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Mothering While Black:

Boundaries and Burdens of Middle-Class Parenthood

University of California Press 


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Mothering While Black examines how the interplay of racial identity, class, and gender shapes the cultural expectations, beliefs, and decisions of African American middle-class mothers regarding work, family, and parenting.

Using data from in-depth interviews with African American middle-class mothers, I demonstrate how race, class, and gender complicate the parenting concerns and strategies; the kinds of identities African American middle and upper-middle-class mother work to foster in their children; and existing frameworks for understanding the cultural pushes and pulls that influence mothers’ work and family decision-making. 

This research challenges the conflict paradigm that dominates scholarship on work and family- a paradigm that asserts that working outside of the home conflicts with being a mother. The findings from the research expand on, and revise, sociological theories of how African American middle-class mothers approach parenting while managing distinct raced and gendered challenges located within the broader society. 

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University of California Press

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