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Unformatted text preview: 1-28-2008The Black Family and US Social Policy: Moynihans Unintended Legacy?Dean E. RobinsonUniversity of Massachusetts at AmherstMoynihan: The gap between the Negro and other groups in American society is widening. The fundamental problem, in which this is most clearly the case, is that of family structure. The evidenceis that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling. (Rainwater and Yancey 43).For Moynihan, crisis or deterioration of the black family was evident from the relatively high rate of marriage dissolution, illegitimacy, and the proportion of families headed by womenroughly 25% when Moynihan wrote the report.Black families increasingly dependent on public assistanceMoynihan worried that slavery, urbanization, and high rates of black male unemployment transformed the black familyor, more precisely, the lower-income black familyinto a matriarchy. This matriarchy created a tangle of pathology that propelled the cycle of poverty and deprivation among blacks in the United StatesWhile pointing to jobs, housing, and health care as pressing concerns (Johnson) also suggested that the breakdown of the Negro family structure was a key obstacle with...
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