Brown Bag Colloquium Series, Africana Studies

Dr LaToya Council, Assistant Professor of Sociology

Drawing on semi-structured interviews with 24 heterosexual Black middle class couples who I interviewed together and separately, culminating into 75 interviews, I examine how structural racism and sexism are cooperating forces that shape the division of housework among couples.  Study findings show that Black middle class women construct a gendered precedent to contend with the division of housework. I define this precedent as the implementation of empathetic care to explain the standard Black women create in relation to their partner's time-controlled and task-specific participation in housework. Further, I find that Black middle class men respond to gendered precedents with gendered reactions.  Gendered reactions are constructed responses to housework precedents which have the potential to ultimately maintain gender inequality. I argue that housework and the rationalization of unequal housework in service to the romantic relationship represent symbolic strategies couples use to resist white supremacy at home.

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