Marriage is on the decline generally in the U.S., and among African-Americans the rates are particularly low, especially among African-American women. Stanford law professor Rick Banks explores the reasons for this in his new book, “Is Marriage for White People?”

And he has a recommendation for black women looking for a mate — cross the color line and consider men of other races.

Rick Banks, professor of law at Stanford University and author of "Is Marriage for White People?: How the African-American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone"

  • Tv5305

    Also, black women on a physical spectrum, are the furthest from the beauty ideal which makes it more difficult for black women to attract, date and/or marry outside of the “race”.  It’s just another hurdle.     

    • Bobcat27

      That is the so much BS. If you look you can find beauty in everything, open your eyes!

      • A440plus

        I hope that Bobcat27 and WandaW have misinterpreted the comment of
        Tv5305. I hope that he did not mean to say that black women are not
        attractive, but rather that that black women rarely resemble the ideal of feminine beauty that we get from our media.

    • AlyssaW

      Being a Tongan in my twenties, I find I have to show interest in white men because they wouldn’t otherwise know to show interest in me no matter how beautiful I am.

    • Revgdc

      You must be a man.  Black women have NO problem attracting and dating white/other men.  You have no idea.  Many of us don’t marry outside the race because of our own issues.  Most of us, if we wanted to, could marry outside the race.  I have been married to a wonderful black MAN for almost 30 years.  Believe it or not, white men in Europe and America proposed to me–and I do not look like Halle Berry.  I am brown, petite, and smart!!!

    • Yeah, this is so not true.  I’m not skinny… I weigh about 235 pounds.  I assisted two Jewish doctors; one a gastroenterologist and the other an orthopedic surgeon.  Both men constantly  me how attractive I am. They always notice my make-up, what I’m wearing and how I carry myself.  The gastroenterologist and I shared an office space divided by a sliding door.  When ever he was in the office, he would gaze into my face and smile and say “you’re so pretty”.  At times he would change the pronunciation of my name imitating a french “upper class” accent. I was offended by that because I’m not French. Yet it made me realize that white males are attracted to black females… we have just been stereo-typed as being “lower class and trashy” like a gypsy women — thanks to the media and black males devaluing women in their videos (and black women desperate for black male attention).  I’m not saying that all white men will be attracted to black females, but if a dark 235 pound female (who by societal standards is considered unattractive) can attract white men, I don’t see why any other black woman can’t. 

    • Yeah, this is so not true.  I’m not skinny… I weigh about 235 pounds.  I assist two Jewish doctors; one a gastroenterologist and the other an orthopedic surgeon.  Both men constantly tell me how attractive I am. They always noticed my make-up, what I’m wearing and how I carry myself.  The gastroenterologist and I share an office space divided by a sliding door.  When ever he was in the office, he will gaze into my face, smile and say “you’re so pretty”.  At times he would change the pronunciation of my name imitating a french “upper class” accent. I am offended by that because I’m not French. Yet it made me realize that white males are attracted to black females… we have just been stereo-typed as being “lower class and trashy” like a gypsy women — thanks to the media and black males devaluing women in their videos (and black women desperate for black male attention).  I’m not saying that all white men will be attracted to black females, but if a dark 235 pound female (who by societal standards is considered unattractive) can attract white men, I don’t see why other desirable black women can not.  I also read this book (Is Marriage for White People) from cover to cover and I’m still not sure if interracial dating for black women is the answer.  I still question why no one cares to find out how to assist black males who are growing up in single parent homes headed by their mothers.  I’m sure that can affect the black male psyche in negative ways.

  • mia

    forgetting about the marriageability of black women, why are we not discussing racism? Racism is rampant in this country when it comes to the way black men are viewed period! This view is so ingrained that it permeates the black community. Black men are seen as dangerous, shifty criminals. If you don’t’ believe this ask yourself how many times you’ve thought about your car doors being locked when you see a black man walking down the street. I’ve talked to several educated loving black men who have had the experience of hearing your car doors lock.
    Black boys are less likely to be receive a full education, they are seen through a lens of racism from the moment they’re born. Here in Oakland they die by the hundreds each year. Not exactly where one would look for a marriage partner.

