Recently in Week 6 Blog Category

Response to Vuexx120's week 6 blogpost

The traditional "Leave it to Beaver" family has not existed for many years.  For many families at the time the show was on television, it did not exist.  Families come in various forms for various reasons. Why should the government be able to define what the "acceptable" form of family is. 

As stated by Vuexx,"they(families) have values, tradition, lifestyles, history, educational backgrounds and many more things that make them who they are."  By the government making the final decision and definition of what a family is, they are not considering this.  Families are not a "one-size-fits-all" part of life as the views of government and other organizations seem to project through their rules and guideline.

With the economy the way it is, for some having several generations or multiple families in one home has become the only way from keeping  from being homeless.  For people from families where it is a cultural belief and value to have their elder family members living with them is something that I feel the government needs to think about.  As a western society, we have become units of people who are separated from our families through our own perceptions as well as what laws have been imposed on us. 

I know of quite a few people who were raised in two-parent households(mom & dad)and on the outside seemed to fit right in with the ideals of what made an American family.  Inside these homes family life consisted of abuse and neglect which have continued to go on for generations. I also know people who were raised in families with one parent and/or parents of the same sex and have grown up free of these issues and more open accepting and non-judgmental of others.  They are people who will challenge the definition of normal, because they know firsthand that "normal" does not exist.  Family, for everyone should though in whichever way is best for them to thrive in this world.

Week 6 Blog

This week's readings have led me to believe that government regulation of families needs to be revisited. I believe that the government has no right to define family, and therefore municipalities should no longer have the right to establish zoning ordinances that inherently define family through household size regulations.


The zoning policies that currently exist are rooted in a social discourse that tries to "control" what many described as the pathological or dysfunctional African American family. However, according to Carothers, a "new scholarship," instead "identified strengths, stability, and cohesiveness of Black families," rejecting the old discourse that "emphasized Blacks' difficulties in achieving position, power, or prestige and viewed the family as a major source of weakness" ( 233). She instead argues that there are many middle class black communities that are strong and stable, and contributes their success to the strength in family structure.


The only response to these arguments is to reject what Ritzdorf calls "the ethnocentric view that assumes that the only acceptable norm is a nuclear family" (170). The only way to do t his is to stress to legislators the importance of not allowing communities to adopt/ enforce these normative definitions; they need to take action to reduce the trend of communities defining families in their ordinances.


I do believe the government should regulate some aspects of household operation, but only when it addresses the issues of family-run businesses. I believe residential areas should be zoned as such, and because there are tax implications to working out of your home, the practice should be regulated. I do, however, think leniency should be granted in the licensing of child care in regards to locations, as Ritzdorf cites this as a specific problem minoritycommunities are facing.


I have some personal experience with the restrictive definition of family. When I was in high school, my mother moved out of the school district, but I moved in with extended family for my senior year of high school. Halfway through the school year, one of my teachers learned about my living situation and challenged my eligibility to remain a student because neither of my parents had addresses within the district. I had to fill out a form requesting to remain enrolled in the district, and was told I was only given permission because I only had a few months of school left.

Blog 6 Assignment

If I were asked to advise future government regulation of families, I would highly suggest that they look at this ideological family term, and take into consideration the historical contributing factors of the nuclear family, and not base it on traditional English Law in which a marriage is suppose to be between man/woman. Ritzdorf argues that "lesbian couples and their children have often fall outside the category of traditional family...thus allowing for local zoning" (177). This just reinforces the "ideal American family" thus discriminating those that do not fall under it.  It is also important to mention that all Americans are not heterosexual, white, and middle class.

A call for homosexual rights to adoption, same marriage rights, and benefits in all states would be ideal. Legislators need to realize that "equal opportunity" is not just based on ones skin, sex, and race, discrimination still comes into play if they insist on the regulations of families, especially on the terms such as these. What should be left to individuals to decide is who they love and what family is to them. Adoption in some cases can be more difficult in cases such as these as Solinger has argued, and that is where some government regulation needs to intervene so that a child is not stripped away from a family intentionally. All in all, goverenment regulations of family is wrong, and Ritzendork, Chauncey, Solinger, and Briggs make this case and point through their examples. 

Blog 6

"For most Americans, a family is a unit from which they draw their nurturance and sustenance. It is not a particular form, nor is it a simple, symbolic image." (Ritzdorf 180) When one thinks of a perfect family in the United States as the white nuclear two- parent family, I believe that is a bit outdated. The majority of Americans are not raised in this situation but rather having blending families, living with single parents, grandparents, or even being adopted by another family. I don't think the government should be able to control any part of the family composition. The United States is becoming too diverse for the government to have any control on family issues.

            If I were to advise the government on regulations of families I believe the only thing the legislators can control is the health and well being of the individuals and protection laws to protect families against violence and abuse. They cannot discriminate families because of race, gender, or class. Homosexuals, low income, and minority families should all have an equal opportunity to raise a family as long as they provide the essentials of living. Who is to say that two men can't raise a child as well as a heterosexual couple? Or black parents with a low income compared to wealthy white individuals? As long as they are responsible care to their children the government should have no regulations on families in the United States and the family composition should be left to the individual families. It is your right to how many children you want or whom you live with.

Week 6 Blog

            In light of this week's readings, the elimination of government's role in family life is necessary to create an equal and fair place for people to define, create, and raise their families as they please. I personally think the current "definitions" of families in the US (and elsewhere) are extremely outdated and (in my opinion), incorrect. An institution such as the government cannot possibly place a definition on what constitutes a family, because to each person, family may mean a completely different thing. This is what I would say to legislators: putting a narrow term, or definition, on something like what constitutes a "family," you further oppress these groups of people who do not fit into the nuclear-family unit. Things like zoning laws/boundaries, the rights of gay and lesbian couples, etc., are all examples of basic human/civil rights taken away because of a higher-institutions definition on what THEY think is family. This is not fair. For example, a gay and/or lesbian couple has the EXACT amount of capacity to love and nurture a child as a hetero couple would. Is it fair to deny this to a couple that wants to enjoy raising a child? I don't think so. My question is WHY they care so much about who is "GAY" or "LESBIAN," personal (sexual) matters in the bedroom are, once again, PERSONAL, and it really is no one's business anyway.

