Reading Summary: Lareau

In our Lareau article she makes the case that "race had much less impact than social class" when discussing how families bring up their children. She focused on two elements: daily life experiences and parental skills including language usage and level of education. She conducted home and social environment studies on a number of black and white families. I felt the methodology was sound and the outcome of themes interesting however my overall experience with this piece was upsetting.


I don't think it takes more than some basic common sense to determine a family's economic situation is going to largely determine a child's daily life experiences. One could also make a fairly easy assumption that those families who have more wealth have the means which to do more enrichment activities than those who cannot afford them. Music lessons are expensive, sporting fees and equipment is expensive, traveling is expensive and so on and so on.


There can also be made a general assumption that those who have a higher educational level will make more capital. Persons with higher educational backgrounds tend to have wider interests, have a high level of vocabulary and so forth and so forth. When these persons become parents they extend these interests and skills to their children. There are always exceptions of course and we're all familiar with the "American Dream" scenario of people who have escaped their caste in our country.


It would be one thing, if in our country there would be an evenly distributed number of black and white families in various wealth categories. If we could determine that 45% of black and white families are middle income, that 35% of black and white families are of low income and that 15% of black and white families are living in poverty levels this study would be valuable. However, I would argue that a larger and more useful argument is why black families' are consistency in lower income brackets than white families? Why are there less black families who own homes than white families? Why are there more white small business owners than black ones? Why on average to whites make $20,000 per year than a black individual does?


So, when we look at the article from this angle it would appear that race may indeed have more of an impact then this study would admit.

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