The Impact of Racism on African American Families: Literature as Social Science

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In spite of the existence of statistics and numerical data on various aspects of African American life, including housing, earnings, assets, unemployment, household violence, teen pregnancy and encounters with the criminal justice system, social science literature on how racism affects the everyday interactions of African American families is limited. How does racism come home to and affect African American families? If a father in an African American family is denied employment on the basis of his race or a wife is demeaned at work by racist slurs, how is their family life affected? Given the lack of social science literature responding to these questions, this volume turns to an alternative source in order to address them: literature. Engaging with novels written by African American authors, it explores their rich depictions of African American family life, showing how these can contribute to our sociological knowledge and making the case for the novel as an object and source of social research. As such, it will appeal to scholars and students of the sociology of the family, race and ethnicity, cultural studies and literature.