"Don't marry down. Marry out," is the message of Ralph Richard Banks, a professor at Stanford Law School. He's the author of "Is Marriage for White People?", a new book which examines reasons why black women are less likely to marry than other women of different races, even as black women ascend to the top rungs of American corporate, educational and social life, according to a report in the San Jose Mercury News.
Banks -- who is black, and married to a black woman -- says that interracial marriages make sense in California, where only 6.2 percent of the population identifies as of African descent. He also has some harsh words for other black men -- presumably not ones like himself, who holds degrees from Stanford and Harvard Law School. "It all coalesces around this," explains Banks, ready to drop the racial bombshell, "whether black women will continue to be held hostage to the failings of black men."
High rates of incarceration and job-market discrimination against black men have created a gender imbalance in the community, according to the newspaper. Then it's all about supply and demand -- fewer black men on the market creates excess demand for black grooms, tilting the terms of courtship to men's favor. As a result, many black women simply sidestep commitment.
It's an interesting theory but it has plenty of opponents, such as Dori J. Maynard, CEO of the Oakland-based Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the newspaper reported. "This picture distorts the picture of African-American women who are happy, fulfilled and living good and productive lives," she says. "It is also a distortion of black men, as well -- portraying them as pathetic losers who we wouldn't want to be married to -- which has not been my experience."