This week, we read four articles from the American Families anthology that were on the topics of race and class in American families.

First we read chapter 7: Excerpt from Interracial Intimacy: The Regulation of Race & Romance, “Antimiscegenation Laws and the Enforcement of Racial Boundaries,” by Rachel F. Moran (126-145). In this chapter, the author overviews the history of laws barring sex and marriage between blacks and whites in the United States, and their role in maintaining the color line.

Second, we read chapter 32: Excerpts From Beyond Black: Biracial Identity in America, by Kerry Ann Rockquemore and David L. Brunsma (434-444). The authors of this article set out to understand “the dynamic meaning of racial identity for black/white biracial people in the United States and asks the question, What does biracial identity mean to individuals within this population?” (436). They answer, “Our data suggest some tentative descriptive categories for the ways that black/white multiracial people understand their biracialism: (a) a border identity, (b) a singular identity, (c) a protean identity, and/or (d) a transcendent identity” (436).

Thirdly, we read chapter 8: Race, Class, and Reproductive Politics in American History, Rickie Solinger (146-152). Solinger’s aim of this article was to “introduce examples of reproductive politics across U.S. history…shaped by interaction between her race and class and the historical moment” (146). While White women were often placed upon a pedestal of maternal privilege; women of color’s pregnancies were often scapegoated for social ills. For example, while women of color’s illegitimate pregnancies causes social outrage, white women of the 1950s were hidden away in maternity homes where they were pressured into giving their babies up for adoption and told to pretend this incident did not happen (149). This is the topic of the book, The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade.

Finally, we read chapter 29: Excerpts from Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, Annette Lareau (400-417). This article explores the different ways in which working class and middle class perceived and enforce their expectations of children, such as structured versus unstructured leisure time. The middle class families, as the authors point out, are overwhelmed with activities that are supposedly providing them with skills and institutional advantages. This message is central to the documentary Race to Nowwhere, about the pressure placed on middle-class children to succeed at all costs.

Blog posting #4 (due Thurs. Feb. 10, two hours before class). Discuss one or more of these articles. Be sure to use proper MLA citation (article author’s name and page number); as well as include a link to a related source.

Further Information

Counting by Race Can Throw off Some Numbers

The Race to Nowhere