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Transracial Adoption in Contemporary America
Can White parents teach their Black children African American culture and history? Can they impart to them the survival skills necessary to survive in the racially stratified United States? Concerns over racial identity have been at the center of controversies over transracial adoption since the 1970s, as questions continually arise about whether White parents are capable of instilling a positive sense of African American identity in their Black children.
"[An] empathetic study of meanings of cross-racial adoption to adoptees"
Law and Politics Book Review, Vol. 11, No. 11, Nov. 2001
Through in-depth interviews with adult transracial adoptees, as well as with social workers in adoption agencies, Sandra Patton, herself an adoptee, explores the social construction of race, identity, gender, and family and the ways in which these interact with public policy about adoption. Patton offers a compelling overview of the issues at stake in transracial adoption. She discusses recent changes in adoption and social welfare policy which prohibit consideration of race in the placement of children, as well as public policy definitions of "bad mothers" which can foster coerced aspects of adoption, to show how the lives of transracial adoptees have been shaped by the policies of the U.S. child welfare system.
Neither an argument for nor against the practice of transracial adoption, BirthMarks seeks to counter the dominant public view of this practice as a panacea to the so-called "epidemic" of illegitimacy and the misfortune of infertility among the middle class with a more nuanced view that gives voice to those directly involved, shedding light on the ways in which Black and multiracial adoptees articulate their own identity experiences.
Strengths, Weaknesses, and Strategies for Change
The majority of African American children live in homes without their fathers, but the proportion of African American children living in intact, two-parent families has risen significantly since 1995. Black Fathers in Contemporary American Society looks at father absence from two sides, offering an in-depth analysis of how the absence of African American fathers affects their children, their relationships, and society as a whole, while countering the notion that father absence and family fragmentation within the African American community is inevitable. Editors Obie Clayton, Ronald B. Mincy, and David Blankenhorn lead a diverse group of contributors encompassing a range of disciplines and ideological perspectives who all agree that father absence among black families is one of the most pressing social problems today. In part I, the contributors offer possible explanations for the decline in marriage among African American families. William Julius Wilson believes that many men who live in the inner city no longer consider marriage an option because their limited economic prospects do not enable them to provide for a family. Part II considers marriage from an economic perspective, emphasizing that it is in part a wealth-producing institution. Maggie Gallagher points out that married people earn, invest, and save more than single people, and that when marriage rates are low in a community, it is the children who suffer most. In part III, the contributors discuss policies to reduce absentee fatherhood. Wornie Reed demonstrates how public health interventions, such as personal development workshops and work-related skill-building services, can be used to address the causes of fatherlessness. Wade Horn illustrates the positive results achieved by fatherhood programs, especially when held early in a man's life. In the last chapter, Enola Aird notes that from 1995 to 2000, the proportion of African American children living in two-parent, married couple homes rose from 34.8 to 38.9 percent; a significant increase indicating the possible reversal of the long-term shift toward black family fragmentation. Black Fathers in Contemporary American Society provides an in-depth look at a problem affecting millions of children while offering proof that the trend of father absence is not irrevocable.
American Dreams and Racial Realities
“The book brings together the research interests of what Hunt describes as an ‘all‒star team’ of contributors, most but not all of them academics with strong California connections. Comprising 17 short to medium‒length essays, it pivots from data‒rich analyses of how the black community’s 20th century demographic center gradually has shifted from Central Avenue to Leimert Park, to interview‒driven, anecdotal accounts of the rise and decline of Venice’s Oakwood neighborhood and a revealing chronicle of the black‒owned SOLAR (Sounds of Los Angeles Records), a late ‘70s‒early ‘80s hit‒making machine for groups including the Whispers, Shalamar and Klymaxx.”
Theology, Gender, and the Politics of Public Engagement
An explosion of flourishing black megachurches has changed the landscape of American religious life. Boasting memberships into the tens of thousands and meeting within both adorned walls and refurbished warehouse buildings, these contemporary fruits of the Civil Rights Movement hold many of the resources necessary to address America's contemporary social disparities. After studying nearly 150 black megachurches, Tamelyn N. Tucker-Worgs asks, How are these church communities engaging the public sphere? And, why are their approaches so varied?
