A picture of a father brushing his daughter's hair that was posted on a blogger's website went viral, but unfortunately elicited a slew of negative comments from around the internet.
Father of two Doyin Richards, 39, is a Los Angeles blogger who runs his Daddy Doin Work blog and posted the picture of him combing his daughter's hair back in October. During that time Richards was taking a paternity leave of absence from his job to care for his daughters ages six months and two years.
Richards described how the picture came to be.
"One morning, [my wife] was running late for work and was worried that she wouldn't be able to get [my daughter's] hair done before I had to take her to school. I told her that she could leave and I'd handle it. She countered by saying that doing her hair requires attention and the baby would get upset if I left her alone while I played the role of stylist. Again, I told her that I'd handle it. On the way out she said, 'I'll believe it when I see it,'" he recounted.
As a joke he set up his camera and turned on its 10-second timer. He emailed the picture with the caption "BOOM" and says the two enjoyed a laugh.
After reposting the picture to Twitter and Facebook in late December, it was recently picked up by the fatherhood blog The Good Men Project and quickly went viral.
In a matter of hours the picture earned more than 5,000 shares, 3,000 comments, and 190,000 likes, but was also the focus of numerous negative comments.
"I would bet anything that you're a deadbeat," one commenter wrote on his blog Daddy Doin' Work.
"Cute picture. Now why don't you hand the children back to their mom so you can go back to selling drugs or your bootleg rap CDs?" read another.
Others referred to that fact that his wife Mariko is half-white and half-Japanese.
"He probably rented those kids. They don't even look like him," one commenter wrote.
Another suggested that being a caring father as an African-American man shows weakness.
"Look at this Uncle Tom. No chance he would be doing this if his kids were black," wrote another.
Richards says he uses his blog to reach out to other fathers who may be looking for support in a current social climate that puts mothers as the primary caregivers.
"The picture stirs emotion for a few reasons," Richards told Yahoo. "The media doesn't portray fathers as caregivers. We're seen as bumbling fools trying to figure out parenthood, or macho men pushing their kids into the NFL. The other issue is that there's a stereotype that black fathers are deadbeats."
Still Richards hopes that pictures like his will one day not create the reaction they did.
"I have a dream that people will view a picture like this and not think it's such a big deal," he wrote. "Think of the Mommy blogs you like to follow … if they share their love for motherhood, you probably wouldn't think twice about it because that's what moms are 'supposed to do,' right?"
"Until we can get to the point where men and women can complete the same parenting tasks and the reactions are the same, we will have problems," he said.