Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Roberta L. Coles
Over the past century, racial/ethnic minorities have grown as a proportion of the U.S. population. More attention has been given to their family experiences, and the lenses through which their families are viewed have been modified as scholars have recognized that U.S. family life is not and never has been monolithic or stagnant. The family is frequently a site of cultural and political controversy because it is often viewed as the guardian of societal values or the womb in which each generation is created and molded. A society's sustain-ability is assumed to be dependent on the quality of its families. Consequently, governments generate incentives and disincentives, sometimes quite severe, privileging or disallowing certain family practices. Past policies have prohibited interracial marriage and used sterilization to prevent reproduction by poor or disabled people. Today, some states deprive women of public assistance if they have additional children, and other states constrict the ...