I’m delighted to report that Prof. Richard Banks will be guest-blogging about his new book, Is Marriage for White People?: How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone. Prof. Banks is a professor at Stanford Law School, where he teaches family law, employment discrimination law, and race and the law; here is a brief summary of his book:
During the past half century, African Americans have become the most unmarried people in our nation. More than two out of every three black women are unmarried, and they are more than twice as likely as white women never to marry. The racial gap in marriage extends beyond the poor. Affluent and college educated African Americans are also less likely to marry or stay married than their white counterparts. That harms black children and adults, and imperils the growth and stability of the black middle class.
One reason that marriage has declined is that as black women have advanced economically and educationally, men have fallen behind. Each year two black women graduate college for every one black man. Two to one. Every year. The shortage of successful black men not only leaves black women unmarried, it renders them more likely than other women to marry less educated and lower earning men. Half of black wives who are college graduates have husbands who are not.Yet black women rarely marry men of other races. They are less than half as likely as black men, and only a third as likely as Latinos or Asian Americans, to wed across group lines. Is Marriage for White People? traces the far-reaching consequences of the African American marriage decline. It also explains why black women marry down rather than out.
As particular as this inquiry may seem, it is also universal. Americans of all races are more unmarried now than ever. And as women surpass men educationally, wives increasingly earn more than their husbands. In illuminating the lives of African Americans, Is Marriage for White People? thus probes cultural and economic trends that implicate everyone, highlighting the extent to which the experience of black women may become that of all women.
I much look forward to Prof. Banks’ posts. [UPDATE: I accidentally posted this originally from Prof. Banks’ account on our blog, but then corrected it. The post is written by me, not by Prof. Banks.]