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.

Gender Socialization

Gender socialization

“You acting womanish,” i.e., like a woman. Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, and willful behavior. Wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered “good” for one … Responsible. In charge, Serious … Committed to the survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female … Loves the Moon. Loves the Spirit. Loves love and food and roundness. Loves struggle. Loves the folks … Loves herself. Regardless.

AliceWalker, African American Womanist, Poet, and Writer (quoted in Arisika Razak, 1990, p. 167)

Girls growing up in African American families rarely escape the accusation, most often made by their mothers, that they are “acting womanish.” Depending on the context, the charge can either be a serious condemnation of behavior that is entirely inappropriate for ...

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