In this article, based on in-depth interviews with a nonrandom sample of 35 African American parents (25 mothers and 10 fathers), I explore the gender socialization of children in their families. Using the conceptual framework advanced by multiracial feminism, I explore how both race and class shape the gender ideologies and behaviors of parents. The findings reveal significant support for teaching children gender role equality; however, that support is mediated by social class status (defined by education) and patterns of social mobility. In this study, 21 respondents were classified as middle-class and 14 as lower-income parents. Social class status predicts religiosity, homophobia, and structural factors that may militate against full support for gender equality or foster contradictions between ideology and behavior. The results show the role of Black parents as active agents in the lives of their children and expand our knowledge about child socialization processes in Black families. The study also contributes to multiracial feminist theory and the emerging literature on the growing social class diversity among African Americans.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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