"FAMILIES ON THE FAULT LINE: America's Working Class Speaks About the Family, the Economy, Race and Ethnicity" by Lillian B. Rubin

"FAMILIES ON THE FAULT LINE: America's Working Class Speaks About the Family, the Economy, Race and Ethnicity"

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A somber and disturbing study -- ""It's not fair"" is the message here -- of what's happening to working-class American families. In the two decades since sociologist Rubin's earlier study of this group (Worlds of Pain, 1976), life has gone from bad to worse for blue-collar workers as the economy has contracted and unemployment and underemployment have spread. Rubin's sympathy for her subjects' plight is clear, and this, added to her training as a psychotherapist, enables her to gain their confidence and draw out the truth about their experiences and their attitudes. She talked with 162 families in all, mostly white, but including a substantial number of blacks, Latinos, and Asians, many from families she had kept in touch with since first interviewing them for Worlds of Pain. Here, she argues that the myth of America as a classless society keeps the problems of working-class families from being acknowledged and dealt with, and that, for these ""invisible"" Americans, the shrinking economy has brought fear and anger, hopelessness and helplessness. Rubin sees an alarming rise in white ethnicity as frustrated white working-class families seek to place the blame for their problems on ethnic minorities -- an attitude, she claims, that has been fostered by national administrations as a way of deflecting anger about the state of the economy and the declining quality of urban life. Rubin warns that failure to recognize the suffering of the working-class family and to seek solutions for its problems imperils ""the very life of the nation itself."" A full-length portrait -- written with force and feeling -- of working-class family life.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1994
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: HarperCollins