Cover image for Survival of the African American family : the institutional impact of U.S. social policy
Survival of the African American family : the institutional impact of U.S. social policy
Jewell, K. Sue.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, [2003]

Physical Description:
x, 303 pages ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185.86 .J485 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Challenging widely held beliefs, this provocative book offers nothing less than a blueprint for enhancing the social and economic status of African American families. Despite the implementation of liberal social policies in the 1960s and '70s, successive U.S. administrations continue to dash the hopes and expectations of African Americans, who remain subject to racism and discrimination. Arguing that social policies--and their absence--have affected the stability of the African American family, Jewell refutes the myth of significant progress for African American families emanating from the civil rights era, exposing the myriad reasons why greater advancement toward equality has not occurred in major societal institutions. Attention is focused on the extent to which African American families have been adversely affected by a process of assimilation that was socio-psychological rather than economic. This new edition builds upon the first edition, and is revised and expanded to reflect new and persistent institutional policies and practices of race, gender and class inequality facing African American families. The revised edition explores such issues as racial profiling, capital punishment, police brutality, predatory lending, No Child Left Behind, welfare reform, affirmative action and racial disparities in healthcare, academic achievement and home ownership. Jewell proposes a variety of strategies and policies that are needed to ensure greater social and economic equality and justice for African American families.

Author Notes

K. Sue Jewell is a sociology professor in the Department of African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Although not stated in the introductory materials, this is an update of the book Survival of the Black Family (CH, Sep'89). Much of the original is untouched, though three new chapters cover events in the 1990s and beyond. Jewell (African American and African studies, Ohio State Univ.) argues that the social programs of the Johnson and Nixon era weakened black families. African Americans, she says, differ from whites in their reliance on mutual aid across family boundaries. She blames social programs for undermining aid networks and community institutions such as the church, while early welfare programs undermined the status of men. Attempts at integration led many African Americans to abandon traditional community values for the individualism and materialism of white society. Finally, she argues, the programs that caused these disruptions were not expansive enough to truly aid the African American community. These are attractive and interesting arguments, but they remain unexplored and undefended. The book at times reads like a litany of complaints about problems currently faced by African Americans, and is replete with factual errors that could mislead readers not familiar with the cited literature, most of which dates from the 1980s and earlier. ^BSumming Up: Not recommended. K. J. Bauman independent scholar

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
1 Introductionp. 1
2 Social Policy and African American Family Structurep. 13
3 Informal Social-Support Systemsp. 39
4 The Era of Liberal Social Policyp. 53
5 The Impact of Social and Economic Gains on African American Familiesp. 77
6 Expectations versus Realizationp. 105
7 The 1980s: A Period of Social Conservatism and Social Reawakeningp. 117
8 A Reaffirmation of Institutional Exclusivity: Removing the Facadep. 139
9 The 1990s: The Decade of Demystificationp. 159
10 The Turbulent Twenty-First Centuryp. 211
11 The Future of Social Policy and the African American Familyp. 231
Bibliographyp. 279
Indexp. 293