  • Jenn

    As a 39 year old african american woman who has grown up in predominantly white areas, I have never once been asked out by a non black man. While i have my preference, i’ve always been open to dating outside my race. the problem is they’re either not interested or they think i wouldn’t be interested. i’m sure the fact that our own men don’t seem interested in us and we’re constantly demonized in the media and entertainment puts us at the bottom of the totem pole so we don’t even get a fair chance

  • Curious

    Chris Rock has a hilarious comment in his routine about how black women will marry the pretty white guys, but just are not interested in the average white males.  True?

  • annajd

    Can we talk about mixed-race kids? (Aren’t many African Americans mixed race, Latin Americans, etc.?) I am a white woman, 33, unmarried. I’ll marry whom I marry based on personality, etc. but I am especially attracted to (East) Indian men. I would love to have a mixed-race child. Personally, I find mixed-race people to often have the best features of both of their parents…

  • annajd

    Why do we see so many more black man / white woman couples than white man / black woman couples?

  • Shane

    I’m a white American male who’s married to a black African from Uganda.  I think black women from outside the United States don’t have many of the same racial issues or racial baggage as many African Americans might have. One thing that is important is to be of a similar social, educational class or religion as both my wife and I are college educated and of the same religion, Islam.

  • Dlaurel99

    I am a white woman, married for 9 years to a Singaporean man.  I grew up in an affluent neighborhood in the Chicago suburbs.  My Asian peers were always the top students, so I grew up ‘looking up’ to these minorities, admiring their commitment to family, education, etc.  I never set out to marry an Asian, but I acknowledge going into my dating years with a positive view of Asian culture.  Some of my relatives were not thrilled, though.  They thought that my fiance, who was working in the US as an expat, was looking for a green card.  We ended up, while engaged, moving to Asia to work.  Later, we returned to the US and after a few years on a work visa, he finally applied for the green card.  We have a funny story from our interview with the immigration officer.  When we walked in, not only was he intrigued as to why we had waited so long to apply for the green card (we explained we’d lived abroad, etc.) but he also admitted to us that he knew we were legit as he’d seen us walking into the office, holding hands – demonstrating real closeness even when we didn’t know someone was watching.  We were shocked to learn from him that there’s a huge number of people who try to get a green card via a ‘phony’ marriage.  And, legit we are.  We have 3 kids and their lives are so rich because of the wide range of experiences/cultures they get to experience.  I believe we are blessed to have found one another.  We are very similar in our academic, social and religious background.  But, in terms of other elements of culture, whether food or holidays, etc., we can combine the best of both worlds.  

  • Bob Fry

    I’m a white American guy who married a Mexican woman from Mexico City. Quite different cultures as you can imagine…or are they? We share the same basic values of what’s right and wrong, the way to treat people, and we are both college educated. My wife has more in common with like-educated and like-valued people of any race, than with say farm-workers of her own country…just as I do. 

    The key then, as your guest implies or says, is similar cultural values to make a relationship last. Educational level and parental upbringing are most important in making similar cultures…race is not.

  • Bobcat27

    Black women tend to look with distain on black men that have tried educate themselves. We have been considered  ” uncle toms” not factoring in people like (Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell ) because some us know the valuse of education and service. It seems  the bad boy image and thug life are  attractive to some women. I’m not a dead dad, I have helped my wife eduacate 3 childern thru college.  There many black women that would not give the time of day because I don’t have tattoo and try to think thinks thru issueses. I am black man that managed to live to the ripe old of 67 have a wonderful blended family. I wonder what our world and country will be like 20 year from now? Can you say Roman Empire

    • Hi Bobcat! What type of A.A. women do you come in contact with. It really is a crying shame that the ones you interact with do not value education. That is simply HORRIBLY!

  • Henry

    This is an excellent show!  Thanks for discussing this topic. I am an African American man and I have had the opposite experience.  When I was younger, I couldn’t have paid an African American woman to date me.  Frankly, because I was a total nerd.  I had no game whatsoever in my own community.

