Public Policy and the Condition of Black Family Life
Review of Black Political Economy, Summer-Fall 1984
23 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2013
Date Written: 1984
The sustained well-being of a people is contingent on their ability to maintain (1) a sense of personal worth, dignity, and unity among their members, (2) familial, tribal, clan, and community relations, (3) economic well-being, and (4) the capacity to exercise political self-determination. Familial relations are of paramount importance because the family is the institution that has functioned as a source of tradition, continuity, and heritage. The family has been the primary agency to instill pride in the rising generation. Further, the family customarily has served as the major instrument of socialization of offspring, with parents performing dual affectional and disciplinary roles.
For a people to flourish, its families must be able to nurture children and to have a reasonable degree of control over the destiny of their young. Group survival and salvation rest heavily on the health and welfare of the family, the institution that transmits both the tapestry of a people's past and its aspirations for the future. Given the significance of the family, it is notable that a wide variety of commentators have come to express concern over the status of the family in modern American life. These concerns have foundation. They are manifested in a horde of summary statistics that convey evidence of a continued rise in divorce rates, children raised in single-parent homes, births out of wedlock, impoverishment of female-headed families, and children exhibiting behavioral problems that social psychologists trace to the fragmentation of family life.
Keywords: public policy, black life, conditions
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