Mar 9, 2010    #023
Contact: Laura Byerley
(816) 235-1592

UMKC professor explains why 'red states' have highest divorce and teen pregnancy rates

'Red Families v. Blue Families' discussion takes place March 18

People often compare "red states" and "blue states," but how do "red families" compare to "blue families"?

June Carbone, Edward A. Smith/Missouri Chair of Law Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Law will address this issue by discussing the book she co-wrote with Naomi Cahn - "Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture." The discussion will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 18 at the UMKC Chancellor's Residence, 5106 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo. The UMKC Women's and Gender Studies Program, School of Law and Women's Center are hosting the discussion, which will be followed by a book signing. RSVPs are requested. To RSVP, please call (816) 235-6060.

In "Red Families v. Blue Families," Carbone and Cahn identify a new family model geared for the post-industrial economy. Associated with the urban middle class, coasts and blue states in the last three presidential elections, the Blue Family Paradigm emphasizes the importance of women’s as well as men’s workforce participation, egalitarian gender roles and the delay of family formation until both parents are emotionally and financially ready.

By contrast, the Red Family Paradigm - associated with the Bible Belt, mountain west and rural America - rejects these new family norms, viewing the change in moral and sexual values as a crisis. In this world, the prospect of teen childbirth is the necessary deterrent to premarital sex, marriage is a sacred undertaking between a man and a woman and divorce is society's greatest moral challenge. Yet, the changing economy is rapidly eliminating the stable, blue-collar jobs that have historically supported young families. In addition, early marriage and childbearing often derail the education needed to prosper. As a result, red states have the highest divorce and teen pregnancy rates, which fuels a movement to reintroduce traditional values.

Featuring groundbreaking research first hailed in The New Yorker, this book could transform peoples' understanding of contemporary American culture and law. The authors show how the Red-Blue divide goes much deeper than this value system conflict. The Red States have increasingly said "no" to Blue State legal norms, and as a result, family law has become divided. The authors close with a consideration of where these different family systems overlap, and suggest solutions that permit rebuilding support for both types of families in changing economic circumstances.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.

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This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).


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