In the context of growing diversity, Shirley A. Hill examines the work parents do in raising their children. Based on interviews and survey data, African American Children includes blacks of various social classes as well as a comparative sample of whites. It covers major areas of child socialization: teaching values, discipline strategies, gender socialization, racial socialization, extended families -- showing how both race and class make a difference, and emphasizing patterns that challenge existing research that views black families as a monolithic group.
Black folks aren't born expecting segregation, prepared from day one to follow its confining rules. Nobody presents you with a handbook when you're teething and says, “Here's how you must behave as a second-class citizen.” Instead, the humiliating expectations and traditions of segregation creep over you, slowly stealing a teaspoonful of your self-esteem each day. … By the time I was four years old, I was asking questions neither my mother nor grandmother cared to answer: “Why do white people write ‘Colored’ on all the ugly drinking fountains, the dingy restrooms, and the back of the buses?”
One of the most pernicious outcomes of slavery has been an almost intractable denigration of blackness in American society. ...