Child Abuse & Racial Inequality This Brief Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Child Abuse & Racial Inequality

This brief report focuses the social conflict perspective of sociology while focusing on the racial inequalities within the reporting and handling of child abuse cases, both with the children themselves as well as the parents that stand accused. Indeed, the reporting and handling of these cases is deemed by many to be disparate, unfair or non-existent as it pertains to racial minorities and their children. The trends of this subject matter will be explored over a series of years of American history.

Racial Disparities

Per the commonly held and accept facets of the conflict perspective, racial inequality is not what it is was prior to the Civil War or prior to the Civil Rights era that culminated in the 1960's in the United States, but problems still do certainly exist. Indeed, as recently as the 1980's, a survey that was conducted that asked the white respondents why blacks did not have the "finer things in life" with the same frequency as white people commonly responded that they did not try hard enough. However, the same article that cites this egregious thought pattern also notes that the nature of the problem and how it's perceived by different people has clearly evolved over time (Pride, 1999).

The aforementioned problem about a shift in opinion from racial inequality being the genesis of racial differences and trends to one that posits that blacks and other minorities simply are not trying hard enough is seemingly becoming more and more prevalent. However, this does explain a lot of fairly egregious statements and actions that are verifiably due to ignorance and/or bigotry and the review and handling of child abuse cases are certainly one of those things. It is true that blacks and other minorities tend to be much poorer and thus the chance of neglect being deemed to be the case is higher but that does not give social work professionals a green light to paint with too broad a brush (Pride, 1999).

Mental Health

One clear precursor to dysfunction and neglect in a home with children is mental health issues and it stands to reason that people that tend to be poorer, such as is the case with racial minorities, will also be less likely to use mental health avenues or to be able to afford the same. Indeed, one example that buttresses the above is that black people clearly have poorer overall health outcomes that white people. However, the results are not uniform across other minorities. Hispanics show good results in their early and later years but it's much more mixed in between. Asians do better than all others across the board, with the exception of Hawaiian natives (McGuire & Miranda, 2008).

As far as mental health functions, American Indians have a much higher rates of PTSD than other groups. Blacks have higher levels of schizophrenia than white people. As far as schizophrenia goes, it is clear that blacks are clearly over-represented in mental health hospitals. That being said, it was also found that the overall probability of blacks and Hispanics having a mental disorder was lower, not higher, than with white people. However, regardless of what the actual rates are, it is clear that some racial minorities are clearly mistreated when, or perhaps even because, mental illness is a precursor to abuse and this is seemingly much more pervasive than it is with whites (McGuire & Miranda, 2008).

Racial Minority Child Neglect over Time

If one were to rewind the clock 20 years to 1993, one would find a study that was conducted that compared blacks and whites in terms of frequency and severity of child abuse cases. It is noted that many feel that child abuse is more prevalent in the black community but one study noted that this is perhaps a mirage because so many more black people are economically disadvantaged than white people. Because the massive disparity in social outcomes for blacks, it is very complicated to…

Sources Used in Document:


McGuire, T.G., & Miranda, J. (2008). New Evidence Regarding Racial & Ethnic

Disparities In Mental Health: Policy Implications. Health Affairs, 27(2), 393-403.


Osborne, C., Manning, W.D., & Smock, P.J. (2007). Married and Cohabiting Parents'

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