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SOC214H Lecture 4

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Bonnie Fox

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st October 1 , 2013 SOC214H Lecture 4 - Today in the States you have to be job-trained to get welfare and you can only get it for 5 years in your lifetime - Welfare is difficult especially for single mothers because they have to work and care for their children - It was easy to get welfare back then; you just have to show your debts and you‟ll get it What is the African-american family relationship? What are the causes of this family pattern? African-American family patterns 1. Is there a different family pattern than that for white Americans? What is it? - There has been higher proportions of lone-parent families (majority is single mothers) - Higher proportions of babies born outside marriage (before getting married) - Since 1940s there has been lower proportions of people marrying - When researchers only look at middle-income and upper-income black americans and compare them with other white americans, there is no difference - This pattern no longer exists (swapping families) - Marriage was common in this family pattern until 1960s 2. What is the relationship between poverty and the pattern of “woman-headed” households and births outside marriage? - Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the “culture of poverty” argument: a “pathological family” pattern, characterized by unstable marriages, an absence of fathers, high rates of “woman-headed” households, and high rates of birth outside marriage cause poverty. Inability to save money and plan for future, etc these characteristics create problematic family patterns o Moynihan argues: they don‟t instill in their kids the idea that you should go to school and be educated and save up so years from now you‟ll have a good life. They also have casual attitude toward school and employment o Problem with his argument: even if you save money you might not be able to buy a house in the future. Also the credentials you have today might not be useful in getting a job in the future (there is racial discrimination) - African-american families are a “tangle of pathologies” and disorganized; they produce a “vicious cycle of poverty” - Have to change attitudes of parents and kids. Marriage is the solution; women should marry men to decrease poverty - Alternative argument: this is behaviour that reflects the conditions of poverty and racism. Poverty and racism are the causes - It doesn‟t make sense to blame people for poverty because they‟re poor 3. What are the causes of this family pattern? - Culture: the West African tradition of extended families, with nuclear (marriage-based) families embedded in them. The strength of consanguineal (blood) ties o Black population in the States largely descends from slaves o Key characteristic of these cultures is extended family; people used to live with big groups and extended family was the dominant pattern. Nuclear family was embedded in the large household st October 1 , 2013 - Slavery and its effects o Herbert Gutman (1976): the slaves were able to create families
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