ABC-CLIO

How the Recession Changed Contemporary African American Families

by Dorothy Smith-Ruiz

 

White households regained wealth after the 2007 recession while the wealth of black households continued to decline. Why?

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Cover image for How the Recession Changed Contemporary African American Families

June 2020

Praeger

Pages 206
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Race and Ethnicity/African American Studies
  Current Events and Issues/Society
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The first comprehensive book of its kind describes and analyzes how the 2007–2009 recession dismantled black family life in America.

Prince George's County, Maryland, features docking stations for Potomac River yachts and a spectacular view of the nation's capital. It is also the richest county in the United States where African Americans live. To show how the 2007–2009 recession changed the lives of black families who had achieved success, this book examines the home of the nation's largest concentration of affluent African Americans and details how, in just two-to-three short years, their American Dream was shattered.

The book draws on sociological theories and methods to answer the question of why the recession did not have the same impact on whites, who were much better able to recover from the lean years. At the same time, it clarifies misconceptions about blacks being "lazy" or "welfare cheats." In making its case, the work covers a wide range of topics, including marriage and family life, household economics, health disparities, incarceration, education, teen childbearing, changes in family structure, and religion. It details how each of those aspects of black life was influenced in varying degrees by the 2007–2009 recession. In addition, the book documents how recession has contributed to wealth disparities between blacks and whites and recommends best practices for solving the myriad social problems that beset both poor and middle-class African Americans.

Features

  • Explores contemporary African American family life and how structures and roles have shifted in recent times
  • Examines the broader changes and shifts in family life as a result of a changing society
  • Applies new approaches in sociology to help readers understand how black family life is a product of the society that shapes it and is shaped by it
  • Presents sociological facts that are relevant to black families, countering the myths that have surrounded those families since the publication of the Moynihan Report in 1965
Author Info

Dorothy Smith-Ruiz, PhD, is associate professor of Africana studies at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Ruiz received her doctorate in sociology from Michigan State University. She has completed two NIA postdoctoral fellowships, one at the Yale University School of Epidemiology and Public Health (1981–1983) and one at the Duke University Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development (1998–2001). As a Fulbright Scholar, she traveled to Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Senegal. She was named the Distinguished Alumna in Academic Service by the Fort Valley State University (2009). Ruiz's research focuses on ways in which societal patterns and ideologies influence outcomes for different socioeconomic status groups, with specific emphasis on grandparents and incarcerated adults and their children. She has authored numerous articles and book chapters as well as two books: Greenwood's The Handbook of Mental Health and Mental Disorder among African Americans and Praeger's Amazing Grace: Custodial African American Grandmothers as Caregivers and Conveyors of Traditional Values.

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