    Then I went to college, and grew into my own skin and all of a sudden my intelligence considered attractive by members of other groups.  I dated around the entire spectrum.  When I decided to settle down I chose someone outside of my group (a Latina) and have been happy ever since.  I hear all of this buzz about how eligible black men are so hard to find, but it was the opposite for me. 

    Now that I am settled down with my beloved wife I couldn’t have imagined my life unfolding in any other way.  But I do think that African American women (generalizing of course) are afraid to be open when looking for love(finally my point).  I’m already married…but Ladies, walk up to that so-called nerd and strike up a conversation….Date a guy from some other ethnic group.  If dating around the spectrum has taught me one thing it is that we are all the same.  Every difference we imagine that exists between “races” is far smaller than the  differences that exist between individuals. 

  • Christopher

    It’s important to remember that blacks are also reluctant to date &
    marry non-blacks because of the way that we perceive – and know – the
    families of our non-black partners will receive us.

    I am a
    black man – very well educated – and have dated black and non-black
    women. The racism among the families of the non-black women has sometimes been so formidable, it’s broken up my relationships. 

    One woman’s mother begged her, “Please, anything but black!”

    So, it goes both ways; it’s not just black communities who reject interracial dating between blacks and non-blacks.

  • McLiam

    I’m a white Scots-Irish protestant man; I married outside my culture twice and I’ve dated Latinas, Asians, Europeans, but in fifty-plus years of dating and marrying, I’ve never found black women to be particularly interested in ME.  After a while I abandoned any notion of dating them.  I put it down to the historical legacy of white overlords exploiting black women, but… who knows?

    Thanks for the show.


  • Tim

    As a bisexual black man raised by a single black woman, I’ve always felt turned off by black women because of my tumultuous relationship with my mom. Now that I only primarily date guys, I find the same barriers where most men don’t like dating black men black or non-black. Most people do not want to date me. I also watch my mom wait fir that compatible black man. She hasn’t found him in California 40 years later.

  • anon

    one thing that is being missed here, which i think the caller who was cut off may have wanted to attend to is the long history of black women, starting in times of slavery, being victimized white men. could this be a contributing reason to why black women are encouraged to be with black men, and why black men may feel protective of black women?

  • Anne

    I think this discussion misses the impact that slavery (black women as the sexual property of white men) and lynching (black men castrated and killed for supposedly raping white women. Please note Ida B. Wells documented the fallacy of this).  It is possible that without a larger discussion of this history most people will miss the implication of black and white relationships, partnerships, and marriage.

    • anon

      i think we were both thinking of this! i wish we could hear what prof. banks would say about the issue

    • Anon

      As the professor pointed out, slavery should have had a much bigger impact on the first generation freed, rather than on the current generation 150+ years later. Yet data show a DECLINE in marriage among blacks the further they and their desendants got away from slavery as a lived experience of themselves or older relatives. So other factors are clearly more important. (I would emphasize gender role change, economic change (fewer blacks in agriculture, etc.),.. The argument about racism has the same difficulty: legal racism and informal racism is far less now than in the past, but marriage rates have DECLINED so it isn’t very convincing to attribute much to this factor. Although it’s true that the media often promotes negative images of black men, as the professor pointed out they still have much better opportnities of  marrying or dating both within their race and outside their race than black women, so racism against black men cannot explain the decline of marriage among black WOMEN.

  • Liz

    Quite honestly, I’m appalled that the black woman from Pittsburgh, CA would pride herself in being colorblind and contend that this current period of time is the “browning” of America. Being colorblind does nothing but dismiss our individual experiences and our inherent cultural differences. Rather than dismiss those differences or experiences, we should work toward embracing them, using them to better understand one another.

    And as far as this conversation goes with regards to relationships, perhaps if men and women of varying ethnicities took the time to understand the black woman’s experience in America, they would better understand what the needs are of both black men and women and more over, find black women desirable and attractive in light of many things.

    I’d also like to note that just because you have an impressive list of degrees from Ivy League universities does not automatically qualify a person as an expert or scholar.

    • MJ

      I agree that this active “colorblindness” is dismissive of cultural differences–it’s naive and seems like an easy way for some people to ignore a reality and history they might be uncomfortable with.

