Tadeu França, 34, Leandro Pereira, 31, and Humberto Baltar, 41, are part of a network that has sought to improve himself as a man, while trying to deconstruct the stereotype that black fathers are absent.
Although putting aside the so-called toxic masculinity is also a self-initiative, self-observation of outdated behaviors arises in response to the demands of women, who have demanded a new model of man.
“Definitely, the positioning of women, potentiated by the use of social networks, begins to change the structures of the social pyramid”, observes the commercial manager, trained as an actor, Tadeu França, resident of Guarulhos, in Greater São Paulo.
They want to fight prejudices that permeate the collective imagination, that black men are not responsible, loving, companions, in addition to being sexist, incapable of caring and even violent.
More than exchanging about survival strategies, of becoming positive references for their children, these parents turn to literature, podcasts and social networks, in an exchange about their own feelings to raise children in a more affectionate way.
With over 44,000 followers on Instagram, França uses humor to address topics related to the male universe. “Sometimes I get hate [reclamação] of someone who says: ‘or, you’re ruining my marriage’. And I answer that it’s not me, but his attitudes”, says Hugo’s father, 1, and Augusto, 3.
In addition to trying to redefine the sense of fatherhood with a greater presence in child rearing, division of household chores and family care, the three share the extra drama that black parents experience when having to educate their children to defend themselves against racism, which has as a product of violence.
Such concerns are based on numbers. The study “Armed violence and racism: the role of firearms in racial inequality”, published by Instituto Sou da Paz in 2021, shows that 78% of the 30,000 people killed by firearms in Brazil in 2019 were black.
In the same year, the Atlas of Violence mapped that a black person was 2.6 times more likely to be murdered in the country than a non-black person. The first group had a mortality rate of 29.2 per 100,000 inhabitants, while the second had a rate of 11.2 per 100,000.
Parents agree that data like this makes them have to teach their children not to go out without documents for fear of a violent police approach or not to wear a hoodie so they don’t look suspicious on the street.
This is what the English teacher of the municipal network of Rio de Janeiro (RJ), Humberto Baltar, creator of the page Pais Pretos Presentes, has also done. Added to all social networks, their profiles gather around 100 thousand followers.
The page emerged from a vacuum that needed to be filled in the life of Baltar, who needed to learn about paternity when he learned that he would be the father of little Apollo, now 3 years old, but he could not find content aimed at raising black children.
“In the groups that I was a part of, back in 2018, those who addressed the racial theme were branded as a victimist”, he says. “I was happy [em saber que seria pai]but at the same time worried because we still see in Brazil many cases of racism also with children”, he adds.
An episode that occurred at the age of 8 marked Baltar. In the classroom, after reading a book in which a white rabbit wanted to be black like the character, he went through a situation of prejudice. “He [o coelho] it got all covered in grease and everyone pointed at me and the teacher didn’t know how to drive. I didn’t even take it to my mom,” she reminds her.
Father of little Benjamin, 4, professor of institutional relations at PUC-Minas, Leandro Ferreira, 41, alternates teaching with the administration of the Afropai podcast, in addition to publications on social networks also with content focused on black fatherhood.
The teacher recalls that, during his childhood, he had black musical references coming from his parents, but he hated being black. “That’s what racism does: it forces you to be ashamed of your hair, your nose, your features. And my parents didn’t know how to deal with that,” he says.
The study “Racism, early childhood education and early childhood development”, by the Scientific Committee of the Science Center for Childhood, points out the effects of racial prejudice on the development of black children from zero to six years old.
Among them are the “negative impacts in relation to opportunities to acquire skills and knowledge, self-perception, self-confidence, physical and mental health, identity construction, parental relationships, rejection of self-image and impact on self-esteem”.
In the perception of Baltar, França and Pereira, although gradual, there is an ongoing process of awareness among parents, especially black people. The three want to raise their children differently, since their parents had a provider profile, with little room for affection.
“Despite the particularities that involve a black man, being a present father who wants to participate in all activities with the children, with the house, taking care of the relationship, is a political position in relation to the world we want to build”, concludes Ferreira.