I had the pleasure and the honor to interview Annette Lareau last week concerning her fine book Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life. The book is a fascinating ethnographic study of 12 Black and White middle-class, working-class and poor families and it explores how space, interaction with authority and exposure to the idea of an aesthetic help form children.

Lareau introduces the concepts of “Concerted Cultivation” and “The Accomplishment of Natural Growth” to frame the relationship of child in family, family in home and home in society.

Lareau suggests the main issue causing disparities in American childhoods is no longer Race.

She claims Class is now the dividing factor between the “haves” and the “have-nouts.”

If a family has enough money they can buy Cultural Capital for their children and purchase their way into the corridors of power. If a family has enough money Race doesn’t matter any longer.

You can read chapter one online at the University of California Press for free.