      The other side of the spectrum might be the volition to derive one’s identity from race or ethnic background (rather than life experience, values, etc.). There is nothing wrong with identifying with a culture, but taking a prescribed set of values and making them your own just because of your ethnic background is divisive and damaging.

  • Goddess333_us

    As an African American women who is open to meet individuals outside my race, I find it difficult to meet those folks who share my values.  I think Black women need to find the best vehicle that provides the opportunity to meet like-minded men.

  • franklin

    Even with internet social networking, as a black man who considers himself eccentric (a nerd), it took me a while to find a black woman who’s in to the same things I’m into (e.g. comics, indie movies, underground hip hop, etc). I got lucky I suppose.

  • Mccats

    I am a Chinese American male. I have noticed that sometimes black women try to flirt with me. This surprises me. Also, American born Chinese men are also less likely to marry. We have to go outside the country.I don’t have numbers, but based on casual observation.

    • Libra_Lady

      So why don’t you date the Black women that flirt with you?

  • Tjarnie

    I’m a 30 year old resident in San Jose and I’m African American. I’ve been listening and I’m very intrigued. I dated a white woman for four years and although it finally didn’t work out, I learnt a lot from the relationship. 
    1. We love the way we were loved as kids. The patterns observed during relationships in our childhood, the relationships between our parents and the confidence imparted on us by their love often manifest in the way we relate to the opposite sex or our partners. Unfortunately, many African American families don’t emulate these values that equip the children to relate better in relationships.  
    2. The media is inundated with images that glamorize the white woman and white weddings. While this may seem like an excuse, we can’t ignore the fact that these images affect what people desire. Unless,they are cooped up in some isolated environment.

  • Julie Roberts

    One aspect determining who you are attracted  seems to be any individuals own sense of identity  and how much they relate to others through projection..  How any one individual develops, seems to be rooted in the subjective identifications of various kinds. they take on.   I think that the more reflection an individual gets for very unique charactersitics of their experience influences the capacity or the . breadth of their ability to accept otherness, and not relate mainly through ones own projectionsl.  A girl who has had a more in depth relationship with a father figure, or in general from either parent,  is developing an identity which  would be formed from internalizing a lot more essential experiences  that large general characteristics such as body image.– like the woman who called in that related to large what ever black men.   How  SES  impacts how much and what an individual projects onto others in their  mate selection is a good question and I think that projection is related directly to how much you have had time or emotional space( less stress) there is for having the  experience of being  attunded  to as a child. The more substantial a persons sense of their own self, the more they can choose a mate who they are actually able to relate to as a separate other. 

  • timholton

    It seems to me that American society has been steadily giving up on working class black men. What I find troubling about the guest’s thesis is that it proposes that the one group that’s so far been disinclined to give up on them should now do so. Any nation that quits caring about a whole class of its citizens has a lot to answer for.

    I also find the stereotype of unintelligent working class men as, well…not very intelligent. On the other hand, so-called middle class professional jobs are increasingly reliant on automation and bureaucratic constraints and are dumbed-down glorified clerical jobs. This country has big issues about work that transcend race problems. We’d rather lock people in prison than offer them the dignity of basic jobs at fair wages. We’d rather cut them adrift than address the shortcomings of a society that refuses to confront its failings.

  • I can really relate to what Professor Banks was saying in terms of African American women broadening their dating horizons. I learned that lesson a few years ago. I am a single college educated A.A. woman and I do NOT want to limit my options. I gladly date out of my race as I am not waiting for my male counterparts to get their crap together.

  • Jeff

    I think I’ll write a book on,”Sexual Promiscuity for Minorities?. And  “How the Drugs and Alcohol Incline, Afffects Everyone.

  • methinks

    I am a 45 y/o black woman who was raised in an all white environment.  Although I have always been completely open to dating white men, I have never dated them because white men simply are not attracted tomme.  I’m well-groomed and educated.  I’m reasonably attractive…not fat.  I still can’t figure out the lack of interest in me on the part of white men.

