Ralph Richard Banks wrote an infamous book titled “Is Marriage for White People?” In his book Banks seeks to address the issue of marriage decline in the Black community.
Banks offers quite a bit of research and produces sound stats regarding Black marriage. However, Banks’ interpretation of the data is skewed by his clear bias against Black men as suitable partners. He emphasizes the disparity between education, income, and class for Black men and Black women. For Banks (and he supposedly speaks for Black women as well), while there are Black men who are single and heterosexual, they are not marriageable because they are in prison or do not earn as much money as their female counterparts (which is ofcourse is because they are less educated). This results in Black women being “half as likely to marry as white women and three times as likely never to marry.” He cites that Black women are also less likely to marry outside their race than any other demographic including Black men.
Banks offers one solution for Black women: marry outside your race. Really Banks?? That’s the answer?? Banks’ entire book reads like a Tyler Perry play in which all the Black women are beautiful, fair skinned, long haired (or have long hair that has been cropped), educated, and successful and all the Black men are ghetto, hood, blue collar, uneducated, and unpolished. At least in Tyler’s narratives the men are usually decent enough to still be considered marriageable, Banks offers no such optimism.
The problem with this conclusion that Black women should abandon Black men is that it does not directly solve the issue of low Black marriage rates. The other problem is that the criterion used to determine a Black man’s marriageability is based on the material and economic contributions these can bring to the partnership. I would like to believe that there are other possibly more important things that a man can bring to a marriage. If by chance the most important factor is money, then it is no wonder women are objectified. A person pays for things not a person.
As the discussion on how to save Black love continues, lets hope that voices like Banks fade into the background because they are counter productive, cliche, and irrelevant.
I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,
An Angry Black Man