Sunday, May 14, 2006

Black women, the best mothers? Since we honor mothers today (God bless 'em), I wanted to see what kinds of moms are the best. The GSS asks about knowing where your children are on the weekends. I looked at several factors (e.g., employment, income, education, marital status) and nothing seemed to make much of a difference. The one thing that surprised me was race:

Percent of mothers knowing where kid is on weekend at least most of the time

1. Blacks 87.5%
2. Whites 86.6
3. Hispanics 77.3

I've read other studies indicating that blacks supervise their children less than other groups. This made me curious about what the fathers said:

1. Whites 82.7%
2. Blacks 81.8
3. Hispanics 50.0

Now, it is common knowledge that a majority of black kids do not live with their fathers, so how can 82% of these dads know where the kids are all the time? These kinds of answers make me suspect that the validity of self-report studies is lower for blacks than for whites, perhaps because many blacks see a study as interrogation by the white world, and so there is a motivation to present a more positive face to the interviewer. For example, I'm familiar with a well-known study done by leading criminologists that asked adolescent males if they had ever been hauled in by the cops, and the answers were then compared with police reports. It was found that, while white boys were honest, black boys were giving false answers, and the authors concluded that delinquency responses from black male teens are invalid.

The white fathers' numbers are high too (I'm skeptical that fathers--black or white-know where their kids are better than Hispanic mothers) so it looks like there is a different standard being used here. The fathers probably feel they know where their kids are if they can tell you which town they are in.

1 comment:

Unlisted said...

///Now, it is common knowledge that a majority of black kids do not live with their fathers, so how can 82% of these dads know where the kids are all the time?//


Maybe they understood the question as being where their kids are NOT (i.e. with them)