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Monday, June 2, 2008

Another Useless Study: Black Girls Oppressed By Their Mothers???

Okay, I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but there is yet another study out about Black girls. Apparently Black and Hispanic girls are more likely to defer to their mothers than their White counterparts:

“Within African-American and Latino families, children follow a cultural tradition that places a high value on respecting, obeying and learning from elders, and in our study they did indeed show more respect for parental authority,” said Julia Graber, a UF psychology professor. DIVERSE HISPANIC
FYI to researchers... it's called spanking! Or "my childhood oppression" as I like to refer to it these days. I remember being in the supermarket and watching little White kids throw temper tantrums and all manner of other behavior waiting on their Mamas to give them "THE LOOK" that meant they were going o get it when they got home, but it never happened.

The girls’ respect for authority was observed through videotaped interactions with their mothers. Daughters were scored on their listening behaviors when their mothers were speaking: attending to them, acknowledging their mothers' comments and not interrupting. They also were evaluated for defiant behaviors, such as disobeying their mothers' requests, being unwilling to cooperate and ignoring their mothers.

When African-American and Latina girls do act up, said Graber, their mothers consider the arguments to be more intense than those reported by white mothers who clash with their daughters. DIVERSE HISPANIC

I really wish some of these studies would actually look at history when they come up with these findings. The see trends based on what they see today, but never go backwards to figure out how the trend got started. So we get studies that are relatively useless because the researchers lack any historical context.
Hispanic and Black mothers, who value strong family connections, family loyalty and extended family/social support networks, seemed to be much more upset if daughters fell short of cultural, good girl expectations. DIVERSE HISPANIC
I think one of the reasons White girls might not defer to their mothers as much or their mothers might not get as upset with them arguing or disagreeing with them probably goes back to the fact that the consequences for a Black child not following expected social norms are far more severe that those of a White child. If a Black child cuts up at school, the stats indicate they are far more likely to be suspended. We've all sent he cases of little 8 year old Black girls handcuffed and taken to jail. We also act as if Jim Crow was unraveled 300 years ago instead of 40 years ago. So it wasn't that long ago that Black people who violated the unspoken rules of the the south would face some pretty harsh consequences.

Another reason they might defer to their mothers is because stats say 70% of them are being raised fatherless. When you are raising a child by yourself, you don't necessarily have the flexibility You are balancing on fence post, if one thing goes out of whack, the whole system collapses. Unfortunately, this more intense battle of wills eventually leads to "at risk" behavior in the teen years.

But this study doesn't tell me anything I didn't already know. Just go to any shopping mall or grocery store and do your own study. I am trying to remember if I have ever seen a Black child screaming and yelling or talking back in the grocery store... Have any of y'all?

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