Last Thursday, I congratulated my parents on Facebook for a successful 23 years of marriage.
Afterward, I checked out my status updates and noticed a very interesting article one of my sorority sisters had posted from Healthland.Time.com.
The headline read, “Is Marriage for White People?”
In light of my parents’ wedding anniversary and my minor in Black Studies, my immediate response was a swift, “Hell no.”
Being a newlywed myself (my six-month anniversary is Sept. 11), the last thing I wanted to read was some discouraging article about how my husband and I basically aren’t going to, and were never meant to, make it.
That was my assumption, anyway. Nevertheless, curiosity sealed the deal, so I clicked the link. The article was an interview of Ralph Richard Banks, a Stanford law professor and author of the book, “Is Marriage for White People?”, which was released on Thursday.
I began reading the interview with my guard up.
I realized that the author’s point was not to suggest black marriages are doomed, but rather to analyze why they fail at higher rates than white marriages, and also to explore methods for prevention of failing marriages.
Knowing that, my guard began to lower just a little bit. Banks’ research shows black women tend to be statistically more educated than black males. As a result, black women also tend to have better paying careers than black males.
However, black women have been taught, despite their success, the preservation of their race is very important and therefore should settle down and not marry out.
What does that mean?
Educated black women are supposedly taught to settle for less, in a sense, by marrying a black man, even if he may be less educated and less successful than she. The issue Banks tries to address with the title of his book is that the disparity in educational attainment between black men and women is not something whites have to worry about.
In other words, he is saying the problem doesn’t exist among whites.
So black educated and successful women should marry white men and opt out of seeking an equal counterpart within their own race all together.
What? Are you serious? You’re kidding me, right?
The statistics may be true, but the overall solution is whack.
First, 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce no matter what race or any other factor.
Secondly, though I would never condone any woman settling for less, I definitely would never suggest that black women give up on black men as a whole because of their successes.
Then, of course I have to ask, what is considered “settling for less?”
The answer should be defined by the woman, not by society.
Let’s just keep it real. Women, regardless of race or class, attract what they advertise.
If a woman advertises herself in a manner that attracts uneducated and unsuccessful men, then whose fault is that?
If she chooses to go as far as to marry and have kids with that same man, knowing good and well he did not have her level of education and success, whose fault is that?
Not his, that’s for sure.
Then, there’s the flipside to this whole race and class chaos.
If that same educated and successful black woman falls in love, marries and has kids with a white man who isn’t equally educated, then what?
What would Mr. Banks say then?
Would her reason for marrying outside of her race still be justified according to his studies?
My hypothesis–probably not.
According to the interview, there is much research that he intentionally left out of this book.
“Is Marriage for White People?” does not address why black men are less educated and less successful than black women, nor does it address some of the racial controversies and problems involving interracial relationships that black women may encounter if they follow Banks’ advice.
Supposedly, all of that important information will be in his next book.
With all the drama the first book is causing, he’ll be lucky if anyone reads the second one.