Black and Latino families are in fact highly family-oriented and want to be involved in exchange networks but, because they are economically disenfranchised, they are prevented from participation. The vitriolic debate on welfare reform currently sweeping the nation assumes that if institutional mechanisms of social support are eliminated, impoverished families will simply rely on an extensive web of kinship networks for their survival. The political discourse surrounding poverty and welfare reform has an increasingly racial undertone. Implementation of social policy that presupposes the availability of family safety nets in minority communities could have disastrous consequences for many without extended kin networks. Many scholars and political analysts assume that thriving kin and non-kin social support networks continue to characterize minority family life. Policy recommendations based on these underlying assumptions may lead to the implementation of harmful social policy. No More Kin examines extended kinship networks among African American, Chicano, Puerto-Rican, and non-Hispanic white families in contemporary America and seeks to provide an integrated theoretical framework for examining how the simultaneity of gender, race, and class oppression affects minority family organization. Breaking new ground in a variety of fields, No More Kin is sure to become a valuable resource for students and professionals in family studies, gender studies, and race/ethnic studies.

A New Context Emerges

A new context emerges

The aim of this chapter is to determine whether there are differences in participation in social support networks between particular family and nonfamily members and whether there are racial and/or gender differences in the types of help given and received. Based on the theoretical literature, which stresses the importance of reciprocal obligations within the extended kinship system, I examine help that respondents both give and receive. As stated in Chapter 4, the child care help and household assistance dimensions of social support were examined to ascertain whether or not the respondent has given or received help with baby-sitting or child care, transportation, repairs to home or car, and other kinds of work around the house during the past ...

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