So Anxious

27 Aug

I’m anxiously awaiting Ralph Richard Banks’s book Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone. The Stanford law professor has been making the rounds promoting its release. He penned an article for the Wall Street Journal which sparked 905 online comments to date. An excerpt from the book as well as an interview with Banks are featured in next month’s issue of Essence.

Essentially Banks is encouraging single black women to date out. Finally!? Someone with some academically sound credence publicly acknowledges and explores this troubling issue and futhermore goes on to suggest a viable solution for heterosexual black women of all class levels longing to be partnered (and who don’t desire to explore a lesbian lifestyle).  Furthermore, there is a shortage of “desirable” black partners for single professional black women to be coupled with — the numbers don’t lie. And I, along with family members and friends can attest to this fact. I can’t wait to read it!

He was featured in an interesting podcast last month. Racialicious conducted a black panel discussion highlighting a paragraph from the Essence article in which Banks opined that a college educated black woman would have more in common with one of her white classmates than the black guy driving the UPS truck from around the way. The panelists disagreed. Your thoughts?

I’m reminded of what bell hooks wrote in Salvation: Black People and Love. “No one talks avout white men loving black women. Such unions are always represented as being always and only about sexual lust.” (p. 103)

A few pages later she goes on to write:

Again and again I would hear students of all colors describe black women they saw on the streets as unsmiling and rigid. When we would later examine the details of black women’s lives, facts that document the reality that many of us live in poverty, or do low-paying jobs without access to health care; that we are likely to be single for much of our adult life; that of the three leading causes of death for women, heart disease, breast cancer, and lung cancer, we are disproportionately at risk and more likely to die if we have these illnesses; and that we are daily the victims of unacknowledged verbal and physical assault both in the streets and in our homes, they understood the reasons black females do not appear open and playful. After examining these facts students would often say, “What do black women have to smile about?”   (p. 106)

Thank you hooks and Banks! Date out ladies, date out!


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