Is The Black Family Only A Myth?

4118 words - 16 pages

Is the Black Family Only A Myth?

My objective for writing this essay on the black family was to examine and interrogate a myriad of stereotypes surrounding this family structure. Slavery and its inception need to be explored because it enables one to acquire a better understanding of the modern day black family. It is my hope that once we achieve this level of understanding, if not acceptance, that we may be able to start the healing process that is so necessary.

THE MOYNIHAN REPORT. SINGLE PARENT FAMILIES. POVERTY. CHILDREN IN TROUBLE. The aforementioned are descriptions and reflections associated with the black family. Although these identifications are different, they all reflect one negative connotation. The connotation is that of families of African descent being "problem ridden" and "dysfunctional." Despite the fact that many families are dysfunctional, the question is: "Why are families of African descent frequently labeled as such ?"

The state of black Americans and their families has been at the center of debate for decades. Biased and inaccurate reports such as the infamous Moynihan Report by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan have helped to solidify the false stereotypes surrounding the black family. Such reports and their counterparts have had a long and lasting detrimental effect . Em phasis has been placed on personal biases and racist testing procedures such as the Bitch Test instead of actual data and observation. The Bitch Test (as you can tell from its name), is very racist. It was an intelli gence test designed for children of African descent. This test unlike the Stanford - Binet IQ test, asked questions which were irrelevant to the child's IQ. Questions such as, "What type of car would you call a 'hooptie'?" were asked. Instead of using the aca demic terminology applied to children of European descent, this testing procedure employed slang terms. The application of this testing to those of African descent prompted the labeling of the IQ test as the "Bitch Test."

Eradicating and contradicting such beliefs perpetu ated by the Moynihan Report and the "Bitch Test" has been a long but steady process. Nevertheless, it is a process that those of African descent have undertaken with a great deal of vigor. Before anyone, including black Americans themselves, can truly understand where the black family is going, one has to take into account certain factors. These factors are numerous, but the one that has had the most profound effect was the institution of slavery. An in depth study of this factor will help to answer whether the depiction of the black family as "dysfunctional" and "problem -rid den" are a reality or simply a myth.

Despite its inception some 400 odd years ago, slavery continues to impact families of African descent. Al though forcibly taken to American shores with shack les and chains draped around them like garments, Africans retained some sense of family both mentally and spiritually. The familial...

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