    When I got to college I realized that there were men who actually found me desireable,attractive, dateable, and these men were Black men.  I will always have a special place in my heart for the Black men who validated my feminity.

    I am married to a successful black man and have two great kids.  I would have had no problem marrying a white man, however. 

  • Robert Tucker

    I   really  do  not  care  who   you   marry .If   you  a re   happy fine . I   am  a  black  man  married    31   years .I   have   worked   the   last   25   years   around   women  of  all   races   &   nationalites  ,incomes  &  educational  levels . Upon   picking  a   wife . Put  the   names   of  all   your  prospective   wives  in  a  box    and  pick   one .Note  with  haromones  and   age  they  all   turn  out  the   same .Peace

  • Duane

    I’m a Black man married to a Black Woman. Only woman I’ve ever married and chosen as my life partner. As exemplified by the statistics that Banks quoted. Black women prefer Black men. The problem with his analysis is that it offers no solutions because he won’t acknowledge properly that Black women prefer to be with Black men. The problem is that Black women want Black men and are not finding them. REPEAT: Black women want Black men not just a husband of any ethnic group. That is usually their 2nd or last choice out of desperation.  He offers no solution for mending the scars that exist in the relationships between black men and women.

    Also, he says that relationships between Black women and white men in his estimation judging from statistics “work”. Longevity is not necessarily the mark of a healthy relationship, it only means that it is economically feasible whereas Black families (we know from recent statistics) have 20 times less the wealth of white families. The breakdown in Black marriages has a lot to do with economic pressures fueled by racism that put unprecedented pressures on these households.

    The analysis that I heard on this radio broadcast did not sufficiently delve into the problem. Psychologist Joy DeGruy Leary has a much more nuanced and accurate assessment of this problem. Of course if you leave out the living legacy of the anti-human crime of chattel slavery perpetrated on this soil, you will NEVER accurately address the problem. Joy DeGruy Leary does with her notion of PTSS.

    • Tomi_Roshi

      Sometimes I think it is precisely this notion of present day slavery that captivates the community.  No one was born a slave and PTSS is learned behavior.  I think the trouble is lack of economic opportunity that enslaves the mind and perpetuates the cycle of poverty.  If my parents are poor then I must be poor.  Pervasive drug and alcohol abuse only maintains the cycle, my parents used drugs so it must be okay.  These are learned behaviors passed down by each generation and it us up to us as a community of human beings to break the cycle.  It all starts in the home and in our schools.  It is up to us to police our young people and set them straight.  There is hope if we come together as a community of concerned people.  I don’t see this as a black white thing it’s a human thing.  

  • Tomi_Roshi

    I am late to the party and listened to conversation on radio.  I grew up in military communities all my life.  In those communities race seem to me superfluous it wasn’t an issue or something we dwelt on outside of history class. 

    It wasn’t until I joined the Army and shared space with three other men who were black did I begin to understand what inhabiting a black body meant.  Why the need for moisturizing hair and wearing head covering at night. The notion of using body moisturizer was a foreign concept until I learned what it meant to have rusty skin.  These are small samples of different things one needs to do to maintain the body.  My point being it is nuance and not obvious until I asked how come you do such and such.

    The greatest lesson I learned from my experience is what it meant to be a brother.  To be a part of a greater community outside of ones self.  I share these memories to explain how one can overcome ignorance if one chooses to. 

    I am a pink man on the outside and choose to identify with my darker brothers because I love the soul, spontaneity, the breaking out singing in a crowded lunch room just for the heck of it.  I believe there is so much culture and diversity to be gained if we just got past our learned prejudices.  Race is a man made construct meant to divide us and foster discord between us as human beings.  I like to remind my friends that we are all Africans and I am just as black on the inside as everyone else.

    Yes, I date black women and married one for a time.  We have a blended son who I feel gets the benefit of both world.  I am currently dating a woman who is black and for me I love the contrast in our skin the texture of her hair and how she smells.  She is the most beautiful and intelligent woman I know.  I choose to celebrate our differences and I am happier for it.  And yes we get the look and head shakes from other people who don’t know us.  We choose to ignore it and understand it’s their lose we are happy in our own skins.

