Forty years ago most Americans thought the future of families in America wouldbe stable. They watched Ozzie and Harriet on television and saw that as the Americanideal. Even if they didn’t live or experience that ideal themselves, they imagined a kindof American utopia that wasn’t normative for them. The American family has not movedcloser to Utopia, or even stability. Rather it seems as though that ideal presented so manyyears ago is further out of reach as we see the disintegration of the family unit.If you trace the history of America from its three major economic “eras”(Agricultural, Industrial, Service) you come to realize we have always been a country influx.
While it may appear there has been a time when Americans have maintainedcertain “values”, that reality has been challenged and is still being challenged today. Thereal issue is that the values camp argues for a romanticized period that was beneficial formainly white Anglo Protestant Americans.The African American perspective of “traditional values” is enslavement, abuse,and limited civil rights.
That is what they hear when words like, “We need to return tothe good old days” are spoken. In 1962, a magazine called a group of scholars, scientistand politicians together to discuss the future state of America in twenty five years. Amajority of them said that by 1987 America would be a gem. She would lead the world intechnology, morality, and financial equity. Not only would the country be prosperousfinancially, but socially. The contemporary homemaker (wife, mom) would havetechnology at her disposal in such a way that she would calmly cook, clean and manage
FS506 Families in Contemporary Society
; Summer 2007, Lecture 2
1. Peter B. Levy,
The Civil Rights Movement
(Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998), 80,