The role of family

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Regarding the July 21 Forum article "The Road Ahead on Race," the authors discuss many areas in which there are gaps between whites and blacks. They ask the question, "Where to begin the conversation [on racial disparities]?"

I believe that a good starting point is a discussion of the role of the family. I contend that racial disparities in family functioning lie at the heart of racial disparities of all types. (Note that what is said below applies to all families regardless of race, and to all types of families including those headed by one or both parents, or by a relative such as a grandparent or guardian.)

Ideally, in the family setting values and behaviors are instilled in young family members. These values and behaviors should include a heavy emphasis on education; respect for teachers, elders and law enforcement officers; fact-based knowledge about drugs and alcohol, sex, gambling, gangs and guns; and integration of the family and its members within the larger community. It is hoped that these exemplary values and behaviors will be carried on through adulthood.

Given what is said above, examination of disparities among races can and logically should begin with the family.




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