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Unformatted text preview: icans as a whole (Collins 1989, pg 2). The underlying assumption is that 3
the attitudes and ideals of white middle class Americans are the driving factors behind their
socioeconomic successes, and the fact that African Americans lack these particular
characteristics condemns them to poverty and familial dysfunction. According to Moyers and
Moynihan, the deterioration of African American values is the primary cause of such phenomena
as illegitimacy and the prevalence of mostly impoverished single-parent families. Maxine Baca
Zinn, in her article "Family, Race, and Poverty in the Eighties" best describes the argument
presented by such cultural theorists as "culture as villain", "family as villain", and "welfare as
villain", the meanings of which will become apparent as we analyze this theory as presented by
Moyers and Moynihan.
At the root of this supposed deterioration of values is the seemingly "backward" gender
roles that typify African American families, also known as "culture as villain". The assertions of
deviance lie on the assumption that traditional gender roles and the nuclear family structure that
prevail in the U...
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This note was uploaded on 12/17/2012 for the course ETHC 447 taught by Professor Crozat during the Spring '12 term at DeVry Addison.
- Spring '12