I personally think government should "check out" of family matters except a small change in adoption laws. I think government should at least require birthmothers to supply information about them selves, so the child of that birthmother has easy access to obtain this information, even if the adoptive family wishes against this. This may already be a law, but once again I feel that government really should not regulate family life at all. I don't think they deserve this power.

            I believe that gay marriage is one of the most pressing issues going on in our society today. Once again, people are allowed to love and "marry" whomever they wish, regardless of what their sexual preference is. It is no one's business, ESPECIALLY the government's, to know what type of sexual partner one chooses. In this context, there should be absolutely no regulation on what constitutes a family, so not letting gay couples adopt is an absolute violation of human rights. Many people may be opposed to same-sex marriage because of their narrowly defined concept of family. Without the nuclear family unit, MOTHER and FATHER (with kids, dog, etc.). people may think same-sex couples cannot possibly teach their children without the knowledge of both sexes. As Chauncey illustrates, "Marriage is more inviting-indeed, more imaginable-for same-sex couples as the sharp differences in the roles assigned by gender to husband and wife declined" (p. 66). It's clear that domestic and out-of-home responsibilities are not necessarily gendered anymore.

Blog 6

I would definitely bring up zoning. As Ritzdorf mentions, "alternative family patterns still create feelings of unease among community residents, and therefore they are explicitly disallowed in most zoning ordinances" (179). I would attempt to convince legislatures that "feelings of unease" is a lame reason to not allow "alternative" families into neighborhoods. There should not be a limit to the number of people in one home because, for example, African Americans' "situations" are dramatically improved when extended family is near. It is not fair to lower class, non-whites that our society is made for white, middle class people. 

The government should only regulate mistreatment in the home; sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect. As long as the home is clean, the noise level is low, and the children are being provided for, the government should stay out of it. It should not matter how many people reside in a single home (up to, say, forty people, depending on the size of the home), and how those people are connected; whether they be friends, lovers, extended family members etc.

I would want legislatures to keep intersectionality in mind when revising and/or developing new laws. I think it is easy to forget that we are all very different and come from very different backgrounds. What is best for one family may not be best for another. As much as we like to categorize and regulate, family issues should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Blog #6

If I was given the chance to advise the legislators about regulations of families, I would tell them that a family is not based on a white nuclear two-parent family. There is more to a family then just looking at them and saying they live this way or should live a certain way. Families should be able to live their lives like any normal family and if they can't then what is considered norm for any families. They have values, tradition, lifestyles, history, educational backgrounds and many more things that make them who they are. Losing those true meanings within their family would make them feel like they are not a true family. Families grow up in different environments and they operate differently than others do, so why focus on a white nuclear two-parent family. Not every family is the same and you have to look at their race, gender, class level before judging any of them saying they are right or wrong.

Families should not have to live like the white- two parent families because someone says they have to. If families have to give up any values, lifestyles, etc to be considered a norm family, then there should not be any regulations put upon families who cannot meet those regulations or expectations. The economy is changing and families change their way of living within those time span, so of course the government has to change the regulations each time, but why not make it easier by letting the families be who they are and let them choose the path they want to lead themselves in. The legislators should not focus on making every family lead the same life or even think it would help families, it will just make things more complicated by limiting families with little opportunities.

Blog #6

If I were to talk to legislators on the regulation of families in America, the first thing I could do is start by broadening the definition of what a family is.  I would have them get rid of the "white nuclear" family as the end all be all of what a family is.  This current definition as mentioned in the Carothers and Ritzdorf article leaves out the majority of families in the U.S.  I would make sure that this new definition includes more non traditional families that consist of gay or lesbian couples, families who consider extended familiy members as part of their immediate family, as well as single-parent families. I would suggest that gay and lesbian couples be allowed to marry and gain access to the legal benefits that marriage offers as well as the option to adopt a child and not be discriminated against in the adoption process.  I would also suggest that this non discrimination in adoption also be applied to people wishing to adopt of different races and family makeups.  The family is a private matter, and I don't believe the government has the right to judge that the only family who will benefit an adopted child is the typical white nuclear family.  How can they say that this family fosters the child's greatest interest?  There may be many thing this child misses out on by being given to what is seen as the "norm" in american, that in truth doesn't actually exist as the norm.

As far as what the governemnt should regulate, I think it should be in charge of providing single-parent or low income families with monetary needs to help ensure the family staying together.  No single mother should ever be forced into giving up their child as read in the Solinger article.  The government should be able to provide them with access to certain programs so that they're not forced into making the decision of adoption based simply on economic situations.  This same holds true to lower income families who may be forced into adoption.  I also think the government should be more involved in regulating international adoptions.  In the Briggs article she discusses the problems of illegal adoptions when americans are "saving" the poor children of the world, and in doing so american white families somehow gain some new third world perspective.  I think these types of adoptions should be monitored very carefully and our judgments of of the birthparents in other countries as unfit or not should not rely on our ethnocentric view of what we think works here in america.  Finally, I believe that the government should intervene when it comes to situations of abuse and or neglect in families of all races and makeups.  If abuse in any form is reported or witnessed these accusations must be taken very seriously and if they are true children should be placed in the best situation, foster homes should be examined very closely because these agencies have caused sometimes more distress on the child in the past.  

blog six

i do not think it should be up to the government to regulate what a family is. Instead it should be up to an the individual families to decide what they are since they have the best understanding of what it takes to run their family. Some families are the type A nuclear family, but most are not. My mother was a single mother and my aunt raises her child living with her parents (my grandparents). Even though both of my family situations lack the father head of the household does not mean that they should not be seen in as legitimate families in the eyes of the government.