    • Revgdc

      Maybe the world is changing.  God bless you.  It is too bad that there are so few whites who see our beauty.

  • InOakland

    A man sees marriage as a possibility when he sees a future for himself in society.

    Many brothers see endless struggle with faint hope of ever being franchised.

    • Revgdc

      So why did the slaves marry.  Some of the marriages were not recognized, but the slaves recognized their commitment. Commitment is important.

  • Atalanta12

    I find it interesting that there are so few post from White men on this page.  The Wall Street Journal article covering this book was the most emailed article two Saturdays ago yet the comments all came mainly from Black men and women.

    I would echo the sentiments of many of the African-American women on this page with the caveat that I am very attracted to White men. I am told that I am a very attractive African-American woman (slender too) and I’ve dated men of all races but I find that by and large I am generally ignored and overlooked by White men.  I don’t think the issue is with African-American women and what they want.

    • Tomi_Roshi

      I agree it’s not an issue with you or black women in general. It is entirely that white men fear the unknown, fear of what their friends or family might say.  Or maybe they think you are already in a relationship and afraid to ask.  Where are you finding these white men?  Work, bars, church, I am sorry you feel ignored and overlooked you are perfect as you are.  I also think there is this weird status thing dating someone of color is low status.  Cultural mores and taboos are only blown up when we as human beings recognize our common humanity instead of differences.  Africans in America throughout history have defined who we are as a nation.  Without the multitude of contributions born from their collective experience American would be a bland homogenous culture similar to Japan were order is valued over spontaneous creativity.  I say keep looking and the right man no matter his color will find you.

      On the flip, I was in DC driving home at night listening to a radio station call in program.  The DJ was asking the audience, “Black women have you taken your white man to church?”  The responses were hilarious.   

    • ZenFox

      This interview fascinated me.  I’m a white male from the midwest.  In high school I fell madly in love with two different girls who happened to be African-American.  Being good friends with one girl I asked her out to a school dance, but she said no because her family, especially her older brother, wouldn’t approve of her dating out.  It might have been she just wasn’t interested, and was being polite, I don’t know.  But I felt crushed nonetheless.

      Just as blacks rightfully resent being wrongly stereotyped as lazy, ignorant, disagreeable, criminal, or any other racist stereotype (even though there are some people of any ethnic group who have these traits), so white folks resent being cast in the role of racists, oppressors, or the cause of all that’s wrong with the lives of black folk.  My forebears were poor farmers from the north who never owned slaves, and several of them fought and risked their lives in the Civil War to help end the abominable institution.

      I was bothered in the interview by the perhaps unintended suggestion that black men should be forsaken by black women because of the adversity many young black males face.  I did get the feeling the author is intending to help further empower black women in finding happiness, and by so doing also encourage black men to strive harder in competing for black women’s attention, and not take them for granted.  After all, a lot of guys pursue success in part to attract a mate.  Or it could be just to free anyone to find the partner who they love and makes them happy, regardless of gender or ethnic group, which in turn may help to raise a more secure, better loved, next generation.

      I wonder if part of the difficulty for many black folks is that it’s often hard to tell if adversities arise because of racism or because of a failure to take responsibility and find ways to overcome it.  Did I not get the job because I’m black or because I wasn’t the most qualified for that particular position?  Am I having trouble keeping up in class because I’m not a good student or because I feel alienated from my teacher, classmates, and the promise of what I might become?  From my experience I’ve seen that both are often in play, and it’s difficult to separate the two.  When I was in high school, I had a black coworker who I respected and liked who was fired for suspected theft, which I did not think was true.  I remember a black friend who was treated disrespectfully by a store clerk.  I recall teachers who were well-intentioned but often patronizing toward students of color.  But I’ve also heard prominent black advocates and politicians excuse the worst conduct of black teenage criminals who assault Asians, whites, and other blacks supposedly because “the economy is bad and there aren’t enough jobs”, or that there “aren’t enough after-school programs”, or whatever other lame excuses they come up with.  My family grew up poor and eligible for food stamps, and we had no after school programs, but I never saw the need to beat up elderly Asian folks or push them off of MUNI tracks, sell dope, assault strangers in flash mobs, or shoot other teens or little kids in drive-by shootings.  If there were street protests against such crimes in the way there are against police misconduct, kids would understand behavior like that  isn’t glamorous and won’t be tolerated.  I think too many wayward kids confuse fear with respect, bling with dignity, and give in to nihilism because there’s little that holds promise or real meaning for them.

