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African American Families

African American Families

April 2007 | 408 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"Bravo to the authors! They have done an excellent job addressing the issues that are critical to community members, policy makers and interventionists concerned with Black families in the context of our nation."
—Michael C. Lambert, University of Missouri, Colombia

"African American Families is a timely work. The strength of this text lies in the depth of coverage, clarity, and the ability to combine secondary sources, statistics and qualitative data to reveal the plight of African Americans in society."
—Edward Opoku-Dapaah, Winston-Salem State University

"African American Families is both engaging and challenging and is perhaps one of the most important works I have read in many years. This book will most certainly move the discourse of the socio-economic conditions of black families forward, beyond the boundaries already set by other books in the market. African American Families is an excellent book whose time has come, and one that I would most definitely adopt."
—Lateef O. Badru, University of Louisville

African American Families provides a systematic sociological study of contemporary life for families of African descent living in the United States. Analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data, authors Angela J. Hattery and Earl Smith identify the structural barriers that African Americans face in their attempts to raise their children and create loving, healthy, and raise the children of the next generation.

Key Features:

  • Uses the lens provided by the race, class, and gender paradigm: Examples illustrate the ways in which multiple systems of oppression interact with patterns of self-defeating behavior to create barriers that deny many African Americans access to the American dream.
  • Addresses issues not fully or adequately addressed in previous books on Black families: These issues include personal responsibility and disproportionately high rates of incarceration, family violence, and chronic illnesses like HIV/AIDS.
  • Brings statistical data to life: The authors weave personal stories based on interviews they've conducted into the usual data from scholarly(?) literature and from U.S. Census Bureau reports.
  • Provides several illustrations from Hurricane Katrina: A contemporary analysis of a recent disaster demonstrates many of the issues presented in the book such as housing segregation and predatory lending practices.
  • Offers extensive data tables in the appendices: Assembled in easy-to-read tables, students are given access to the latest national agencies data from agencies including the U.S. Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control, and Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Intended Audience:

This is an ideal textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses such as African American Families, Sociology of the Family, Contemporary Families, and Race and Ethnicity in the departments of Human Development and Family Studies, Sociology, African American Studies, and Black Studies.

1. African American Families: A Brief Introduction
What We Hope to Accomplish  
The Question of Social Class  
Data Sources  
Organization of the Book  
2. African American Civil Society: Issues, Approaches, Demography, and Theory
Race as a Social Construct  
African American Families  
Structural Versus Individual Explanations  
African American Families: A Profile  
Theoretical Approaches to Studying African American Families  
Data and Methods  
3. Family Formation, Marriage Rates, and Cohabitation
Factors That Affect Family Form  
Functions and Purposes of Marriage  
Marriage Patterns  
The Marriage Gap  
In Their Own Words  
Race, Class, and Gender Analysis  
Summary: Outcomes of the Low Marriage Rate  
4. Childbearing and Childrearing Patterns
Childbearing Patterns  
Nonmarital Births  
Race, Class, and Gender Paradigm  
5. Intimate Partner Violence
The Problem  
The Family Violence Approach  
The Feminist Paradigm  
Race, Class, and Gender Approach to Studying IPV  
The Dirty Little Secret: IPV in the African American Community  
African American Women as Victims/Survivors of IPV: Statistics/Rates  
Men and Masculinity  
Race, Class, and Gender Paradigm  
6. HIV and Other Social and Health Issues
The State of Health and Well-Being in African American Civil Society  
Racial Disparities in Chronic Diseases  
Racial Disparities in HIV/AIDS  
Leading Causes of Death  
Infant Mortality  
Outcomes of Poor Health: Premature Death  
Causes of Poor Health and Death  
Environmental Injustice  
The Politics of Health Care  
The Genetics (and Politics) of Race/Ethnicity and Health  
Race, Class and Gender Paradigm  
7. Access to Opportunity: Educational Attainment and Occupational Segregation
A Brief History of Race and Education  
Educational Attainment  
Access to Education: Legacy  
The Economy  
Race, Class, and Gender: African American Women's History of Work  
Occupations and Work  
Occupational Segregation: The Impact of Race and Gender  
Causes of Occupational Segregation  
Outcomes of Occupational Segregation  
Financial Outcomes: Lower Earnings  
Race, Class, and Gender Paradigm  
8. Welfare and Wealth
Income Versus Wealth  
Income and Income Disparities  
Wealth and Wealth Disparities  
Wealth Disparities and Access to the American Dream?  
A Clear Illustration: Hurricane Katrina  
Welfare Reform  
Stereotypes About Welfare and Poverty  
Welfare Versus Work  
Welfare Reform and Family Values  
Welfare Reform and Incarceration, or African American Mothers Are Crackheads  
Race, Class, and Gender Analysis  
9. African American Males and the Incarceration Problem: Not Just Confined to Prison
Prisons as Total Institutions  
The Growth of Prisons: Institutions and Population  
The Purpose of Prison: Rehabilitation or a Tool of Capitalism?  
The Demographics of the Prison Population: Race and Gender  
Explaining Racial Disparities in Incarceration  
The Effects of Incarceration on the Lives of Young African American Men  
Felony Disenfranchisement  
Other Bans-Social Services  
Race, Class, and Gender Paradigm  
10. Conclusion: Solutions to a Longstanding Problem: Race, Class, and Patriarchy in the 21st Century
Summary and Review of the Primary Themes  
Degrees of Separation  
A Snapshot of the African American Family  
The Struggles  
The Causes  
Family Form  
The Relationship Between Structural Forces and Individual Choices  
What Is To Be Done?  
Structural Forces: Race, Class, and Gender  
Final Thoughts  
About the Authors

I am excited about the content provided in this book. It will be used in my COUN 632 Family and Couples Counseling courses as a supplemental, recommended textbook purchase.

Dr Tracey M Duncan
Education , New Jersey City University
October 17, 2015

Needed an updated sociology of the african american textbook; this book received 4 out of 4 recommendations

Ms Joyce Shaw
Social Sciences Dept, Elizabeth City State University
August 22, 2011

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