Keeping with the legacy of American history, the African American family is a topic of controversy and concern. While other aspects of the family are studied, it could be argued that the area of African American motherhood receives the most attention. Unequivocally, African American mothers are depicted as matriarchs, crack-mothers, and welfare queens. In addition, Black mothers are often portrayed as lazy, irresponsible, destructive, and even worthless. These stereotypical images of African American mothers are important because they have powerful implications for African American moms, and for their families at large.
Myths influence policy-makers, as well as how these mothers are viewed and treated by society. Although these
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The ideas presented in his report helped foster the creation of stereotypes about black women, namely, the idea that black women should be blamed for black poverty. Moynihan posited that the matriarch was detrimental to the black family, especially in the case of single motherhood. He maintained the idea that “the absence of a father is destructive to children…it means that children will lack the economic resources, role model, discipline, structure” (Biblarz & Raftery 321). In addition to characterizing these women as domineering and detached, Moynihan also stated that this phenomenon of matriarchy strengthened itself over generations.
It could be said that Moynihan labeled this cycle as a “pathology of matriarchy” that strongly contributed to his idea of the “tangle of pathology” that kept African Americans from achieving equality and a higher place in society. He stated that “a national effort towards the problem of Negro Americans must be directed towards the question of family structure. The object should be to strengthen the Negro family” (Moynihan 36). It could be inferred from the Moynihan Report that one way of improving the Black family would be to punish women for being strong and controlling and ensure that women are weak and subservient to men.
In “‘Black Matriarchy’ Reconsidered: Evidence From Secondary