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A comparative analysis of Afro-American/Maori families: the subtext of minority status.

Authors
  • Staples, R
Type
Published Article
Journal
The ABNF journal : official journal of the Association of Black Nursing Faculty in Higher Education, Inc
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1993
Volume
4
Issue
1
Pages
5–9
Identifiers
PMID: 8329737
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

This article compares Afro-American families in the United States to Maori families in New Zealand with statistical data collected by the governmental agencies of these respective countries. The Maoris are indigenous to New Zealand, forced into a coexistence with British colonialists; Afro-Americans were forcibly transplanted from their African homeland to work as slaves for the White settlers. Both groups coexist with European colonialists while suffering a devalued status based on skin color in their respective countries. Using the participant-observer technique and census data, the author discovers striking parallels between the demographic, social and familial situation of Afro-Americans and Maoris despite a separation by thousands of miles as well as historical and cultural dissimilarities. Among their similarities are higher rates of unemployment, imprisonment vis-a-vis the Anglo-Saxon population and lower levels of education and income. In both cases, the family system is assigned the major responsibility for low levels of achievement. The author concludes that it is the imposition of Eurocentric values, accompanied by structural inequalities, which make the family systems of the two groups appear to be dysfunctional. Their unequal status reflects structural conditions, not the family units. It is only by the recognition of external forces as the basic cause of the problematic status of Afro-Americans and Maoris that a resolution of the problems caused by European invasion and cultural dominance can be resolved.

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