I do believe that the government should play a role in legislating aid and benefits to all families. This can be done in many ways from legalizing gay marriage and letting all couples become legal spouses and allow them the benefits of married couples. the government should also provide free childcare for families - especially single parent families. Finding childcare can be a taxing ordeal and expensive at that. By providing the option for free childcare it would help remove some of the stress and worry that goes into being a parent. There are many things the government can do to help families instead of regulating and defining them.

Week 6 Blog

If I were given the opportunity to advise legislators on future government regulation of families, I would first and foremost address the supposed definition of what a "family" is. The issue here is that this definition is constructed based on the norm of a white nuclear two-family according to the articles we read for this week's discussions. Times are changing and it is important that legislators as well as all citizens embrace the changes and make efforts to change as well for the better of the community. This white nuclear two-parent family bias in my opinion is in no way helping our society. Family's come in all different shapes and sizes. We should be focusing on regulating whether these families are healthy, responsible, and supportive of their children. The safety and well being of the children in a family should be of much more importance to legislation rather than what color the family is, where they come from, whether it is a single parent family, or what sexuality both the parents happen to be. If the well being of the children is being jeopardized, I think this is when it is most important for government to intervene and regulate.

Blog Post # 6

After our discussion in class last week I was reminded of how inhumane and racist we can be in this society.   We have a history of discrimination, eugenics, red lining neighborhoods, and generally barring access to opportunities of all kinds for minorities in this country.  This also includes people who have physical and mental disabilities, which further prohibits their ability to live up to their full potential.  Then, to add insult to injury, we question those who have not been afforded these opportunities because of our biased notions that they lack the fortitude to rise above -- despite all of the challenges barring their upward mobility and accuse them of laziness, immorals, and subversive behavior.   I truly believe that mobilizing people through grass roots organizing is the most empowering and effective.  However, if I had the opportunity to talk with legislators (which we do via, letters and emails) about the importance of supporting families in this country first and foremost would be to support Universal Health Care.  It comes down to a matter of civil rights.  No, it's more basic then that for me . . . it's a matter of human rights.  If we don't have the foundation set in place to ensure that all people have the right to marry who they choose, have access to education, health care and safety we risk alienating more people, and the concept of "Family" (which is dynamic and ever changing as we've learned from the historical readings that we've done for class) will collapse.    

I was less impressed with Rickie Solinger's article because, I assume, it pertains to a small segment of our population who were forced or at least coheres to give up their children.  Albeit tragic, it sounds as if there were enough waiting parents who were more then happy to adopt their white children and give them the kind of stable, loving home that social service agencies, legislators and the courts deemed socially acceptable and suitable verses allowing these children to be raised in a "broken home" or by a single young women who had few alternatives to raising their own children, no thanks to the same people who wanted to take them away.  It does raise several other questions for me with regard to adoption that I think the legislature and social service agencies could do a much better job addressing.   Reduce the cost and bureaucratic maze for families who want to adopt domestically.  Do a better job at supporting families, whether "nuclear" or "extended" by recognizing them first and foremost.  I appreciated how George Chauncey in his article outlined these four steps that all legislators should keep in mind, 1) The fundamental right to choose one's partner, 2) The changing roles and makeup of married couples, 3) "The allocation of public and private rights and benefits", 4) To keep the minority special interest groups (neo-conservatives, and some religious organizations to name a few) from interfering with the rights and benefits of all. 

blog 6

Blog 6

My advice to legislators would that the laws set forth about regulating different aspects of families should be eliminated.   These laws are very discriminatory and outdated.   Why do these laws have to exist?  And who are they to tell us what is normal for a family?  The norm of being a white middle class nuclear family isn't really the reality anymore.  According to Ritzdorf, "a census report in 1992 revealed that 50 percent or 32.3 million of all American lived in a nontraditional family that contained people other than the biological parents and their offspring."   The social norms are slightly changing with time, but it seems that the laws aren't moving as fast as they are.   I think that most individuals who want children and marriage know what's best for their families, not necessarily the government.  In addition, politicians are mostly of the upper class, what do they know about being a poor family? I mean it would be ignorant for me to say that when it comes to children abuse or worse, that government doesn't need to intervene.  So obviously depending on the situation of the child's welfare, the government should intervene.    

Before Ritzdorf I never thought of "zoning".  When I look at suburbs, it's weird to think that they were initially set up to have a perfect neighborhood in which others of not your class most likely wouldn't live there.  "The more isolated one's residential environment from the work place, services, and those with a different socioeconomic status, the "better" the neighborhood" (Ritzdorf, 179).  This zoning made a clear discrimination towards African American poor families; it kept the gap larger between working class and middle class.   

Week 6


After reading the articles, I was shocked as I realized that the government controls how family structures, runs, and develops. If I were asked to advise the legislators on future government regulation on family, I would suggest them to rethink about the literate definition of how a family constitutes and ask them if it really fits the current society's changing norm. Today's society is very complex and the traditional "American" family is no longer the dominant structure. I would suggest them to legalized same sex marriage and allow gay and lesbian couple to adoption as they are able to form a "family" as the traditional family does. I believe that a "family" should not be limited and restricted to a certain people and culture; and it is ridiculous that government have the legal power to control and determine which group is not capable to adopt children. Basically, gay and lesbian couples have no difference when comparing with heterosexual couples in terms of parenthood as they are able to perform what mom and dad should do.


