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Modern Family Progressivism, Part Two: Reply to Kevin Drum

Summary:
This is the second part in a series of posts. You can read the first post here. Writing in the New York Times, family sociologist Christina Cross notes that “America has a long and troubled history of viewing racial inequality primarily through the lens of family structure.” She cites her own and others’ research in ...

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This is the second part in a series of posts. You can read the first post here.

Writing in the New York Times, family sociologist Christina Cross notes that “America has a long and troubled history of viewing racial inequality primarily through the lens of family structure.” She cites her own and others’ research in concluding that “what deserves policy attention is not black families’ deviation from the two-parent family model but rather structural barriers such as housing segregation and employment discrimination that produce and maintain racialized inequalities in family life.”

In a Mother Jones commentary posted shortly after Cross’ piece was published, Kevin Drum goes on the attack by 1) asserting that single-parent families are a “big deal” (by which he means a big problem); 2) accusing Cross of “special pleading” and “desperately try[ing] to make a case that really can’t be made;” and, 3) implying that “we liberals” are hypocrites who are afraid to “say anything that even remotely sounds like a criticism of black family lives.” 

This is quite the tirade for a senior blogger at a liberal publication to so quickly throw down in response to an op-ed by an up-and-coming scholar. (Cross is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University and starting as an Assistant Professor there next year.) So one might assume Drum is well-informed about the state of research on family structure, takes care to cite evidence, and is not just echoing social-conservative talking points and Twitter posts

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