1. trend of low marriage rates and

1. Over the course of this class we have learned that a number of family
patterns (e.g. marriage, single parenthood) vary across racialized groups, in
particular between Black and non-Latino white Americans. Describe two of these
patterns and discuss how economic opportunity and/or incarceration are related
to these disparities.

The family patterns
for Black Americans and White Americans are very different. Formed by a
majority trend, the marriage desirability, rates, and expectation change
dramatically across these racialized groups, and are greatly solidified by the
fact that Black and White Americans have the lowest interracial marriage rates
in the country. However, the marriage statistics, cohabitation rates, and
number of single mothers of White Americans is almost doubled for Black

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As women have
entered the workforce, the need for
marriage has decreased. Instead a partner’s desirability has become the most
prominent factor. For White Americans, this is clearly illustrated in the
“marriage gap.” Most notably by the fact that not only do higher educated and
higher earning women marry later, they also tend to have less children. For
Black Americans, lower education statistics and less promising job
opportunities, have left behind a trend of low marriage rates and very high
cohabitation. Since it has been determined
that one of the main features of being in a marriageable state is economic
stability, without a stable income or family structure, it is likely that a
couple will postpone or avoid marriage. Because a large number of
African-American women are in the work force and will continue to be so despite
their marital status or child bearing, there is little enticement to do
otherwise. Additionally, the statistics of African-American couples staying
together is influenced by a very high divorce rate among African Americans,
which is higher than the national average.

Where a White
American household is usually formed by a marriage. For Black Americans, a
household is formed first by the birth of a child, rather than by a marriage.

Statistically speaking, less than half of African-American households are
headed by a married coupleWhile there is a strong family commitment in
African-American families, according to the U.S. Bureau of Census, 41 percent of African-American men over the age of
eighteen had never been married and 37 percent of African-American women over
the age of eighteen had never married. This has been attributed to, in some
respects, the shortage of marriageable African-American males as well as
economic and social influences. Unfortunately, a large number of
African-American males are unemployed (or underemployed) and are therefore
incapable of, or undesirable for, marriage by African-American females.

Additionally, since the beginning of the 20th century, the rates of
unmarried black men in the U.S. has closely aligned with the rising
incarceration rates.

                  Single-parenthood in the U.S. is also vastly
different across racialized groups. Interestingly, 72% of Black American
children are born out of wedlock and 62% of theses children are raised by a
single mother. Conversely, the number of single mother homes is only 29% for
White Americans. Yet, over two thirds of Black women who are single mothers
came from households that functioned below the national average income, where
as only 9% of White single-mothers were in the same situation. As seen in the
racial stratification that exists as a border between Black and White Americans
it is likely that a person will spend their lives remaining in whatever class
they were born into. As previously mentioned, economic factors greatly affect
social statistics. Those with more resources (typically White Americans) are
better to provide themselves with not only suitable employment, but also
childcare. They are less likely to rely on government assistance. Conversely,
working class African-American mothers with minimum wage jobs are forced to
spend most of their time, energy, and money on sustaining themselves and their
children. Working class, single mothers who live with their children face lower
marriage prospects and typically spend the majority of their lives as
caregivers of their children and grandchildren.




and Meyers wrote a book “Families that Work” and argued that the US should
adopt some of the work/family policies being implemented in other European
countries. Choose two of the policies they mention and: (1) explain why they
want to implement them, and (2) argue in favor or against their proposal.


Perhaps the most prominent argument
the authors make is for Dual-Earner/Dual-Breadwinner arrangements. With this arrangement,
mothers and fathers would hold equal at-home responsibility and equal
opportunity to pursue a career. With
this comes the understanding that a large portion of shared caregiving is
transferred outside the home. In the U.S., with the exception of public
schools, child—care is privatized, it is their belief that, as with other
European countries, child-care should be state provided. In their argument, the
authors claim that an egalitarian arrangement of a dual earner/dual career model
not only involves both mothers and fathers, but also the state, in the care of
children. One policy they discuss is a dual-paid leave for both mothers and
fathers, at the end of which parents are entitled to full-time public care.

Additionally, they discuss a parent and employer subsidized care program that
connects with education.

The authors mention in the course of the argument that these
policies would have difficulty being implemented in the U.S. because child care
is still widely considered to be a private matter. I agree with this. While
good in theory, these policies rely heavily on the willingness for parents to
place their children in public care. However, I would assume that this might
become heavily stratified. Parents who can afford to pay for private care (such
as nannies) will do so, and working class Americans with little other options
will choose government provided care. In the end, this may cause an even
greater divide between children and class. In order for policies such as these
to be implemented and used as they are intended to be, it would have to be a
mandatory part of employment to subsidize public child care, this would provide
incentive for parents to partake. However, given the political leanings of much
of the U.S. not only would this be met with strong resistance, I doubt it would
ever be proposed, let alone passed.


Another policy the authors proposed was European-style
welfare programs and leave benefits. It socializes the cost of socialize of
caregiving, family allowances, family-support benefits, lone-parent allowances,
paid family leave, etc. It would require an additional 20 to 40 billion dollars
of funding. Nevertheless, it would provide working families to request paid part-time
for up to three years and paid leave for up to 6 months. Their wages would be
paid through a social insurance fund financed by employer. But employers would
not incur the costs for individual leave takers, nor would they be
experience-rated, it would be absorbed by the state and “social insurance.”

Though our European counterparts