Also, look back to Solinger and Brigg's articles about adoption. Personally, I think that the government should watch the adoptions more closely because different kinds of adoption may cause some social problems. The government should have better enforcement regarding the open and close adoption. However, I think all adoption should be remain as close adoption. When the birthmothers give up their right of raising the children, they should not have the choice to have an open adoption because they have already given up their right to be "mothers". Even if they have the chance to trace back their child, it only causes confusions to the children's identity. The biological mother should have the right to be the adopted children's only mother. Thus I think the legislator should look at the right of birthmother and biological mother more profoundly.


However, I think "family" is a private issue and government should not step in too much as it would only prevent family to grow and change. "Family" may differ by different culture and tradition. Government interventions and regulations on family issue sometimes are too offensive as "family" should be an individual party to give family members a place to be in this society.

Week 6 Blog


The definition of "family" today is not the same definition as the definition of "family" of yesterday. It has evolved over time. Historically, a family consisted of a father (the head of the household), a mother (the primary caregiver) and the children.  Most families consisted of multiple children with the boys assuming a "provider" role and the girls assuming a "caregiver" role. Families also consisted of other members including grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and grandchildren. Culture and ethnicity played a key role in the definition of family. Members of "the family" took care of each other. Over time, however, the definition of the "family" has eroded. While some cultures still view the "family" as a mother, father and multiple children, the social trend is towards relaxing the definition. Unfortunately in some cases and in my opinion, fortunately in other cases, the definition of family in the eyes of the government has teetered more towards the conservative and politically careful definition of family: a father, a mother and children.

If given the opportunity to share my perspective on government regulation of families, I would present to legislators that there is a real need to preserve the definition of family as there has been a rapid erosion of the "family". However with this being said, I would continue by sharing with legislators that the family structure or family definition of today is indeed different from the family structure of yesterday. As noted in the article written by Ritzdorf, today's family may consist of the politically correct definition of a father (head of the household), a mother (the caregiver), and multiple children. However, given the social acceptance of divorce, adoption into single parent families, teenage pregnancies, "test tube babies", interracial marriages and gay/lesbian couples, today's family more likely will not follow the government's definition of "nuclear" family.

It is time that legislators face the need to make and form policies and regulations based on what is good and right for the people in terms of the health and welfare of the children of this country. In saying this, I would present to legislators that there continues to be a need to regulate and enforce health and welfare programs intended to provide for the youth of this country including programs such as Aid to Dependent Children, Food Stamps, Child Support payments, subsidized school lunch programs, etc.  These programs should continue to be provided to those who qualify for the program without regards to race, gender, and the "family" definition.  Likewise, government regulations to protect the innocence of our country's children, such as regulating adoptions and providing safe-haven policies should continue to be enforced. In contrast, however, I would present to legislators that regulations enacted by communities via zoning and urban planning by-laws have overstepped the boundaries and in a sense have forced segregation. As noted in Ritzdorf's article, communities where certain races are "not allowed" or where the family "dwellers" must meet certain requirements have resulted in discrimination of today's definition of family.  Yes, communities or subdivisions should maintain bylaws or covenants which protect the safety and welfare of their "neighborhood". However, restrictions of who can move into the neighborhood, i.e., no single parent families, no families of color, no interracial families, etc., should not be supported by the courts.

As noted earlier, the definition of the "nuclear family" is changing.  I would present that a "family" is not defined by a number. A "family" is defined by the members of the family unit - those who are dependent on the head of the household for their health and welfare. The head of the household may be a single parent or may be a female. The head of the household may be a teenager living on their own caring for their own child or caring for their siblings who have been orphaned by an absent parent. The family may consist of a husband and wife and their children from previous marriages now joined together as one family. The family may consist of a man and a woman and their aging parents, who no longer are able to care for themselves. The definition of a "nuclear family" in today's society has many meanings and because of this, makes it very difficult for the government to regulate. For this reason, I would suggest to legislators that the definition of the "nuclear family" take into account the "dependency relationship" when determining regulations for purposes of the health and welfare of the children of this country.

Blog 6

If I were asked to advise legislators on future government regulation of families, I would tell them to not define family base upon their gender, class, or race. Not all family operation in similar manner, and that each family encounter different situation. But what it seems to me is that the norm of a perfect family constructed with both father and mother, with two children (Ritzdorf). In today's society, there is a variety of family that does not have the norm. Family with two mothers or father, single mother or father, grandparents as guidance, adoption, foster care, and the list goes on. Government officials should realize that it is not right to regulate families just because they do not fit the family norm, and that even thought the family comes from different background, whether they are Black, White, Asian, or any other races, they too can not fit the norm.

The aspect of family composition and operation that I think the government ought to regulate would be the care a child receives such as violence because if they lived in such an environment that give them harm, they should be taken out of the environment and into a safer environment. Another one would be lack of shelter and food because if parents are unable to provide those needs to their children, the child itself either starve and die. But if government does not regulate children's need of a good environment from violence, food and shelter, then they are not taking responsibility to regulate laws to help children who really need the help they can get to be in a safer place.

Blog post #6

"Family definitions thus remain relevant because communities continue to adopt and enforce them", according to this the government works to enforce and uphold the social norm of families and what a real "family" house hold should look like. I personally would love to see legislators embrace the exact opposite and instead encourage various type families and improve their assistance. I would hope for legislators to regulate and improve on the assistance given to the non traditional families. These families could be single parent homes, families with grandparents or aunt/uncles or other family members as parents.  I think that families should be able to form any sort of family necessary to maintain a stable environment, and still receive any available assistance. So I would advise the legislation to develop a number of options and opportunities for different families to receive different assistance based on their separate needs. There should be different types of assistances to specifically fit different families. Whether the assistance is extra income, food, clothing, or extra assistance in schools, or for work, the ultimate goal should be to except these sorts of non traditional families into society, and assist them in gaining all the equal opportunities that the traditional families receive from society.

