I opened Is Marriage for White People? with trepidation–what could this mean? But by the first page was hooked by both the quality of the writing and the thinking. Banks takes a solid, factual look at the paucity of partnering and family choices for African American women and comes up with some bold suggestions. He is an “honest broker”- he admires Black women, feels they get a raw deal- and wants them to have full romantic and family lives– and doing that will require changing their relationship paradigm. Does his audience want to hear his argument? I hope so. It is knowledgeable, authentic, brave and compassionate. An accomplished and caring African American legal scholar, he has marshaled his facts and logic carefully. Of course, how anyone chooses to live their romantic life is a composition of deeply personal choices, sociological situation and culturally valued beliefs and practices. Banks challenges all of those- and it is a riveting proposition. Bottom line: I couldn’t put this provocative book down. I will definitely assign it to a graduate class and I can’t wait to hear the debates begin!!.
Pepper Schwartz, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Washington