My father appealed to his sons as young men growing up in his house, aiming toward what I see missing in the lives of so many young men—Godliness. Much more important than the color of his skin was the content of his character as a man who pointed us to Scripture.
Do black men matter? The obvious answer is, yes, black men matter. The question is, “In what way do black men matter most?” The answer is that all men, including black men, matter most notably in their children’s lives.
As the firstborn son of Clarence and Mary Walker of Utica, New York, I learned a few things very early on in life. The first thing my father taught me was hard work. My father would say, “No one but you are to blame for your failure. However, everyone will play a role in your success. So, never step on anyone as you climb the ladder toward your next goal.” My father’s constant instruction was that while I may not be smarter than the next man, I am fully responsible for the hard work I dedicate to the task. So, he instructed my brother and me to work harder than others to be successful. My father also told me, “Don’t ever plan to do something that you know will embarrass our family.” I knew that the last instruction covered everything from stealing to getting a girl pregnant before marriage and any other costly decision early in life.
When I was growing up, I assumed that everyone received the same advice from their father. Unbeknownst to me at the time was that single-parent households were on the rise. By 1980, approximately 1 in 10 white children and 5 in 10 black children were experiencing life without a father in the home. The statistics on these numbers have dramatically increased. By 2018, the most recent statistics available, unwed mothers account for 4 out of 10 single-parent households. Black unwed mothers have grown to 7 out of 10 children born to a single-parent home. 
As I think about these epidemic numbers and compare them to the current focus on critical race theory to solve racial disparity, I must ask a question. Can you imagine the benefit that the black community would experience if proponents of critical race theory honestly addressed the systemic problem of fatherlessness? Like a man dying of thirst in the desert, many are running to the well of critical race theory as if it were drinking water. Sadly, CRT is a mirage, causing proponents to ignore the most fundamental problem of disparity in the black community—fatherlessness.
Studies are clear regarding the innumerable problems that are the result of absentee fathers. If something is not done quickly, the current devastation within black communities will only grow more prominent in the coming years. As one who benefited from a father in the home, my father taught me many things that I see missing in this current generation of fatherless males. Allow me to give you the benefit of the two lessons I mentioned at the opening.
You are Not a Victim
My father once said, “Son, racism only has the power you give it.” My father was not ignoring that racism existed. Born in rural Arkansas and armed with a 6th-grade education, my dad had first-hand knowledge of the racism of the Jim Crow south. However, he never allowed racism or a lack of formal education to stop him from accomplishing a goal. Furthermore, as a family whose faith is central in our lives, we serve God, who is more powerful than any racist. Our culture today is missing key fatherly instruction that refuses to see victimhood as a badge of honor followed by the masculine example of sticktoitiveness.