Soc 214 Lecture 4
Oct 4, 2011
Parson: nuclear family are the best to raise children
Not-so-nuclear Families: Poor African-American Family Patterns
I. African-American family patterns
A. Is there a diff family pattern? What is it?
>higher proportions of lone-parent families (mothers and children)
>higher proportions of babies born outside marriage
(since the 1940s) lower proportions of ppl marrying -- in the low-income
-->In Canada we see the same things occuring but less exaggerated
-the differences betwen African-American and americans only exist in the
low-income population (no difference between them in the middle class and
In the US- over 1/2 of black babies born outside marriage, over half of babies
living in lone-parent houdsholds
Thus, a different pattern, for low-income African -Americans
>this number has grown over the years
(this is also in Quebec)
-after the 60's there wasa big drop in marriage
B. What is the relationship between poverty and the pattern of
"woman-headed" households and births outside marriage?
1) the "culture of poverty" argument -> a certain family pattern causes
The opposite argument of this is that family pattern is the product of poverty
Daniel Moynihan: a "pathological family", characterized by unstable
marriages, and absence of fathers, high rates of "woman-headed"
households, and high rates of birth outside marriage
In short, African-American families are a "tangle of pathologies" and
disorganized; the produce a "vicious cycle of poverty"
>social assistance isn't going to help anything, it's the people
>what needed to be done was to change behaviours/attitudes
-poverty and unemployment are the sources People have a present day attitude, they don't plan for the future. Too many
children. Casual attitude towards school/works.
Family --> individual -- poverty pathology)
1. alternative argument: this is beavhiour that reflect