Donte Palmer, a high school teacher and parent, isn’t asking for too much: He simply wants restaurants and public places to install changing tables in men’s bathrooms so fathers can change their kid’s diapers in a clean and comfortable environment.
A photo of Palmer crouching on the floor of a restaurant men’s bathroom trying to change his one-year-old son’s diaper has gone viral.
And Palmer posted these comments on social media:
“This is a serious post!!! What’s the deal with not having changing tables in men’s bathroom as if we don’t exist!!” Palmer, who is from Jacksonville, Florida, wrote. “Clearly, we do this often because look how comfortable my son is. It’s routine to him!!!! Let’s fix this problem!”
He also called on activist and football quarterback Colin Kaepernick to “drop a knee to this issue!”
Palmer’s request is not only reasonable, his suggestion for changing tables in men’s bathrooms should be embraced and installed in public places nationwide. More restaurants, airports, libraries, amusement parks – anywhere where parents take their kids — should accommodate Palmer and other fathers who are caring for their infant children.
Palmer is just trying to do the right thing. There’s plenty of media attention that focuses on what Black men are doing wrong and not enough coverage of what Black men are doing right.
So here’s a man who is a caring and responsible father – but he needs some support.
Palmer, 31, told Yahoo Lifestyle that he has three boys, ages 12, 7, and 1.
“We had stopped at Texas Roadhouse for lunch and while my wife ordered food, my son Liam started fussing so I knew it was time for a diaper change,” he said.
Palmer said he asked his oldest son, Isaiah, — who Palmer calls his “diaper assistant” — to help change Liam in the men’s bathroom.
“I usually lay Liam down on clothes I keep in the diaper bag or the bag itself, and Isaiah hands me wipes or throws out the dirty diaper,” Palmer said. He added that he wasn’t aware that Isiah had snapped his photo.
“It was just a normal Saturday morning,” Palmer told News 4 in Jacksonville. “My wife and I got up and ran much-needed errands.”
“I got into my perfect man squat and threw Liam in my lap so I could change him,” Palmer explained. “Isaiah handed me the wipe and pamper. I disposed of the diaper. As I’m putting the new diaper on, my son, Isaiah, without me knowing — he’s snapping pictures.”
Palmer, a husband, father and teacher, said he has also received some mean-spirited responses on social media.
“People have commented that my wife is ‘lazy’ for not changing our baby’s diaper or that I could have changed him in the car but why should I?” says Palmer.
Palmer also said the lack of diaper stations in men’s rooms underscores the roles that fathers play in the lives of their children.
“Many fathers are present caretakers but either we don’t get recognition or get too much credit for doing basic tasks,” Palmer told Yahoo Lifestyle. “Why should I have to lay my son across my legs? That’s not cool.”
It’s refreshing to see a father like Palmer caring for his children. And Palmer isn’t alone – nor he is he an aberration. Black fathers all across America are present and engaged in the lives of their children and they should be acknowledged more often.
What do you think?
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