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African American Families

African American Families

July 2012 | 408 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
This book provides students with a systematic sociological study of contemporary life for families of African descent living in the United States. Because it deals with issues facing African American families, it covers ground that is often considered, such as marriage and fertility rates, non-marital births, age at first birth, etc., but the authors also deal with several issues slighted or ignored in texts about African American family life, including disproportionately high rates of incarceration, family violence, and chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Also departing from previous books, the authors examine ways in which individual choice (e.g., choosing to use drugs, choosing to engage in unprotected sex, choosing to drop out of school) intersects with the larger societal factors and constraints. All these indices are woven together and cry out foráa new look at African American family situations that this book will provide. The authors hope to capture the complexities and nuances of a web of factors, thereby helping students explore both structural and individual explanations for problems facing many African American families today.
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

Angie Jean Hattery

Angela J. Hattery,is Professorof the Women & Gender Studiesand co-Director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Gender Based Violence at theUniversityof Delaware.She received her BA in sociology and anthropology fromCarleton College andhermasters and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.She is the author of 12books.Hermost recent,Way Down intheHole: Race, Intimacy and the Reproduction of RacialIdeologies in Solitary Confinement explores the ways in which racial antagonisms are exacerbated by theparticularstructures of solitaryconfinement.She is also the author ofPolicing Black Bodies: How... More About Author

Earl Smith

Earl Smith, PhD, is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of American Ethnic Studies and Sociology at Wake Forest University, and is currently teaching classes in Sociology, African and African American Studies, and Women & Gender Studies at the University of Delaware.  Dr. Smith earned his Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut. His teaching and research focus on the sociology of sport, social stratification, and the intersection of race and the criminal justice system.  He is the author of 12 books, including his most recent book, Way Down in the Hole: Race, Intimacy and the Reproduction of Racial Ideologies in... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412924665

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