How a Facebook group is helping black fathers shatter stereotypes, support each other

The private group "Black Fathers" has formed a community with over 30,000 members who empower each other with their individual fatherhood journeys.
6:35 | 02/06/18

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Transcript for How a Facebook group is helping black fathers shatter stereotypes, support each other
Now to our new series taking you inside secret groups on Facebook. More than a billion people use these groups every month, offering communities of support. This morning we're taking a closer look at one for black fathers and Paula Faris is here with that. Good morning. Good morning again to you. These black fathers are from all over the world from the united States to Japan, Israel and Egypt connecting to discuss the challenges of being a black father today as well as the unfortunate misconceptions. I'm a black father. I am a black father? I am a black father. Reporter: It's a community built of thousands of proud fathers. I have three children. I have one daughter. Reporter: Connecting through the experience of fatherhood and Facebook. When I joined the group and got into the conversations, I found that I wasn't alone. Reporter: This private group is called black fathers and it's bringing them together to share their unique journeys. But it's also a safe haven for a population of dads who feel they're battling negative perceptions of black fathers. There are so many things that are said societally about men, black men in particular, selfish or just immature and I don't find that to be the case. It is thought we were not in our children's live. When I go out with my kids it's like people are staring in amazement like I'm some kind of union. It's important to work to change people's perceptions. Reporter: Matt started this group in 2009. Newly divorced and raising his sons as a single dad, he needed support and had no one to turn to. I felt isolated as a father but really wanted to create something that was as I like to say the brotherhood of fatherhood. Reporter: Nine years and 30,000 members later black fathers has become an agent of change offering workshops and providing legal advice for members pursuing custody or visitation rights in family court. I'll never forget it. It was over almost 400 comments on the post. And it was the mostupport I ever received on Facebook. Reporter: Gary Scott reached out to the group after a bitter custody battle left him discouraged and broken. I reached out to black fathers and I told them that it wasn't a good day for me. And the level of support I got from those guys, I thank every one of you brothers. The friendships that I have developed, it's been a godsend. Reporter: One of those friendships came from fellow member Angelo Sims who reached out after reading his post. He sent me his phone number. I gave him a call and, man, we talked for like an hour. What we see in groups like black fathers is the truth of what black fathers are which is loving, caring fathers for their communities. A lot of types it's said that we don't support each other as black men. But this is false. For me black fathers has been a friend. Just seeing like other people's issues and that are similar to mine. A love being a black father. It's the oy father I can be. Those fathers are extraordinary and talking about literally everything. That dreaded encounter of meeting your daughter's significant other for the first time. Uh-huh. That happens. Taking your sons to college but they're also working on connecting in person. They're hosting an annual daddy/daughter tea party, pinkies up which you've done. I've done the daddy/daughter dance. This is great. This is a positive part of social media. Love it. Thank you so much, Paula. We appreciate you bringing this to us. Now we go to clinical psychologist Dr. Jeff gardere, doc, how are you. Good to see you. Good to see you, Michael. And we just saw in that piece these fathers opening up about things they face every single day but what do you think is the most important thing for them to know. Well, that they have a community that they can talk to other people who share a lot of their concerns and some of those concerns have to do with the inequities that black children still regrettably still face, we're talking about underfunded public schools, we are tea talking about possible conflicts with police officers. We're talking about historical unemployment rates, so those challenges are still there and those are real fears that these dads have. They want their kids to be able to be the best that they can possibly be despite these sorts of adversities. I think we saw in that piece a sense of what these group, these Facebook groups can do, how they help. The important thing is they're helping them fight that stereotype, that black fathers are not in the home, the CDC shows since 2013 we have 2.5 million black fathers in the home versus 1.7 who are not so there are more black fathers in the home, many more concerned and so with this group they get the support that says Atta, boy, you're doing it. Pretty shocking to see. People are surprised I'm in my kids' life and that's hard to hear. Dads need support. All dads do but these black dads need the support because they keep getting that negative noise all the time about you're not there. You're not raising your kids. Black fathers are there and they are raising their kids as I am, as you are as black fathers. Very well said. And what can these fathers -- what can these fathers teach their kids aboutover coming adversity. Well, I think the important thing is to not become jaded by it. Take that pain and turn it into power. Have a positive self-concept. Have a positive attitude about life. But most importantly keep that self-esteem, that self-worth because you are going to face these challenges every day as a black child. Yes, you are. Now, outside of this Facebook group what other resources would you suggest for fathers like this. Well, there's a group I belong to called fathers incorporated. I'm on the board there and we work with our black children. We read to them. We talk to them about their self-esteem. We get them involved in educational activities and, you know, presidevt Obama said one thing, that all children should go to college. I would say all children should go to college but all children should also get some training to be certified to be the best they

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