Blog 6

The main thing to be considered is that in all elements of government regulation, it is important to make sure all regulation is as unbiased and integrated as possible, i.e. all citizens should have equal rights.  Primarily, I believe that there should be laws to protect families, particularly laws against violence, sexual or other abuse, and regulation providing protection in times of need, extreme illness, death, etc. Also, there should be regulation that protects the freedom of families, particularly in how they are created.  This includes adoption rights as well as reproductive rights.


On that note, people should have the rights on whether or not/how they create a family.  For example, a woman may choose to prevent creating a family biologically via abortion.  The government should not interfere with this method of family composition.  Likewise, if a single parent or a homosexual couple decide to adopt a child, the government should not interfere simply because it wouldn't fall under the category of the "stereotypical American" family. 


I found that two of the readings particularly helped in shaping my opinion on such family matters.  For example, there is the comparison of what entails female reproductive rights in Solinger on 116.  Can there be a world where reproductive rights include both the right to terminate a pregnancy and the right to be a mother?  I was equally interested in the segment discussing the John Hancock ad that depicted a lesbian couple adopting a baby that was in Briggs. Why is there so much controversy about the sexual interests of the parents?  Shouldn't the focus be on how devoted they are to their child?  It is reasons like these that perhaps it is better that the government doesn't have the final say on what constitutes a family.          

Blog #6: Regulation of Family

The "regulation of family" could be interpreted in many different ways and each of them contributes to our collective and internalized family identity. Current regulation of family reinforces the social norms of marriage in various ways: from the age, gender, and sexual orientation of the American "nuclear" family, to regulating interactions between spouses and between parents and children. Thus, the ways in which family is regulated has a profound impact on the social construction of family and our sense of self-identity as it relates to family (and whether or not society "legitimizes" that identity).


I believe government does need to regulate family on some level. Domestic violence laws, for example, reinforce social norms most people in our society (regardless of class, race, religious, or political affiliation) agree are worth promoting. If I were asked to advise legislators on government regulations of family, I would suggest that only regulations that speak to widely agreed upon social norms be reinforced. Essentially, I believe in a country that values freedom of choice and a separation of religious ideologies from legislation, only regulations that protect people from physical and emotional harm should be instituted. Regulation on what legally (and thus "legitimately") constitutes family should be eliminated, such as limiting marriage to heterosexual relationships.

Blog #6

The government has control over many aspects of our lives; there are many institutions that we are all a part of. One thing that the government should not try to control heavily is the definition of a family, and who is able to take care of the family. If legislators asked me my opinion, I would change the policy restricting gay marriage, because they are like anyone else and should be entitled to the same legal benefits that heterosexuals do. As long as the family is a place of nurturing, caring, and safety, it should be regarded as a family for that reason alone.

As Ritzdorf says in her article, change needs to be brought to the government definition of family. The nuclear family that they have in their definition is ancient as cannot account for the diversity of our society today; and making race, class and gender a factor in who can create a family is just wrong. Homosexuals can create a family just as well as a heterosexual family can. When considering social workers and taking children away from families that are deemed not to be able to care for the children should not have anything to do with race or class. If there is a real problem in the house (like domestic violence) then social workers should be able to control it. Although, if the family has a low income (non-white are usually targeted), but can still provide for the family then it should be left alone. The main thing that I think the government should regulate is the health and safety of families; it is illegal, not to mention unethical, to ill-provide for your family.

Week 6 Blog

The nuclear two-parent family is no longer how the majority of American children are brought up.  According to Ritzdorf, fifty percent of American children live in a "nontraditional family that contained people other than the biological parents and their offspring."  Legislation should consider these lifestyles as families and give them the same rights as other families.  I would advise to take immediate action considering same-sex marriage and adoption.  Chauncy writes that most people oppose these things on a religious basis, which is in opposition to the separation of church and state.  Considering same-sex families as legal families would give people more benefits from the state.

However, in instances like the ones written about in Solinger's article, it is unclear how legislatively the rights of birthmothers should be handled.  Today in the United States, birthmothers can have open and closed adoptions, however there can be little enforcement giving the birthmothers no rights at all.  This would be a matter that would be tough to control legislatively unless adoption agencies became government run, so I believe the action of adoption should be run by individuals.

blog 6

                If I were asked to advise legislators on future government regulation of families I would tell them, in general, it's none of their business on most levels.  Ritzendorf, Chauncey, Solinger, and Briggs critique government regulation of what counts as a family and all of these authors raise important points that address critical issues regarding race, class and gender.   I think the government has no business whatsoever regulating the composition, operation, or definition of a family. 

                Government regulations of family are an unnecessary intrusion on private matters.  I would also stretch this to adoption.  While it is important to respect culture in other countries, in regards to regulating who is able to adopt because of whether a family fits the government definition is unnecessary.  The criteria for who can adopt should be flexible, and non-'traditional' families should be able to adopt as well.  There should only be assurances of whether those adopting can provide emotionally and have a safe place for the child(ren).  I say this because my mother is a social worker, who deals with placement of foster children (and potential adoption).  There are a ton of children that need adoptive homes and government regulation of what a family is decreases potential placement for these children.  I wish people were more interested in fostering children here, and adopting domestically.  But many are not because of negative connotations associated with fostering, and because most people who adopt internationally want a baby (whereas many children available domestically are older).