The Black Megachurch sets aside the broad assumptions usually applied to the study of black churches and analyzes the three factors most necessary for social engagement—theological orientation, organization of community development initiatives, and gender-based spheres of labor and leadership. In doing so, Tucker-Worgs underscores the myriad ways in which black megachurches have responded to the changing social climate and concludes that while some have lived up to their potential, others have a long way to go.
Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies
From questioning forces that have constrained sexual choices to examining how Blacks have forged healthy sexual identities in an oppressive environment, Black Sexualities acknowledges the diversity of the Black experience and the shared legacy of racism. Contributors seek resolution to Blacks' understanding of their lives as sexual beings through stories of empowerment, healing, self-awareness, victories, and other historic and contemporary life-course panoramas and provide practical information to foster more culturally relative research, tolerance, and acceptance.
Dispatches from a Black Journalista
Los Angeles has had a ringside seat during the long last century of racial struggle in America. The bouts have been over money and jobs and police brutality, over politics and poetry and rap and basketball. Minimizing blackness itself has been touted as the logical and ideal solution to the struggle, but in Black Talk, Blue Thoughts, and Walking the Color Line Erin Aubry Kaplan begs to differ. With eloquence, wit, and high prose style she crafts a series of compelling arguments against black eclipse.
Here are thirty-three insightful and wide-ranging pieces of literary, cultural, political, and personal reporting on the contemporary black American experience. Drawn from the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Salon.com, and elsewhere, this collection also features major new articles on President Barack Obama, black and Hispanic conflicts, and clinical depression. In each, Kaplan argues with meticulous observation, razor-sharp intelligence, and sparkling prose against the trend of black erasure, and for the expansion of horizons of the black American story.
How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions
Conventional wisdom holds that Christians, as members of a “universal” religion, all believe more or less the same things when it comes to their faith. Yet black and white Christians differ in significant ways, from their frequency of praying or attending services to whether they regularly read the Bible or believe in Heaven or Hell. In this engaging and accessible sociological study of white and black Christian beliefs, Jason E. Shelton and Michael O. Emerson push beyond establishing that there are racial differences in belief and practice among members of American Protestantism to explore why those differences exist. Drawing on the most comprehensive and systematic empirical analysis of African American religious actions and beliefs to date, they delineate five building blocks of black Protestant faith which have emerged from the particular dynamics of American race relations. Shelton and Emerson find that America’s history of racial oppression has had a deep and fundamental effect on the religious beliefs and practices of blacks and whites across America.
The Private and Public Life of Sightless Israelis
Blind People approaches disability from a fresh perspective: people with an unusual body are conceived of relativistically as a variant of humanity, much the way anthropology approaches people of different culture. While deeply empathic to its subject matter, Blind People raises questions that anthropologists ask routinely, but which are commonly avoided in everyday life because they touch on sensitive matters. Based on fieldwork in Israel, the book constitutes an ethnography of blind Israelis. It starts by focusing on intimate issues of the management of the sightless body, goes on to discuss the role of the blind person in the domestic setting, and moves to issues of how the blind person strives to attain material requirements. Finally, the book relates the way blind people cope with problems of associating with both blind and sighted people in arenas of leisure activity and public affairs. Deshen’s book aims to present a truthful, dignified, fully human depiction, in the tradition of socio-cultural anthropology.
Class and Governance in the Luxury City
Euthanasia in Veterinary Medicine
Offering a candid behind-the-scenes look at small-animal veterinary practices, Blue Juice explores the emotional and ethical conflicts involved in providing a "good death" for companion animals. Patricia Morris presents a nuanced ethnographic account of how veterinarians manage patient care and client relations when their responsibility shifts from saving an animal's life to negotiating a decision to end it.
Using her own experiences and observations in veterinary settings as well as the voices of seasoned and novice vets, Morris reveals how veterinarians think about euthanasia and why this "dirty work" often precipitates "burnout," moral quandaries, and even tense or emotional interactions with clients. Closely observing these interactions, Morris illuminates the ways in which euthanasia reflects deep and unresolved tension in human-animal relationships.
Blue Juice seeks to understand how practitioners, charged with the difficult task of balancing the interests of animals and their humans, deal with the responsibility of ending their patients' lives.