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Abstracts from Volume 27, Number 1
(March, 2000)

The Changing American Mosaic: An Introduction
Wilma Peebles-Wilkins
This article, in addition to introducing the special journal issue on the changing American mosaic, provides a synthesis of issues associated with changing demographic trends as the number of people of color increase between 2000­2050.Welfare reform, structural inequality, and the convergence of race, class and gender issues are discussed in a civil rights context. A brief summary of the other journal articles by Glen Loury; Stanley Eitzen and Maxine Baca Zinn; Ruth Sidel; Mary Krist, Douglas Gurak, Likwang Chen; Doris Wilkinson and Margaret Gibelman is also provided.

Twenty-Five Years of Black America: Two Steps Forward and One Step Back?
Glenn C. Loury
The nature of social and economic inequality as it exists now between Blacks and Whites in the United States is explored in this paper. Summary statistics on education, earnings, employment, family structure, incarceration and life expectancy are presented by age, sex and race. It is suggested that, while progress has been made in narrowing the racial gap in social standing, there remains a significant disparity that warrants continuing concern.

The Missing Safety Net and Families: A Progressive Critique of the New Welfare Legislation
D. Stanley Eitzen and Maxine Baca Zinn
This is an overview essay on the 1996 welfare legislation and its consequences. The paper is divided into five parts: (1) The basic elements of the legislation; (2) The conservative assumptions undergirding this legislation and the progressive responses to them; (3) The consequences of the legislation for individuals and families; (4) The missing elements in the new welfare legislation; and (5) The progressive solution to welfare.

The Enemy Within: The Demonization of Poor Women
Ruth Sidel
The denigration and demonization of poor women was central to the effort to repeal Aid to Families with Dependent Children by the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. The utilization of negative stereotypes involving race, class and gender effectively marginalized impoverished women and their children, who were blamed for virtually all of the social problems of the United States during the 1990s. Despite the massive concentration of wealth and income in the hands of the wealthiest Americans and the ever-widening gap between rich and poor, the United States continues to ignore the need for fundamental economic and social reform.

Elderly Immigrants: Their Composition and Living Arrangements
Mary M. Kritz, Douglas T. Gurak, and Likwang Chen
This paper describes how the composition of elderly immigrants is changing and how elderly immigrants differ from natives in terms of living arrangement and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. The determinants of living alone are investigated for 11 ethnic origin categories and natives. The analysis utilizes data from two samples of the 1990 U.S. Census: the PUMS-A 5% sample and an independent 3% sample of households containing at least one member 60 or more years of age. Between 1970 and 1990 immigrants from Asia and Latin America moved from forming a minor component of the elderly to being a significant and rapidly growing part of the elderly population which is also expanding rapidly. Elderly immigrants from developing countries have distinctly different living arrangement profile from natives and from other immigrant elderly. They are significantly more likely to be living with children as well as with others, and distinctly less likely to be living alone or with spouse only. However, there is no single pattern for all immigrants and even within the broad categories of developing and developed origin groups there is considerable heterogeneity of living arrangements. The most important source of differences in the odds of elderly living alone is the degree of integration, indexed by English language frequency, duration of U.S. residence, and citizenship status. Economic resources also significantly influence the odds that elderly from developing countries live alone. Demographic and physical limitation factors, while important in influencing type of living arrangement in general, do not contribute significantly to immigrant group differentials in living arrangements.

Rethinking the Concept of "Minority": A Task for Social Scientists and Practitioners
Doris WIlkinson
Although sociologists have articulated the components and scope of the "minority" concept, many of the characteristics are no longer germane. Originally those placed in the category were viewed as subordinate and as possessing cultural or physical qualities not approved or preferred by the larger population. There has been no systematic questioning of ingrained seductive words and value-based constructions like "minority". This brief critique offers an evaluation of the "minority" conception that is so pervasive in the social and behavioral sciences, the print and broadcast media, politics, and the entire language system.

Who Cares about Racial Inequality?
Glenn C. Loury
The issue of Affirmative Action is discussed, identifying some difficulties with the way that this policy has been pursued in the past: Racial preferences can be a poorly targeted method of closing the gap in social status between Blacks and Whites, and can have negative unintended consequences for incentives and for the reputations of its beneficiaries. Nevertheless, it is argued that some form of affirmative action continues to be needed. The concept of "developmental affirmative action" is introduced. This form of racially targeted policy focuses primarily on the enhancement of competitive skills. In so doing, it avoids many of the aforementioned difficulties.

Affirmative Action at the Crossroads: A Social Justice Perspective
Margaret Gibelman
This article reviews the basis for the policy of affirmative action within the context of changing social values. Both the aims and unanticipated consequences of affirmative action are explored, the latter of which have resulted in substantial backlash and the real possibility of policy overturn. Within this context, the position of the social welfare community toward and involvement in affirmative action is traced. An agenda for social work in current and future debates about affirmative action is offered which takes into account the original social problem--discrimination--within redefined societal values and political realities. Alternative remedies to affirmative action, it is argued, can be congruent with the mission and values of the social welfare community in its quest to achieve social justice. Such options include targeting specific professions that interface with the inner city African-American underclass; reframing the purpose of affirmative action from that of correcting injustice for the victims of racial discrimination to social engineering; and targeting specific geographical areas which are characterized by economic deprivation.

BOOK REVIEWS
The Global Emergence of Gay and Lesbian Politics: National Imprints of a Worldwide Movement. Barry D. Adam, Jan Willem Duyvendak and Andre Krouwel (Eds.).
Reviewed by Carol T. Tully, Tulane University.

The East Asian Welfare Model: Welfare Orientalism and the State. Roger Goodman, Gordon White and Huck-ju Kwon (Eds.).
Reviewed by Kwong-leung Tang, University of Northern British Columbia.

Social Security and Retirement Around the World. Jonathan Gruber and David A. Wise (Eds.).
Reviewed by Martin B. Tracy, Southern Illinois University.

International Development. David Stoesz, Charles Guzzetta and Mark Lusk.
Reviewed by Anthony Hall, London School of Economics and Political Science.

The Future of Child Protection. Jane Waldfogel.
Reviewed by Leroy H. Pelton, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

BOOK NOTES
Recasting Egalitarianism: New Rules for Communities, States and Markets. Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis.

Revisioning Gender. Myra Marx Ferree, Judith Lorber and Beth B. Hess (Eds.).

Society, Work and Welfare in Europe. Christine Cousins.

Managed Care in Human Services. Stephen P. Wernet.

 

 

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