                The government should be able to have some power in terms of child abuse, neglect, endangerment and the likes, but other than that I don't think they should be involved with technical definitions of family.

blog 6

When creating laws that affect the formation and operation of families, governmental officials are not taking into account the various cultures that make up the U.S. population.  Marsha Ritzdorf supports this point when she says "At the heart of this historical policy debate about appropriate family life is the ethnocentric view that assumes the only acceptable norm is the nuclear family consisting of a husband, wife (who, in the best possible case, stays home), and one or more children" (pg 170). Not every family consists of this nuclear ideal, I know personally coming from a large Hispanic family, made up of single mothers, divorced parents, and remarried spouses.  There was even a point in my life where my family had to move into our grandparent's house because both my parents lost their jobs and we couldn't afford to live in our home anymore.

Ritzdorf talks about how these regulations only serve as a way to segregate traditional families from no traditional families, and white middle-class from poor African Americans. If I were to guide legislators in making future government regulations I would say that we need regulate neighborhoods in ways, other than regulating the family.  Does it matter how many people live in a home as long as the property is maintained? There are no noise complaints or domestic complaints? I would suggest that the government focuses on things like putting in place laws that prevent overcrowding of vehicles on one property, laws that keep up maintenance on properties, and laws that prevent people with extensive criminal backgrounds ( ex: child molestation and theft and robbery) from residing in certain areas without undergoing treatment.

I don't think government should be able to control any aspect of the family composition; the U.S. is too diverse to have a set of regulations and laws that can be applied to each family. Issues like the number of children you have, the number of people you share your home with, and whom you live with should all be left up to individual families.

Blog 6 Assignment

After reading Marsha Ritzendorf's article I would agree with her points of criticism.  If I were to advise legislators on future regulations of families, restrictive zoning ordinances would be changed.  I would change them to fit the needs of the changing patterns of people's lives.  I believe that people should have the freedom to share their home with the choosing of their choice.  It is their home, therefore, they should be able to do what they see fit with it as long as it doesn't affect others around them in a negative way and as long as it does not hurt the people living in the household. 

I would have to agree with Brigg's and Solinger's criticism of the adoption process.   I think the government ought to regulate adoption to a point.  For example, if it is a closed adoption I feel that the government has the right to make sure the person/people who gave up the child cannot reconnect with the child if they want to in the future.  However, the child should be able to contact them with no trouble if they wish to do so in the future.  Also, if it is an open adoption then the government should have little involvement with the matter.  I also think that there should be no discrimination towards homosexual couples that wish to adopt.  An adoption should be based off of if the person/family would be a good parent to the child, not on sexual preference of the people wishing to adopt.
I think the government should regulate how families raise children to a certain point.  For example if the child is in danger or is not getting the proper care that they should, the government should have the right to step into the situation.  I believe the government has the right to take the child away form their family if it is beneficiary to the child.  I personally don't think these situations are regulated enough and there needs to be changes to the system.  

Blog 6

From what I gathered, the government regulates how many related/unrelated people are allowed to live within a specific household, what types of people are allowed to get married, who is allowed to keep their children, and who receives these 'unwanted' children, and where specific groups of people are allowed to live. The fact that there still are this many regulations on what constitutes a family and a home, shocks me. I don't think the government can possibly regulate what constitutes a family. Similar to the days of slavery, where regardless of legality, slaves had marriages, children - family; regardless of what the government says, people claim families of all varieties today. The gay marriage debate is hot and heavy, and while I whole-heartedly believe in marriage equality, I would claim that people will create families of all sizes, colors and backgrounds, regardless of what the law tells them they are allowed.
             I think the most important regulator should be the safety and well-being of the persons in a family or home. As Ritzdorf says, "For most Americans, a family is a unit from which they draw their nurturance and sustenance", regardless of blood or marriage ties. So adoption as both a choice for the birthmother, and a choice for the adoptive parents, without American transnational political power-plays, should be better regulated - to the benefit of the child in question. The government's claim that marriage is only viable as one man and one woman is an absurdly close-minded attempt to regulate love, and should be lifted. Ultimately I think that the only way to effectively 'regulate' families is in regard to the health and welfare interests of the family at hand. The idea of the 'traditional nuclear family' should fall away as America's majority doesn't fit this narrow mold at all anymore.

Blog 6 Entry

           I think that the laws passed by government officials are passed in order for them to regulate the definition of family, when in fact they should not be able to. Chauncy constructs an overall framework of the history of marriage in her article and offers a definition of marriage that was brought forth by the Supreme Court after the Loving v Virginia case stating: "Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival...under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State" (p65). This would be something that I would bring to the legislators if I were asked to advise them on future government regulation of families. It encompasses many dynamics of the family that surpasses time and the popular societal thought processes due to the fact that it states freedoms granted by the Constitution. This can be transformed to cover all other aspects of the family, not just race, in which people are unable to exercise their own rights due to their gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic standing or religious views. I would inform legislators that we have an obligation to uphold the rights granted to us and everyone within the United States by the Constitution because without it, we wouldn't have a nation in the first place. Ritzendorf is another author that expresses the racial issues that African American families face, but shows evidence depicting the fact that there are zoning laws set to keep them in certain areas. This is because they are seen as being dysfunctional due to their "lack of morals and family values" (p121). These facts would be some other things that I would bring to the attention of the legislators of our nation in order to fix the societal views and regulatory laws that oppress what is seen as being the minorities throughout the nation; anything other than heterosexual, Caucasian, middle-class, and Christian practicing individuals.

