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New book asks ‘Is Marriage for White People?’

Ralph Richard Banks, is asking, “Is Marriage for White People?” (Image courtesy Dutton Adult)

A new book is asking the question ‘Is Marriage for White People?’

“The book is about the decline of marriage among African Americans, which is unprecedented under the past half century. African Americans have become the most unmarried people in the nation,” says Ralph Richard Banks, author of “Is Marriage for White People?: How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone.”

Banks tells 97.3 KIRO FM’s Ross and Burbank Show that his examination shows the decline in marriage among African Americans could be rooted in differences between the sexes.

“One of the pivotal factors is that black women are doing better educationally and economically than they ever have, yet black men have not been able to keep pace, and that sort of gender gap creates all sorts of problems.”

Banks says, as an African American man himself, he’s not trying to write off black men.

“As a policy matter, I think it’s very important to try to address some of the problems that have resulted in black men not faring very well,” says Banks. “But it’s also the case that black women should not need to wait until these big problems are fixed before they find fulfillment in their own lives.”

Listen to interview: Author Ralph Richard Banks

In a move to keep more marriages together, Banks suggests black women look for a mate with an education and economic status more similar to their own.

“It would be better if a lot of those women actually married a man who had a similar professional experience, even if he was of a different race.”

Banks says a lot of African American women face pressure to marry within their own race. “Some of those pressures come from their families. Some pressures come from black men. Some pressures come from the community. Some pressures come from whites and other groups.”

“Is it the case that lots of problems can arise when we have a big educational or income gap between wives and husbands? Yes. Are those marriages more likely to divorce? Yes,” says Banks. “So there are a lot of pressures that people are responding to which have led us into this situation which is not a good circumstance.”

Banks says the decline of marriage in the U.S. isn’t reserved to African Americans.

“[The book] also links the experience of African Americans to the experience of Americans generally, because marriage is declining throughout society,” says Banks. “What’s happening with African Americans is a more pronounced form of trends that are actually widespread throughout society.”


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