      I do recognize that despite our nation’s progress, racism, both apparent and subconscious, continues to be a force in Amercian life, on all sides, to the detriment of all.  As others have said, we are all human, and all born of Africa.  I hope we all take responsiblity to become better as individuals, as a community, and as a country.

  • saveblackgirls

    Banks is sending the Wrong message to our young Black girls.  For those of us working to motivate our girls to be successful, his message is motivating them to fail.  He is saying, be strong, be confident and marry a white man to be validated.  He should focus on what is hurting Black america and not interject race as a factor to save the race.  The Book should be entitled-Why I Want to Marry a White Women and so I will use statistics to support the argument.  Same on you Banks, our young Black girls have enough to do to mature happy and healthy in relationships and now you want to add games as a variable in finding a mate.  Save our girls by researching how to support the Black race and not exploit it.

    • Duane

      Thank you for being the voice of reason. I’m a college educated Black man in Oakland married to a Black woman. You’re correct. Banks’ analysis on this show was shallow and destructive for the problems that young black girls face in regards to building relationships with black men. He offers no solutions.

    • Atalanta12

      People hear what they want to hear. I’m not sure what was heard here.  Google Banks and you’ll find he’s married to Black woman with a PhD. Whether you like it our not, 70% of black women with degrees never marry. You may disagree with the premise or the argument but you can’t disagree with the facts. 

      I have more single black women friends than not. I’m in my early forties and am pleased to see that I see more White male/Black female couples than when I was growing up but this is still outweighed by the number of single Black women I know.

      The positive message in Banks book to young Black women is you have choices. 

    • Brandyluv375

      You should read the book.  It doesn’t encourage black girls to fail.  It illustrates that despite them NOT failing in career in life, their choices for a mate will ge greatly strained.



      • saveblackgirls

        Thank you.  I did read the book and my comments stand.  You cannot discount how the book is being marketed and the message that is being used to promote the book.  If the message and the book were purely scholarly and about statistics, it is not necessary to focus on the ‘interracial fix’ aspects.  There is great need to save our children and save our girls.  I believe it is not responsible to tell our young people to abandon the race as the prize for success.  They will make their own decisions, and it seems to me that Mr. Banks can best help black women by working with young black men to address the real issues leading to a lack of supply. Last point, statistics have been used since the beginning of time to justify unfair and demeaning messages to Black people.  I am suggesting a little more critical thinking about the future of our race. It is not a good message to tell our girls to race bait our black men by dating white men to get black men to commit.  I suggest you visit the work of A New Way Forward by National Cares Mentoring that focuses on healing what is hurting Black America.  White America is not the solution to healing Black America.  The message of his book, when all else fails turn to white america to save Black America???
        Maybe he wrote the book with a careless disregard for our youth and the message he is sending.  Statistics do not raise our children to be healthy and ready to achieve, I think a Stanford Law Professor can contribute more to our society than a divisive message to our youth.

