in general.

This has been evident during the massive protests in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City in late 2014. I believe that these trends have come together over the last half-century to make many black men flee from parental involvement since they are suspicious of the system in general and have heard from friends and family that they would have a slim chance of being allowed to be truly active parents by our present-day family court system.

mo

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Veteran’s Suicide and Family Court

Thursday, February 12, in a rare show of bipartisanship, President Obama signed  the Clay-Hunt Veterans bill providing more funding to veterans’ suicide prevention programs.  Back in 2012 the Wall Street Journal covered this issue and my letter, showing the connection between family court and veterans’ suicides, was printed.

WSJ LTTR TO EDTR 10 12 (1)

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From The National Parents Organization: long active in the struggle for shared parenting

SUPERBOWL TO DADS: YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY

February 4, 2015
By Donald Hubin, Ph.D.Member, National Parents Organization Board of Directors

Don Hubin
Don Hubin

No matter who you were rooting for in the SuperBowl, there was something to cheer for last Sunday. At least three advertisers ran ads that were “father-positive.” In fact, they were so tender towards fathers that I couldn’t blame mothers who might feel, “Don’t we deserve some accolades too?”

This is a welcome change from the past. Glenn Sacks’s 2008 article, “Advertisers: Men are No Idiots,” provides several examples of dad-bashing by advertisers. One egregious example is “The Elliots,” in which Verizon seemed to think it would sell its DSL service by portraying a father who is so clueless mom has to rescue their small daughter from his hapless attempts to help her with her homework.

We’re all familiar with the tired old stereotype of the completely incompetent dad. He has terrible judgment and bumbles at even the most routine of tasks. Often, he’s portrayed as yet another child – impatient, selfish, irresponsible. Usually we see a mature and supremely competent mom who keeps the family running despite dad’s utter cluelessness.

It’s a big change, then, to see three different companies use their extremely costly Super Bowl ads in ways that generally cast fathers in a heartwarming light. Toyota ran “My Bold Dad,” which showed dads in a patient, protective, loving light. (Toyota also ran a pre-Super Bowl commercial “To Be a Dad” in which men, some former pro football players, talk about the influence of their fathers.) Dove ran a tearjerker ad for Dove Men+Care called “Real Strength.” And Nissan produced an ad about a courageous but child-focused race car driver called “With Dad.”

But we still have a ways to go. “My Bold Dad” has an air of preaching to men about how to be a good father. There is a hint of the portrayal of fathers as dangerous, but redeemable, especially when it says that “being a dad is a choice to get hurt, rather than to hurt.” It is a good sermon; but is it necessary to sermonize? And would you ever see such a sermon directed at mothers, who commit more physical child abuse than dads?

The Nissan ad preaches in another way. The soundtrack for the ad is Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle,” which tells the sad story of a man who was absent from his child’s life. The ad portrays a father who is obviously away from his son a lot, and ends with the kid surprised that his dad shows up. Still, the dominant feeling of this ad is strongly positive. No doubt there are men who need to hear the message of the background song. But most fathers want to be involved in their children’s lives, and are often frustrated by the need to support their family financially.

These three commercials aren’t the first to present fathers in a good light. During last year’s Super Bowl, Hyundai ran “Dad’s Sixth Sense,” which portrayed fathers as having an unnatural ability to protect their kids from harm. And Subaru has run several of the most touching commercials portraying fathers doing what they do best: protecting their kids and teaching them through play and in other ways. Any father who’s watched his children go off to school for the first time can relate to the dad in “Little Girl Goes to Kindergarten” and any dad whose kids are grown can relate to the father in “Baby Driver.” Cheerios has a dad-positive web-only ad “#HowToDad

The three Super Bowl commercials are touching. They aren’t perfect, but we have come a very long way since Glenn Sacks and Ned Holstein were meeting with ad executives to urge them to clean up their act. If you want to feel good about yourself as a dad, just click to any of these ads.

These things matter. The way fathers are portrayed in popular media affects how they are treated by courts.

Ba

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Magna Carta on display today-see the relevance to family court 800 years later!

From today’s UK Independent:

The whole document is written in Latin, and the original Magna Carta had 63 clauses. Today, only three of these remain on the statute books; one defends the liberties and rights of the English Church, another confirms the liberties and customs of London and other towns, and the third gives all English subjects the right to justice and a fair trial. The third says:

“No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.

“To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.”

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