Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

We don't give birth to thugs; we give birth to children: The Emotional Journeys of African-American Mothers Raising Sons under American Racism
by Brown-Manning, Robyn, Ph.D., City University of New York, 2013, 241; 3561574
Abstract (Summary)

The emotions of African-American mothers of sons are an understudied area in social work research. Given the disproportionate representation of Black male youth on social service caseloads, a more in-depth understanding of their mothers' experiences while raising them is very important. Using group storytelling formats, this qualitative study examines the emotional content of a small cohort of African-American mothers in New York City and Westchester County, New York, with sons ranging in age from infancy through 30.

Viewed through the theoretical frames of Africana womanism and nonfinite loss, the study finds that African-American mothers of sons are emotionally fatigued. They fear for their sons' safety in the presence of police. They worry about a variety of factors that affect their sons' well-being. The mothers feel guilty about choices they have made in life, particularly regarding husbands. They often feel abandoned, and long for stronger connections with other African-American mothers of sons. Throughout everything, they love their sons and are very proud of them.

Practice implications include reframing challenging emotional expressions and behaviors as indicators of emotional fatigue; forming alliances with African-American mothers of sons to address oppressive practices in law enforcement and schools; and co-creating culturally grounded support groups with African-American mothers of sons.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tolliver, Willie
Commitee: Burghardt, Stephen, Hadden, Bernadette, Moore, Penelope J.
School: City University of New York
Department: Social Welfare
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 74/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Social work, Individual & family studies
Keywords: African-American women, Emotional journeys, Mothers, Racism, Sons
Publication Number: 3561574
ISBN: 978-1-303-08773-8
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