            On the other hand, I think that the government should only be allowed to regulate some aspects of adoption proceedings, age of marriage, arranged marriages, and the human rights between individuals when looking at the composition and operation of families. Briggs discusses the problems that encompass illegal adoptions in which children are kidnapped from one country and are smuggled into others for material gains. This would be something that I would suggest the legislators to keep regulating because I think that when it is not a 'legit' adoption between all parties involved, people are stripped from their rights as parents, biological or not, as Solinger capitalizes on. Solinger points out that the notion of motherhood, in specific, is something that is socially, not biologically, constructed and practiced. The government has been able to control and define this term by regulating who can and cannot become parents based off of their standings within the 'normal' society, but some regulation is needed for the safety and well-being of the child involved. Other aspects that I think government should regulate are the ages that people can marry and arranged marriages because in most cases the people involved have no choice in the matter. Lastly, I think that the government has an obligation to enforce laws that make sure people are not practicing and performing actions that are morally and ethically wrong (child/sexual/spousal abuse and/or neglect) that put all individuals involved within the family system in direct harm internally and externally.

            Overall, I think that the things that should be left to the individuals are who they want to start a family with and who they consider to be family. It is the right and an evolutionary aspect of all human beings that they choose companions based off of their innate feelings and intuitions. This is an unexplainable function that people try to regulate, but is something that cannot by physically taken from one person to the next because it is within the individual. This innate characteristic should be celebrated, not controlled by the government when people use it to define what they believe to be their family.


Blog 6 Assignment

If I were asked to advise government officials about future regulation of families, I would start by eliminating any discrimination towards a family because of race, gender, class or marital status.  With that being said, regulation should not be enacted because parents are a minority, low class/low income, or homosexual as well as transgender.  It does not matter whether a child has one parent, gay parents, poor parents, or black parents; what matters is a child should have a proper home, food, shelter, and clothing as well as parents who are responsible and loving.  

However, I do believe regulation should be used in matters of child neglect, child abuse, and improper living conditions.  If a child does not have a safe home that is clean and healthy for that individual the government should take necessary action.  The government should have some control over family operation but NOT family composition.  The government cannot say one set of parents are better or worse because of their composition.  There are many loving homosexuals, minorities, and low-income workers that would make perfectly suitable and responsible parents.

Many articles argued against discriminating families because of race, class or gender, which I completely agree with.  Ritzdorf believes that a child should not be taken away from his/her parents because of race or social status.  I completely agree with this argument.  As long as a child has responsible parents and necessary living conditions the government should not be able to intervene.  Also the Briggs article on adoption mentioned parents should not be denied the right to adopt a child based on race or gender.  I agree with Briggs point as well, who are we as outsiders able to say only heterosexual couples make good parents or only white people make good parents? That is absolutely ludicrous, not to mention, morally wrong.  

Blog Post #6

If legislators asked my advice concerning government regulation of the home I would say several things. Firstly I would ask that they immediately begin dismantling the regulations against homosexual marriage. Marriage has special economic and legal rights that are mandated by the government, that should be available to all. I would ask that legislators not discriminate against color, gender or sexuality when rewriting marriage laws, and make it available to all who want it and can consent to it.


I would also ask that zoning laws be dismantled, which seemingly, according to Ritzdorf, exist only to discriminate against anyone not white, middle class and heterosexual. I would ask that the definition of "family" be redefined in government regulation. Clearly, many types of families exist that are not white and heterosexual, and zoning regulations retard racial and social integration and promote an unhealthy and segregist view of the American neighborhood that people internalize as normative. I understand that for economic reasons, there has to be a government definition of what a "family" is. The new definition of "family" could be any group of people that are registered into the same family. Registering into a family is a good way to equalize what a family is, because it does not look at numbers, gender, race or social class. It adheres to what individuals describe as family; therefore the new definition of family is governmentally anyone in the same register, but publically differs from person to person.


There are, of course, problems with the idea of registering into a family. There would need to be laws regarding consent and age. There would be the need to insure that the government does not use registering as a way to prohibit entrance into a family, and there would be a great need to see that registering is not abused by the government. However, if done correctly, registering could change the public view of what a family is. With so many kinds of family on display and accepted by the government, we might be a few steps closer to dismantling racial, classist and sexist definitions of what a family is and how one should run.

Blog Week 6

I believe that the definition of "family" should not be constructed based on the norm of a white nuclear two-parent family. The government has no right regulating an issue such as family because I believe that it is private. I also do not believe that they should try to squeeze people that define themselves as families into this perceived "norm" and everyone else that does not fit into it is not what they consider a family. If I were given the opportunity to advise the government on future regulation of families, I would first address the issue about teen parents. The government has a preconceived notion, along with the majority of society, that a teen parent is not fit to raise children by themselves. I do not believe that someone's socioeconomic standing and age defines if they are equipped to raising a family. I believe that a family is based on love, support, and development. If someone who defines themselves as a family is able to provide what I just listed, I do not think that the government should intervene and declare teen parents as "unfit". A girl I went to high school with had two children before the age of 18 and was able to provide for her children, but received a lot of criticism from outside sources saying that she was unable to raise her children because she was too young to know "how to be a mother." I do not think that this is right. I would also address the topic of gay marriage. Chauncey points out that "four fundamental changes in marriage since the nineteenth century have made the right to marry seem both more imaginable and more urgent to lesbians and gay men. In its own time each of these changes seemed as momentous as the prospect of same-sex marriage does today." I believe that he has a valid point. Since marriage laws and the definition have evolved over time, the next logical step would be to include same-sex marriages into the agenda throughout the United States. I think that if two people love each other, they have the right to get married and to bring children into the equation without interference of the government. Someone's sexual orientation should not determine whether or not they fit into the category of "family". It does not determine if they could love their children or each other better or worse compared to the "normal family".

I agree with Ritzdorf as well when she says that we need to redefine or concept of family and make in more diverse in order to move into a more "egalitarian future and away from the continuing and escalating racial tensions in our communities." Only when we start to view things in our society such as family as not specific to one race, class, or gender, will we be able to move into a society where everyone is equal. Individuals should be able to construct a family regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, class, creed...without government regulation.

