Panel Paper: Deciphering Policy Through Rose-Colored Lenses: “Listen up” to the Voices of African American Parents

Friday, November 9, 2012 : 8:40 AM
Adams (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

David Pate, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

“Research occurs in the context of power relationships, both between the researcher and the research subjects and society at large.”  (Stanfield and Dennis, 1993)

Conducting qualitative interviews with African American men and women on the topics of child support and incarceration provides a unique opportunity to understand the intersectionality of race, class, and gender.  Both of these institutions play a significant impact on the daily lives of poor men and women in the African American community.  In fact, these institutions contribute to the construction of traditional masculine (i.e financial contributors) and feminine (i.e caregivers) roles.

This paper will be examining nineteen interviews of African American men and women whom were part of a study that examined the effects of a policy change in Milwaukee County to hold incarcerated payers’ child support orders in abeyance in 2010. The child support orders were not active during the incarcerated period of his sentencing and up to six months post incarceration. The holding of the order in abeyance was contingent on the participation and agreement of the custodial parent (mother). The presentation will specifically provide analysis of the findings utilizing the tenets of critical race theory.