But What If I Don't Want to Be a Dad?

A year after President Obama launched his "fatherhood initiative" to address the problems facing 23 million children in America living without their dads, one researcher thinks she can do the president one better with a controversial new plan.

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The researchers agree that, in the end, fatherhood in America is so inextricably linked to financial support that many young black dads end up having ersatz financial abortions simply by leaving their families.

"Everyone's invoking this cultural script about parenting and ignoring the fact that, in both legal and civil society, fatherhood is defined by economic ability," says Kefalas. "And you have this whole class of men who are systematically blocked from achieving those economic requirements."

Adds Hamer, "It's not that these men have different values than middle-income men. They want their child to go to college, they want to be able to take their child to Disneyworld, they want all those things -- it's just not possible."

Cord Jefferson is a staff writer for The Root. Follow him on Twitter.

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