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Abstract

Excerpt from the full-text article:

Black people, like other people, grow up in families. This simple observation is a suprise to people who are accustomed to associate the experiences of Black people with slavery, crime, delinquency, civil disorders. The Black historian, Benjamin Quarles (1967) has observed that white America tends to have a distorted perspective on Black life, and the fact of Blacks growing up in a family is a fresh approach to the understanding of socio-cultural aspects of growing up Black (cf. Billingsley, 1968).

The family is society's primary context for meeting a child's biological needs, directing his development into an integrated person living in a society, and transmitting to him its cultures (Lidz, 1974). It is also the setting in which a child's basic trust, autonomy, initiative and sense of industry toward life (cf. Erikson, 1959) are developed. The interaction between societal needs and individual wants (cf. Parsons and Bales, 1955; Winch, 1971) or between the demands of "super ego" and "id" defines the family as a mediational setting even though its structure is presently in transition (cf. Skolnick and Skolnick, 1971). Any attempt at studies of child development as an autonomous process, independent of the family, distorts as much as it simplifies the understanding of the growth process.

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