"Is Marriage for White People?"

Sep 01, 2011

Even with an African American couple in the White House, the fate of the black family in America has never been so precarious. That's the message behind Is Marriage for White People?, a new book by Stanford Law professor Ralph Richard Banks.

Researched and written over the past 10 years, Banks' book explores the unpleasant — and often unspoken — contributors to and consequences of declining marriage rates among African Americans. With 70% of all black children now born to unwed mothers, the consequences have never been clearer. As for the solutions, Banks provocatively suggests that black women begin looking beyond their own race for marriage material and potential fathers of their children.

Is Marriage for White People?, which comes out on Sept. 1, examines the little-explored intersections of race, gender and class among African Americans, but the same issues — regarding marriage, inter-marriage, children — exist among most groups in the U.S. TIME.com spoke with Banks about "marrying down" and why filmmaker Tyler Perry has it all wrong.

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