Government Involvement in Family Life

Given the various arguments by Chauncey about gay marriage, Solinger about birthparents, Briggs about adoption, and Ritzendorf about zoning and family definition, each instance argues for the removal of the government in regulating families. I strongly believe that government's definitions for families are outdated and discriminatory, especially in regards to Chauncey and Ritzendorf's arguments. Their arguments also complement each other, as Chauncey's gay couples are not a family given any of the legal rights of a married couple, and would neither be considered a family that can life together in many states, researched by Ritzendorf. Two loving parents with children (however many children they wish to have or adopt) are a family, regardless of marriage or the nature of the parents lives. The government has no right forcing their notions of the nuclear or traditional family upon people. At my current household, my roommates and I have "family" dinners, because we have become a family for ourselves. This is how we define ourselves and thinking of being told that I am wrong about whom I am is infuriating.

            The discussions of birthparents and adoption are a little more complicated, but the definition of family is the choice of the people. If women like Lee Campbell identify as mothers, regardless of if they raise children, no one can take away that feeling from them. It can be compared to mothers who lose children at childbirth or early on due to illnesses; would these women be denied their status as mothers as well? I doubt it. Adoption is difficult as well, which I think should be regulated by the state, which Brigg's argues for more regulation. The U.S. government's loose laws around international adoption allow for many of the money making schemes that Briggs describes in Guatemala.

The welfare of children and the family are important; one issue that none of the authors discussed is abuse. When it comes to child abuse or spousal abuse, it is often a situation where the government or the state needs to help or intervene. Often times the level of abuse legitimizes the removal of children from homes, or restraining orders to the abusive father or mother. Without intervention of the state, physical and psychological damage to the children and family will continue as the abuse continues. Related to abuse is the necessity of the government to regulate who is allowed to adopt children, which we discussed in class on Thursday with the history of adoption and adoption laws. Placing children into an unsafe or unfit family will not help anyone and can only do harm. The definitions of unsafe or unfit include resources of the family to add another child and any history of abuse of any kind, whether physical or mental. It is obvious that the government is needed in some familial matters, but more often than not it is better if the government does not force its own morals upon other people.

Blog 6 Assignment


I think that if I were asked to advise legislatures on future government regulation of families I would say that we need to develop a broader definition of what a normal family is rather than basing the definition of a family off of outdated and unrealistic vision of a traditional nuclear family.  I agree with what Ritzdorf said near the end of her article, "Sex, Lies, and Urban Life", "For most Americans, a family is a unit from which they draw their nurturance and sustenance.  It is not a particular form, nor is it a simple, symbolic, image.  The development of planning policies that build upon the strengths of plurality of family forms will be necessary as we continue to undergo demographic and economic changes that affect out racial/ethnic composition, the structure of the labor market, and changing gender roles."  The system that we have for defining what a family is just doesn't cut it and is something that needs to not only be addressed, but changed. 


In terms of what aspects of family composition and operation the government ought to regulate, to be honest, I do not think that the government should be able to regulate any aspect of family composition or operation as long as the families involved abide by safety, health, and fire code standards.  Why is the government the sole determiner of what is to be considered a family and what isn't?  We live in a very diverse world with many different types of people and families and the idea that there is one standard by which all families are based off of is pretty unrealistic. 

I think that the government should not have any say on who one has living in their house, as long as the parties involved are not acting illegally.  We pay for our houses, our land, and pay to maintain of both of these and the idea that the government can tell us we are not allowed to have a certain amount of people live with us seems rather unfair and intrusive.  This issue is also heavily race and class based because these are the people who often depend on their families and living with multiple people as their only means of survival.  The government is acting irresponsible and unsympathetic to its citizens when they create zoning plans and patterns based off unrealistic family structures that rarely exist in this time and age.


Blog #6

If I were to advise legislators about regulations on families, the first thing I would address is getting rid of any regulations that are imposed for gay and lesbian couples that are trying to adopt and to prohibit the formation of such regulations in the future. The formation of a family is a personal and private issue, and government should only be allowed to intervene when extreme circumstances arise.  Gay and lesbian couples are no more unfit to raise children than straight couples.  By having regulations in place that make it hard for gay couples to adopt children puts the government in a position to make moral judgments about citizen's lifestyles. The government should have no jurisdiction when it comes to deciding who gets to have children and who does not.  This being said, the government also should make legislation making it illegal for adoption agencies to discriminate when it comes to who they let adopt.  Prohibiting gay couples from adopting children should be a federal offense as it infringes upon the civil rights of citizens.


I would also advise legislators against allowing social workers to be able to separate children from their parents on the grounds of economics and single parenthood. Children should never be taken away from their parents because their income isn't considered high enough to raise a child. Unfortunately, this is a problem especially in the black community, a fact I was not as aware of until reading Ritzdorf's article. As Ritzdorf says in her article, "no matter how 'middle class' black families became, in both economic and social terms, they were closed out of the opportunities available to other (white) Americans." Black single mothers, or single mothers of any race, should not have their children taken away and put into foster homes or have their parenting skills questioned because of their paychecks or race. 

Week 6 Blog Assignment

This week, we conclude our unit on families. Marsha Ritzendorf critiques government regulation of what counts as a family, as do  Chauncey, Solinger, and Briggs. All of these  authors are critical of how government definition and regulation of family impact people who do not fit the perceived norm of a white nuclear two-parent family, and the authors tie these critiques to broader discourses and ideologies of race, class, and gender.

In light of this range of criticisms of governmental intervention in the formation and operation of families, what would you say to legislators if you were asked to advise them on future government regulation of families? What aspects of family composition and operation do you think that the government ought to regulate? What should be left to individuals, outside the realm of government regulation? Use the readings listed above as starting points for your advice, either agreeing or disagreeing with the authors' specific points of criticism, but feel free to address other areas of government regulation as well.

Suggested length: 200 words(+)