Written by scholars who share an identity with the minority families they write about, this collection of essays offers a detailed description and analysis of the historical and contemporary forces that have shaped the structure and the role of social class and gender dynamics of the four dominant minority groups—African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American—and their sub-populations in the United States. The four dominant minority groups—African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American—and their sub-populations in the United States are focused on. The multiracial/multicultural diversity of family patterns and dynamics are considered. The similarities and differences between groups as well as the considerable diversity (in values, beliefs, and cultural practices) the groups represent are emphasized. Well-balanced treatment of the role of social class and gender as they bear on the behavior and attitudes of family members of minority groups is provided.
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Ronald L. Taylor is Professor of Sociology and Vice Provost for Multicultural Affairs at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. He is coauthor and editor (with Doris Y. Wilkinson) of The Black Male in America: Perspectives on His Status in Contemporary Society (1977) and African American Youth: Their Social and Economic Status in the United States (1995). He has published widely on African American families, youth, and gender.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
American families encompass a diversity of family forms and patterns, reflecting in some measure the varied and diverse cultural histories of the nation's ethnic and racial composition, and the influence of structured social inequalities on family resources and processes. This book focuses on minority families in the United States, that is, those families that have historically experienced social, economic, and political subordination vis-a-vis other families, as a consequence of their race, ancestry, or other assumed inferior traits or characteristics. The dominant minority groups in the. United States are African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans. Each of these major groups is further characterized by a number of subgroups, cultures, and nationalities that contribute to even greater diversity in family patterns. Some writers prefer the term "ethnic" or "ethnic families of color" to "minority" as the identifying term for these groups and their families. However, since the term "minority" connotes the subordination of groups and their unequal access to sources of economic and political power in society, the term seems appropriate in view of the historical experiences and devalued status of African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans in the stratified hierarchy of American society.
This volume brings together analyses of minority families organized around a common set of issues and themes, including historical influences on the nature of family organization among these groups, contemporary trends in family structure and living arrangements, and the influence of socioeconomic factors on family organization and processes, which enable the reader to appreciate significant similarities and differences between groups, as well as the considerable diversity within each of these broad categories, which is frequently ignored or glossed over in much of the family literature. For example, there are important differences in family processes and organization between African Americans and blacks of West Indian origin that are typically minimized or obscured in more global treatments of African American families. Much the same can be said regarding the treatment of Asian American and Latino families in the literature.
The minority populations included in this volume were selected to represent the diversity of minority families, from those whose histories predate that of many of the European ethnic groups, to those of more recent origin, and to highlight the impact of historical and contemporary processes on the development of distinctive family lifestyles among these diverse groups.
ABOUT THE SECOND EDITION
To better reflect the growing diversity of minority families in the United States, new chapters on West Indian, Korean, and Asian Indian families have been added to the second edition of this volume. These groups, together with African American, Mexican American or Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and American Indian populations included in this edition, represent more than 90 percent of the racial ethnic minority population in the United States and account for two-thirds of the 28 million people added to the United States population between 1980 and 1992. Beyond updating several chapters for which recent data were available and the addition of new chapters, the structure and the organization of the volume remain unchanged. The exception is the chapter on "Minority Families and Social Change" (Chapter 13), which has been expanded to include discussion of several emerging issues that are likely to contribute to even greater heterogeneity among and between minority families in the United States in the decades to come.
One of the major frustrations experienced in revising the first edition was the unavailability of certain data on Asian Indian and American Indian populations from the 1990 census. Although the 1990 census provides a wealth of new data on these populations as a whole, it offers far less detailed information on the various subgroups within these larger populations that would permit useful comparisons over time on certain important characteristics than does the 1980 census. In the absence of such data, some of the finer distinctions between and among groups presented in the first edition were not possible in this edition. Despite this limitation, students and instructors should find this edition more informative with the addition of new chapters and the inclusion of more recent material on minority families in the United States.
PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION
As the third edition of this text goes to press, results from the 2000 census are being released, which highlight the dramatic rise in the number of immigrants entering the United States during the past decade—at its highest point since 1900—creating a more racially and ethnically diverse society than ever before and more variation in the structure and form of family life. This new edition continues to reflect the diversity of family life in the United States among the so-called minority families, which include African American, Haitian, Mexican American (or Chicano), Puerto Rican, Cuban, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, American Indian, West Indian, Korean, and Asian Indian or Indo-American families, and account for nearly a third of the U.S. population. Although the structure and organization of the volume remain unchanged from previous editions, we have sought to update various chapters where recent data were available. Despite a wealth of demographic data from the 2000 census, there is again a paucity of detailed information on the various subgroups within the larger minority populations that permits useful comparisons over time on certain familial characteristics than was the case when the first edition of this volume was published. This is especially the case with respect to detailed and current information on American Indian and Asian Indian or Indo-American populations. The unavailability of this information has prevented us from making some of the finer distinctions between and among groups that were possible in the first edition. Nonetheless, students and instructors will find the new edition no less informative and current than were the previous editions. In preparing this edition of the text, I was ably assisted by Danielle Currier, doctoral student in sociology at Connecticut, whose thoroughness greatly enhanced the quality of this edition. I acknowledge her help with gratitude.
Ronald L. Taylor
University of Connecticut
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