  • GURLSRock

    Undermining Efforts to help Young Black Girls I agree with saveourblackgirls.  I mentor and coach young Black girls and Professor Banks (Rick) is a close and long time friend. We attended Harvard Law School together.  I respect his work and am sure his work is excellent scholarly material.  However, I do not take up his ultimate premise that interracial marriage will save our race or heal what is hurting Black marriages. I am not rendering an opinion on interracial marriage and believe that you marry whom you love. My concern as to Professor Banks discussion and theory is that it may be counterproductive to the messages of healing and empowerment we are trying to convey to our Black youth, especially young Black girls.  I have started to blog ( on this issue as I do not want the salacious aspects of the interracial marriage debate to overshadow and derail the deep need for African Americans to heal and address our own cultural needs.  I am particularly concerned that Bank’s theory seems to not address the impact of his message on our young Black girls and boys.  I do believe that authors of scholarly work have some social responsibility to consider the impact of their work and not just focus on generating ‘scholarly discussions.’ He says it is not an advice book, but it is being marketed as an advice, except it has research citations. As the media interest and buzz continues and other media outlets take up the issues raised by Bank’s book and controversial theory about how to fix the Black marriage gap, I am hopeful we ask the right questions about healing what is hurting Black America to inspire and support a healthy future generation of young Black girls and boys.  If, indeed, interracial marriage is the fix to the Black marriage gap, then I am hopeful that Bank’s book offers not just a controversial and sensational theory but also provides solid scholarly and a well documented qualitative assessment of the impact of his theory on future generations of Black girls and boys. I work with and mentor young women and young girls of color and as the media takes up the issues raised in Bank’s book, I am hopeful that future interviews and discussions will expose us to the examination of the effect of this theory and the messages that we will be sending to young Black girls who will mature into successful Black women one day. Some of the questions that I believe are important to this dialogue include: How does an emphasis on the interracial marriage fix foster healing in Black America? Are we in a post race era or just an era of substituting mixed racial identity for a Black identity as an easy way out of addressing the issues of what is hurting Black America? Is there a success penalty and message being communicated to our Black girls, i.e., if you are successful, you may not find yourself marrying a person of your racial background? When you advocate ‘don’t marry down, marry out,’ are we asking Black girls to forgo success to find a Black man? Are we adding another nail in the coffin of the health and well-being of our boys and men of color? Are we abandoning our men or our race? On a practical level, how does marrying interracially compel Black men to want to marry Black women?  Aren’t we just giving them more reasons to seek interracial relationships? Are we really motivating Black men or women to address any issues they may have as to marriage and commitment or motivating them to lead different and healthier-relationship ready lives? Has any one asked the white guy how he feels about being a pawn in a plan to save the Black race or to motivate Black men into marrying Black women?  Are we just setting Black women up for further relationship failures? Are we injecting more ‘gamesmanship’ into existing complex issues of love, relationships, and marriage by advising Black women to expand their options to “have more leverage with Black men?” Are we communicating to Black women that we have no worth to Black men unless validated by white men? Are we willing to communicate to a whole new generation of rising Black women that they cannot seek honest relationships and must engage in manipulation based on racial factors? Are we willing to communicate to our young Black girls to encourage them to be strong, be confident, achieve success, and to eventually marry interracially as a reward?

  • Anon

    I’m an African American woman and I have never dated an African American man. I was raised in a predominately white affluent neighborhood and have always been regarded as strange by African American men for speaking, dressing and “acting” like a white person…I simply act like myself, as a career oriented PhD I find I have more in common with white men. 

  • A440plus

    To broaden the subject slightly: it seems to me that when I
    see a man and a woman together in the US – perhaps they’re married, dating, or
    just people who happen to be together in a public place – if one is noticeably darker
    than the other, it’s usually the man who’s darker.  I find that in Europe,
    this preponderance is not as strong.

  • Pwigfall

    Mr. Banks is free to marry whomever he pleases. However, as he is a middle class black male married to a very white female. He has no credibility in this area. He could have reduced the population of single middle black women by one had he chosen to.

    • Tanisha Stewart

      You are mistaken, he stated several times during the interview that he is a Black man happily married to a Black woman.

  • Maqueda

    I am an Afr. Amer. woman with a PHD,  married to a blue collar husband for 20 years. We love each other and get along just fine because I don’t try to change him, and he doesn’t try to change me, although we have made adaptations as any couple will. But, I must say, I am so glad that Rick Banks wrote this wonderful book! I know so many Black female friends and acquaintances who are sitting around waiting for their Black Prince Charming to come, when he’s out dating every race of women he can find and their mama! Black women wake up.  Stop trying to save your race. Save yourself.

  • Kmcl

    Great show. I had no idea about the stats for black males.

  • Sammy

    What this man failed to mention was the black women 30-45 outnumber black men by 2 MILLION!

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor