Three reasons are most often provided to explain the persistent overrepresentation of black children in the child welfare system. One, since black families have more risk factors (unemployment, single-parent families, poverty, etc) that cause them to abuse and neglect their children more than white families, the higher representation of blacks is appropriate. Two, since blacks are more highly concentrated among the poor than whites, blacks are expected to be overrepresented in child welfare due to their lower class status—not because of their race. But this article focuses on a third explanation—institutional racism. This thesis holds that systemic discrimination, which emanates from decision-making processes in child welfare, is a major contributor to the disparate representation of black children. This analysis examines how institutional racism influences the operation of the child welfare system to result in disparate adverse effects on black children and their families. The evolution of blacks in child welfare is viewed from an historical perspective. It assesses the impact of other systems (notably mental health, special education and juvenile justice) on the child welfare system. It examines the extent to which decision-making processes at various stages of child welfare screen in black children and screen out white children. It describes how systemic racism denies vital social and economic supports to kin caregivers who are responsible for their related children. This assessment ends with practice, policy and research recommendations to reduce the overrepresentation of black children in child welfare.
We “open up” an emerging symbol of racial progress in post-Civil Rights America, Asian-White adoptive families, to reveal the contemporary process of racial acceptance and explore how it differentiates between non-White groups. Using data from our “Asian Immigrants in White Families” study, we examine childhood narratives of Korean adoptees for the role of race and ethnicity in their families’ motivations for adopting them and the messages they received regarding race, racism, and birth culture. We also link their experiences to a provocative new thesis suggesting that the U.S. is moving beyond its historic hierarchy of Whites over non-Whites to what has been referred to as an emergent hierarchy of non-Blacks over Blacks. We build on this perspective by examining the process by which Whites come to accept non-Blacks over Blacks, in this case Asian adoptees over Black adoptees. We conclude with a discussion of what the phenomenon of Asian adoption means for racial progress in post-Civil Rights America.
Regime theory, the dominant paradigm in the study of urban politics, maintains that cities are governed by informal arrangements consisting of public and private sector elites. Because economic growth is the main policy objective of regimes, research has tended to focus on mayoral coalition building and development policy. Thus much less attention has been paid to policies that more directly impact residential neighborhoods and more fully illustrate the role of race, such as housing and education. This paper suggests that regime theory sharply limits the subjects for inquiry, and in the process, substantially understates the role of race and racism in urban political outcomes. Further, the lack of explicit discussion of race has prevented scholars of urban politics from participating in debates which have become central to the larger field of urban studies involving residential segregation and concentrated poverty. Thus, other explanations of concentrated poverty, emphasizing either economic or demographic trends, or the alleged failure of national social welfare policies, have become increasingly accepted. In this paper, I examine the politics of housing, education, urban renewal, and highway construction in Buffalo, New York, over the past several decades. This analysis is intended to illustrate the powerful influence of race in urban politics as well as the role that local policy making has played in the formation of residential segregation and concentrated poverty.
This study addresses the importance of neighborhood attachment and its key determinants among urban residents. Particular emphasis in this study has been placed on race/ethnicity and homeownership as the critical predictors of neighborhood attachment. Using data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods in 1995, the findings showed that urban blacks are less attached to their neighborhoods and neighbors than urban whites, and that there is little difference between urban Latinos and urban whites in neighborhood attachment. Second, this study demonstrated that homeownership, in both urban whites and urban blacks, is a critical determinant of neighborhood attachment. In comparison to white homeowners, this study also showed that both Latino homeowners and nonhomeowners interact less with their neighbors (neighboring) and trust their neighbors less (social cohesion/trust).
Public debate surrounding the 2000 Census has focused on the addition of a multi-racial category. Advocates of this change assume that persons of mixed-race parentage identify as "biracial" or "mixed" and will continue to do so if given the opportunity on government documents. The assumption that most individuals with one Black and one White parent identify as biracial implies that "biracial" identity has a singular meaning. This paper challenges that assumption by asking two questions: (1) what does "biracial" mean to individuals within this population and (2) what social factors may lead to differences in the way these individuals interpret their racial identity. Data from in-depth interviews is used to draw a descriptive map of the multiple ways individuals understand and respond to their biracial-ness. A conceptual model is presented which explores how physical appearance and socio-economic status affect access to different types of social networks and the way that race is socially constructed and experienced within those networks.
Employing a variety of available data and previous research, the authors examine issues related to Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people's parenting practices and experiences. Findings indicate that parenting may serve to more fully-integrate Black LGBT people into both White LGBT communities and Black heterosexual communities. Black LGBT parents may also be disproportionately harmed as a result of anti-gay parenting measures. In light of these findings, the authors discuss foster parenting and adoption, racial and economic justice, and the current same-sex marriage debate. In sum, although the intersection of race and sexuality creates circumstances unique to Black LGBT people that neither White LGBT people nor Black heterosexual people are required to confront, Black LGBT people's similarities with other groups should not be overlooked.
Although there have been a number of studies examining depression among Latinos, and Mexican Americans in particular, there is still a modest understanding of Latino subgroup variation. Research on Latinos and depression typically focuses on clinical samples or nonrandom samples in specific cities. Using 1994 data from the National Survey of Family and Households, we evaluate whether factors typically associated with depression operate similarly for a nationally representative sample of Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and non-Hispanic whites. Our multivariate analyses reveal that ethnic group membership moderates the relationship between nativity, gender and depression. Being born in the Continental U.S. has a negative effect on depression for Puerto Ricans. For Mexicans, it has a positive effect on depression. For all racial/ethnic groups, men are less depressed than women. However, the results reveal that the gender gap in depression is greater for Mexicans and Puerto Ricans than it is for non-Hispanic whites.
Building on research into the question of high-risk/cost activism, we examine how social structural location mediated participation in two types of high-risk/cost political activism (sit-ins and voter registration) during the Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960s. Using data from the 1961–1962 Negro Political Participation Study (which includes representative samples of African American college students and voting age adults in the former Confederacy), we use logistic regression analysis to determine whether participation in high-risk/cost activism varied by social structural location. The results indicate that the particular characteristics that act as biographical constraints vary by subpopulation and may facilitate participation depending on the relationship of the goals of the movement to the individual's social structural location. Additionally, the evaluation of the peculiar risks and costs associated with a specific event is also influenced by one's social structural location. We conclude by arguing for an expanding the concept of biographical availability to include other indicators of social structural location such as skin color, social class, and military veteran status.