In the first installment of the Spring 2011 Faculty Workshop Series, sponsored by the Frances Lewis Law Center, Professor June Carbone, the Edward A. Smith/Missouri Chair of Law, the Constitution and Society Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, came to speak on February 14 about her book, Red Families v. Blue Families.
In her talk, Professor Carbone discussed the growing polarization amongst American families. “Blue Families,” she argues, emphasize the importance of workforce participation for both men and women, egalitarian gender roles, and the delay of family formation until both parents are emotionally and financially ready. In contrast, “Red Families” reject these new family norms and view the change in moral and sexual values as a crisis. They view marriage as a sacred undertaking between a man and a woman and see divorce as society’s greatest moral challenge. Professor Carbone noted that the changing economy is rapidly eliminating the stable, blue collar jobs that have historically supported young families, and the advanced education needed for success is being derailed by early marriage and childbearing. This results in the highest divorce and teen pregnancy rates in the areas of the country most committed to traditional values, which only fuels a greater call to reinstill traditional values.
Professor Carbone gave a detailed and interesting presentation, displaying many startling statistics and figures she and others have compiled over the years. It garnered a healthy discussion amongst the faculty.
Many thanks to Professor Carbone for coming to speak.