The absence of African American fathers in the home is seen as a primary factor of the insidious deterioration of African American families. These missing men are thought to be at the root of family disorganization and dysfunction. This ideology is often adopted without taking into account the rampant inequity, racial discrimination and legal difficulties that often create insurmountable barriers to marriage and fatherhood. Policy intended to promote marriage often suggests that the reason so many African American men and women do not marry is due to personal choice, rather than poverty, unemployment or other economic or social barriers that inhibit marriage. It is the purpose of this paper to explore some of these barriers and their impact upon marriage, parenthood and family stability as well as to review some of the current research, marriage education initiatives and social policy designed to address the problem. (Author abstract)
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Barriers to Marriage and Parenthood for African American Men and Women.