Race, Ethnicity, and Culture in Studies of Families in Context

Introduction to the Special Section



Family scholars have developed a greater sensitivity to the relative neglect of families of color in research. However, there are a number of limitations in the research on families of color; specifically, race and ethnicity are often confounded with socioeconomic indicators and community of residence. This makes it difficult to identify the true effects of ethnicity and culture. In addition, race and ethnicity may interact with chronic poverty in such a way as to further interfere with and reduce life opportunities. Here we discuss some of the theoretical and conceptual issues pertaining to race, ethnicity, and culture as they affect family functioning and children's development. In addition, we introduce a collection of papers that address family functioning and children's development among families who are diverse ethnically, racially, socioeconomically, and by geographical location and community. The issues posed in this paper and in the Special Section challenge the field to reconsider how we study families and child development from culturally grounded perspectives.