African American Families
As with other racial-ethnic groups. there is no such thing as the African Ameraen family (McAdoo, )990).' Although many African Americans live in nuclear families. a higher proportion of African Americans than whites live in extended family households (Hofferth, 1984). The extended family often provides emotional and financial support not otherwise available. When an emergency arises. three or more generations may work together to support and care for one another (Taylor. Chatters. and Mays. 1988). interdenominational care and concern by family members contribute to the well-being of adults and children alike. as Dawn March acknowledges.
They have been there more so during my adult years than a lot of other families that 1 know about My mother kept all of my children until they were old enough to go to day care. And she not only kept them. shed give them a bath for me during the daytime and feed them before I got home from work. Very. very supportive people. So. I really would say I owe them for that. (qtd. in Higginbotham and Weber. 1995: 141) As in March's case. mutually beneficial relationships often exist between older African American women and their grandchildren. nieces. and nephews. However.
among middle- and upper-middle-class African American families. nuclear family patterns are more prevalent than extended family ties. In these nuclear families. visits with relatives outside the immediate family are limited to special occasions such as births. weddings. and funerals even when family members live close to one another (WiUie. 1991